News / Asia

Report: 30 Million People Enslaved Worldwide

x
Anita Powell
The Australian-based Walk Free Foundation has released its first-ever Global Slavery Index - a ranking of 162 countries by their prevalence of modern slavery. The Index found that tens of millions of people worldwide are living in slave-like conditions, most of them in Asia.

Slavery is often thought of as a relic of past centuries, and is banned internationally. But it is a shocking reality - today - for nearly 30 million people.
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Speaking to VOA from London, Index researcher Kevin Bales said  Walk Free Foundation wants to raise awareness of the plight of modern slaves.  He painted a chilling picture of the life of a slave in 2013.
 
“I suppose if you’re going to say, what’s the most common type of slave today, I would probably point to two [types]. One would be a type of hereditary slavery in South Asia, where families are born into slavery, they die in slavery, where one family belongs to another family and has for generations," he explained.  "All you know is slavery. You expect to be assaulted; you expect to be raped; you expect no other life except that of a slave.

"The other, I think most common type of slavery today would be the person who’s an economic hopeful migrant," he continued. "Someone who’s looking for a way to better their lives, or the lives of their family and their children. And so they’re looking for a place of safety, they’re looking for a place of employment, and there are criminals who take advantage of that desire for safety and employment and lure people into situations outside their countries, their own country, where they can then be enslaved.”
 
Mauritania came in as the nation with the highest prevalence of modern slavery. The West African nation has a long history of hereditary slavery based on ethnicity. The index estimated that it holds as many as 160,000 slaves - among a population of just 3.8 million people. Mauritania’s government has repeatedly tried - and failed - to abolish the practice - most recently in 2007.
 
Bales acknowledged that some of the estimates in the index are conservative - in coming years, he says, the index will be able to further refine its figures.

WATCH: Related story from VOA's Zlatica Hoke

30 Million Affected by Modern Slaveryi
X
October 18, 2013 4:24 AM
A new report from the Walk Free Foundation says an estimated 30 million people are enslaved around the world.
India is estimated by the index to have the highest absolute number of modern slaves. The nation of 1.2 billion is thought to include a whopping 14 million people who live in slave-like conditions, which include forced labor, forced marriage, exploitation of children and debt bondage.
 
The foundation found that Asia is home to about 72 percent of the world’s slaves.  China and Pakistan came in second and third behind India. China is thought to have about 2.9 million slaves. Pakistan, whose population is 1/7 that of China’s, has a stunning 2.1 million slaves. 
 
Countries with high levels of slavery share poor development, corruption, poverty and conflict. Also, researchers noted, around the world, women are disproportionately affected by slavery, partly because of the prevalence of forced marriage and child marriage.
 
And, Bales said, the experience of girls and women slaves almost always has another, horrifying element.
 
“For almost every woman in slavery, there will be a sexual assault. It can be field, factory, working as a domestic servant or whatever. That’s why the enslavement of women is particularly harsh.”
 
Bales noted that despite the grim figures, slavery is teetering on the edge of oblivion. He said that the solutions differ country by country.
 
“There’s not a one-size-fits-all policy. But the good news is that that number is a tiny fraction of the 7 billion people who live on the planet. And they also contribute very little to the global economy," Bales said. "So on one level, it’s paradoxical. It’s a very large number, but at the same time, it’s such a tiny number in relative terms, in a world where it’s illegal in every country, it’s not important to the economy and there’s an absolute moral consensus that we don’t want this.”
 
But even the best performers are not without problems. Iceland, Ireland and Britain tied for last place, but it is estimated that as many as 4,600 people live in conditions of modern slavery in the UK.
 

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Antidote 2 Kaa from: Iceland
October 18, 2013 6:27 AM
If one works the statistics through less than 2% of the total number are accounted for by Western nations.
That means 49 in 50 slaves are outside the West. So much for the Devil that is the West.
Worse still the vast majority of slaves are in the BRICS countries.
Hopefully South Africa will be able to influence its BRICS partners Russia, China, India and Brazil towards a greater sense of human rights.


by: Babar from: Pakistan
October 18, 2013 3:18 AM
In Pakistan, most of these slaves are brick makers. They have been enslaved for decades and have no hope of being set free. Most of these slaves are Christians.

by: cc from: shanghai
October 18, 2013 12:13 AM
China comes as the second? I cannot believe it. I agree that many people live in poverty, but I don't think there is someone enslaved here. Suspicious data.

by: carin from: usa
October 17, 2013 6:21 PM

It is mostly woman and children.....
And all you can think about is money!!!!!
What does that say about you Texas?

by: LF from: tampa
October 17, 2013 8:05 AM
dont post that! its to early in the morning and that sentence is worded a little weirdly...sorry!!

by: youheardright from: texas
October 17, 2013 7:55 AM
Yeah and America is number 1 enslaved in debt for the next who knows enerations

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs