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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs