Archive for November 23rd, 2013

A portrait of modern bondage: New report estimates that there are nearly 30 million slaves around the globe

November 23, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 23, 2013

Last week, I visited and stumbled upon The Global Slavery Index 2013, a first-of-its-kind report published last month by Australia’s Walk Free Foundation.

Being aware of modern slavery, but knowing few if any specifics, I decided to delve into the 130-page report. Reading it left me with mixed emotions.

First, a few positives. In general, wealthy, highly developed nations — especially those in Europe — have relatively low prevalences of slavery. The Index profiles the nations with the 10 highest and the 10 lowest prevalences; of the latter group, all but New Zealand are in Western or Northern Europe. These nations tend to have specifically designated government units, education programs and plans for identifying and responding to human trafficking and forced labor. They have also evaluated the efficacy of their response mechanisms.

Unfortunately, the report is filled with dismaying information. The Index estimates that there are 29.8 million enslaved people in the world, with by far the largest number of those — perhaps 14 million — located in India. Another 2.9 million slaves are estimated to be in China, and at least 2 million more are thought to be in Pakistan.

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