India tops the world slavery index with over 40 per cent of the total people in slavery in the top ten economies of the world. Nearly 46 million people are enslaved across the world and about 18.35 million of them are in India.
In terms of absolute numbers, India is followed by China (3.39 million), Pakistan (2.13 million), Bangladesh (1.53 million) and Uzbekistan (1.23 million). These five countries account for nearly 58 per cent of the world’s enslaved.
According to the Global Slavery Index 2016 published by the international body, Walk Free Foundation (WFF) on May 31, the number of people across the world trapped in modern slavery than previously estimated is up by nearly one-third or 28 per cent since 2014. Tracking this increase has been possible, according to the foundation, given enhanced research methodology. The report was compiled on the basis of over 42,000 interviews conducted in 53 languages, covering 44 per cent of global population.
Human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, commercial sexual exploitation are some of the ways in which people are enslaved today.
Nearly 52 per cent are vulnerable to modern slavery in India, with the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra coming up as the biggest hubs of various forms of slavery, although India has made progress in tackling the issue.
It has criminalised trafficking, child prostitution and forced marriage. The Netherlands, UK, US, Sweden and Australia are among the countries that have taken the strongest action on this so far, while North Korea and Iran are among the ones with least action taken.
Andrew Forrest, chairman of WFF, calls on top ten economies to enact laws to ensure all organisations are held accountable for modern slavery in their supply chains.
“I believe in the critical role of leaders in government, business and civil society. Businesses that don’t actively look for forced labour within their supply chains are standing on a burning platform.”