We tend to talk about slavery as a thing of the past, a dark passage of history that is long gone. This is far from reality. According to the Global Slavery Index 2013, released by the Walk Free Foundation on 17 October 2013, an estimated 29.8 million people across the world are victims of modern slavery today.
The index ranks 162 countries in the world. It estimates each country’s prevalence to slavery, which includes measures of debt bondage, forced marriage, exploitation of children, human trafficking and forced labour, by population. It also estimates risk factors within the country, and government responses to slavery for the top and bottom 20 countries on the index.
The countries with the highest prevalence to modern slavery are Mauritania, Haiti and Pakistan. However, India has the largest number of slaves in the world, estimated around 14 million people, followed by China and Pakistan. The bottom of the index is a tie between Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom, all ranked at 160. However, none of these countries are completely free of slavery. In the UK, the estimated number of people in slavery is over 4000 people.
Most countries in the world consider slavery a crime, yet the lack of information about it has made enforcement difficult and criminal convictions few. Despite this, some people are still born into slavery; others are kidnapped or tricked into it. The report aims to provide a tool for governments, citizens and advocacy groups to use in the fight to end slavery.