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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More