Modern slavery is usually known simply as slavery or forced labour. Human trafficking broadly encompasses both the above. ‘Slavery’ refers to the condition of treating another person as if they are some form of property – something to be bought, sold, traded or even destroyed, whereas ‘forced labour’ refers to work taken without consent – by threats or coercion. ‘Human trafficking’ is conceptualize to include the process through which people are brought, through deception, threats or coercion, into slavery, forced labour or other forms of severe exploitation. Whatever the term used, the significant characteristic of all forms of modern slavery is that it involves one person depriving another of their freedom to leave one job for another, to leave one workplace for another, and to be in control of their own body, for their own personal or commercial benefit.
According to the Global Slavery 2013 Index (see end of article for the website’s address), there are an estimated 29.8 million people in modern slavery globally. Of these 76% live in these ten countries: India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.
India has the largest number of people in modern slavery, estimated to be between 13,300,000 and 14,700,000; by far the largest proportion of this problem is the exploitation of Indians citizens, particularly through debt bondage and bonded labour.
China is the second highest in absolute numbers of enslaved, with an estimated 2,800,000 to 3,100,000 people. This includes the forced labour of men, women and children in many parts of the economy, including domestic servitude, forced begging, the sexual exploitation of women and children, and forced marriage. Pakistan has the third highest number with an estimated 2,000,000 to 2,200,000 people.
According to the index, the prevalence of modern slavery is highest in Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Moldova, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia and Gabon.
View the Global Slavery Website here: