30 million people still live in slavery, human rights group says
Almost 30 million people across the
globe are living in modern-day slavery,
according to a report published
The inaugural Global Slavery Index,
published by the Australia-based Walk
Free Foundation , said the African
nation of Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan,
and India have the highest number of
slaves in proportion to population.
But taken in absolute terms, global
powers such as China and Russia were
near the top of the list of countries
with the largest total of people living in
The index says the term "slavery" is
used mean a variety of conditions,
such as forced labor, human
trafficking, the sale and exploitation of
children, and forced marriage.
As many as half of the estimated global
total of 29.8 million slaves are living in
India, the index said.
With between 13.3 million and 14.7
million slaves -- more than the
population the U.S. state of Illinois --
around 10 percent of India's
population are facing these conditions.
The second highest is China, with
around 3 million people estimated to
be living in slavery.
The index said the figure for China
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.”
The Walk Free Foundation said in a
preface to the report that it is
"committed to ending all forms of
modern slavery in this generation."
"Whether it is called human trafficking,
forced labour, slavery or slavery-like
practices...victims of modern slavery
have their freedom denied, and are
used and controlled and exploited by
another person for profit, sex, or the
thrill of domination," it said.
Johan Ordonez / AFP - Getty Images
Teenage girls are among five women,
girls and one boy rescued from a ho
where they were held captive by a
network of human trafficking and la
exploitation, in Villa Canales
municipality, 25 km south of Guate
City, on October 10.
It also commented on the "staggering
but harsh reality" that many people
are born into hereditary slavery,
particularly in West Africa and South
The index ranked 162 countries based
on three factors: estimated prevalence
of modern slavery by population, levels
of child marriage, and levels of human
trafficking into and out of the country.
The U.S. came in at 134th, worse off
than Barbados (135), South Korea
(137), Hong Kong (141), Costa Rica
(146), and Cuba (149).
While deeming the U.S. and Canada
"very low risk," it said they were prime
destinations for human trafficking
because of "their demand for cheap
labour and relatively porous land
The U.K., Ireland, and Iceland were
given the best ratings and came in at
“This does not mean these countries
are slavery free,” the report said. “On
the contrary, it is estimated that there
are between 4,200 -- 4,600 people in
modern slavery in the United Kingdom
Australian mining magnate Andrew
Forrest founded the Walk Free
Foundation last year, according to
Its Global Slavery Index was endorsed
by leaders including former U.S.
Secretary Hillary Clinton, former U.K.
Prime Minister Tony Blair and
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.