35.8 million people are enslaved across the world

Improved methodology highlights 20% more people across the world in modern slavery than previously estimated

GN Bureau | November 22, 2014




An estimated 35.8 million men, women and children around the world are today trapped in modern slavery, 20% more than previously estimated, whether through human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, or commercial sexual exploitation.

This is according to the 2014 Global Slavery Index (GSI), the flagship research report published today by the Walk Free
Foundation, a global human rights organisation with a mission to end modern slavery in a generation.

Mauritania has the highest proportion (prevalence) of its population in modern slavery at 4%, followed by Uzbekistan (3.97%), Haiti (2.3%), Qatar (1.36%) and India (1.14%).

In terms of absolute numbers, India remains top of the list with an estimated 14.29 million enslaved people, followed by China (3.24m), Pakistan (2.06m), Uzbekistan (1.2m, new to the top five), and Russia (1.05m). Together these account for 61% of the world’s modern slavery, or nearly 22 million people.

While the Index estimates that 20% more people are enslaved than reported in 2013, rather than reflecting an exponential rise in the number enslaved over the past year, this significant increase is due to enhanced data and methodology. This includes national representative surveys in some of the countries worst afflicted.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Andrew Forrest, Chairman and Founder of Walk Free Foundation, said: “There is an assumption that slavery is an issue from a bygone era. Or that it only exists in countries ravaged by war and poverty.

These findings show that modern slavery exists in every country. We are all responsible for the most appalling situations where modern slavery exists and the desperate misery it brings upon our fellow human beings. The first step in eradicating slavery is to measure it. And with that critical information, we must all come together – governments, businesses and civil society – to finally bring an end to the most severe form of exploitation.” An innovation of the 2014 Global Slavery Index is its inclusion of government actions in relation to modern slavery.

For the first time, the GSI provides an analysis of government responses based on five objectives that every country should seek to accomplish in order to eradicate modern slavery. These include identification and support for survivors, an appropriate criminal justice mechanism, coordination and accountability within central government, addressing the attitudes, social systems and institutions that facilitate modern slavery and finally government and business procurement.

“Modern slavery is a hidden crime and notoriously difficult to measure. But Walk Free Foundation is shining a light on this horrific crime with innovative research and each year an even stronger methodology. We are all grateful for Andrew Forrest’s commitment to this issue”, said Mo Ibrahim, founder of the Mo Ibrahim Index and Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

The Index gives the most accurate and comprehensive measure of the extent and risk of modern slavery. It provides an analysis of its prevalence in terms of the percentage of a national population and the total number of people enslaved - country by country, region by region.

Global Slavery Index 2014 key findings:

  • Modern slavery exists in all 167 countries covered by the GSI
  • Total number of people enslaved: 35.8 million people
  • Improved methodology uncovers 20% more enslaved people than previously estimated
  • Five countries account for 61% of the world’s population living in modern slavery
  • Africa and Asia continue to face biggest challenges

    More information could be found
    here.

     

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