Our Global Shame: Nearly 30 Million Live In Slavery
Here is another news story that somehow has evaded the evening news: late last week, the Global Slavery Index released a report compiled in conjunction with Australia’s Walk Free Foundation indicating that 29.8 million people live in slavery:
The Global Slavery Index provides a ranking of 162 countries, reflecting a combined measure of three factors: estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, a measure of child marriage, and a measure of human trafficking in and out of a country. The measure is heavily weighted to reflect the first factor, prevalence. A number one ranking is the worst, 160 is the best.
Mauritania, a West African nation with deeply entrenched hereditary slavery, is ranked number 1 in the Index. This reflects the high prevalence of slavery in Mauritania – it is estimated that there are between 140,000 – 160,000 people enslaved in Mauritania, a country with a population of just 3.8 million. This ranking also reflects high levels of child marriage, and to a lesser extent, human trafficking.
Haiti, a Caribbean nation plagued by conflict, natural disaster and with deeply entrenched practices of child slavery (the restavek system), is second on the Index. This reflects high prevalence of modern slavery – an estimated 200,000 – 220,000 people are in modern slavery in Haiti, a country with a population of just 10.2 million. This ranking also reflects high levels of child marriage, and human trafficking from Haiti itself.
Pakistan, with its porous borders to Afghanistan, large populations of displaced persons and weak rule of law, is third on the Index. It is estimated that there are between 2,000,000 – 2,200,000 people in various forms of modern slavery in Pakistan, a country with a population of over 179 million. …
The country with the largest estimated number of people in modern slavery is India, which is estimated to have between 13,300,000 and 14,700,000 people enslaved. The India country study suggests that while this involves the exploitation of some foreign nationals, by far the largest proportion of this problem is the exploitation of Indians citizens within India itself, particularly through debt bondage and bonded labour.
The country with the second highest absolute numbers of enslaved is China, with an estimated 2,800,000 to 3,100,000 in modern slavery. The China country study suggests that this includes the forced labour of men, women and children in many parts of the economy, including domestic servitude and forced begging, the sexual exploitation of women and children, and forced marriage.