Over 29 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery today, the Walk Free Foundation’s inaugural Global Slavery Index has revealed.
The Index, which will be published annually, is the first of its kind and gives the most accurate and comprehensive measure of the extent and risk of modern slavery, country by country, currently available.
Mauritania is ranked first on the Index, with the highest estimated proportion of its population enslaved of any country in the world. The West African country, with its deeply entrenched system of hereditary slavery, is thought to have an estimated 150,000 slaves in a population of only 3.8 million. Haiti, a Caribbean nation where child slavery is also widespread, is in second place, with Pakistan one place below.
India has the highest number of people enslaved in absolute terms, with approximately 14 million people in modern slavery – almost half of the total number worldwide. China follows, with an estimated 2, 900 000 enslaved, and Pakistan comes in third with an estimate of over two million in modern slavery. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh make up the top ten by absolute numbers. Taken together, these countries account for more than 22 million of the 29.8 million people enslaved.
While Asia and Africa are home to the vast majority of modern slaves, no continent is free from modern slavery. Globally, Iceland, Ireland and the UK are tied with the lowest rankings in the Index. However, it is estimated that there are as many as four thousand people enslaved in the UK and more could be done to help them and prevent others suffering their fate.
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