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Report: North Korea, Eritrea Have Highest Rates of Modern Slavery


FILE - A government raid empties a shrimp shed in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, Nov. 9, 2015. Modern-day slavery often is considered an acceptable business practice in the country's seafood export capital.

North Korea and Eritrea have the highest rates of modern slavery, a global survey released Thursday found.

The Global Slavery Index estimates that 40.3 million people worldwide were subjected to modern-day slavery in 2016. The survey defines modern slavery as human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale and exploitation of children, as well as slavery itself.

North Korea has the highest percentage of its population enslaved, with 1 in 10 people in modern slavery, and “the clear majority forced to work by the state,” the report said.

The report said developed nations bear the responsibility because they import $350 billion worth of goods that are produced under suspicious circumstances. It cites coal, cocoa, cotton, timber and fish among the products that may be tainted by modern slavery.

India is home to the largest total number, with an estimated 8 million slaves among its 1.3 billion population, according to the Walk Free Foundation, which has published the Global Slavery Index since 2013.

The aim of the index is to pressure governments and companies to do more to end the problem by providing hard data on the numbers of people involved and the impact it has around the world.

After North Korea and Eritrea, the worst offenders are Burundi, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Mauritania, South Sudan, Pakistan, Cambodia and Iran, the survey found.

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