Slavery Index: 49.6 million people in captivity

The human rights organization Walk Free, together with the International Labor Organization and the International Organization for Migration, published a new Global Slavery Index, which covers 160 countries. According to the report, there are 49.6 million people held in captivity worldwide. Most of them are in ten countries around the world, including the United States, China, Turkey, and Russia.

Modern-day slavery refers to any exploitation of a person when he or she cannot be freed because of threats, coercion, violence, deception, or abuse of power. In particular, the use of prison labor and court-ordered forced labor fall under this definition.

According to a recent report, the number of slaves in the world has increased by 10 million in the last five years. Of those in captivity, 27.6 million are in forced labor and 22 million are living in marriage against their will. Women and girls account for 54% of the total number of slaves, and one in four slaves is a child.

According to the Index, North Korea has the largest number of people in captivity in relation to its population – 2.6 million, or 104.6 people per 1,000 population. Next come Eritrea (320 thousand), Mauritania (149 thousand), Saudi Arabia (740 thousand) and Turkey (1.3 million).

In Russia, there are 13 slaves per 1 thousand people, while their total number in the country could reach 1.9 million people. At the same time, Russia ranks 33rd in the ranking of countries by the number of slaves.

According to Michael Gastrin, head of the human rights organization Walk Free:

“the proliferation of slavery in our world is an embarrassment to us all.” He also noted that “governments can and must do more to prevent slavery and protect their citizens from this terrible form of exploitation.

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