Slavery has existed for many centuries, yet so few people realize how it continues to prosper in countries around the world. Though slavery was abolished in the nineteenth century, modern-day slavery still lives on, by concealing its many different forms. According to Anti-Slavery International, the forms of slavery that currently exist are: bonded labour, child slavery, early and forced marriage, forced labour, descent-based slavery, and trafficking.
The Global Slavery Index of 2013 discovered that there are 30 million slaves around the world, with a majority of them located in India, China, and Pakistan. India contains between 13.3 to 14.7 million slaves, which is equal to about half of all the slaves that exist today.
A report was published by the Walk Free Foundation, after ten years of research. The report was produced by four authors with a collaboration from twenty-two other experts. The index ranks 162 countries according to the number of individuals in slavery, their risk of enslavement, and the government’s responses to the problem. The ten countries on the list, which follow India, are: China (2.8 to 3.1 million), Pakistan (2.1 million), Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. The highest proportion of slaves to a country’s population (the index rank) are found in Mauritania, with about four percent of its 3.4 million people enslaved, followed by Haiti, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. Meanwhile, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Denmark have the lowest prevalence of slavery. The estimated number of slaves in the United States is between 57,000 and 63,000.
Gina Dafalia, the Walk Free Foundation’s policy and research manager, stated: “When we started working in this area we realized that we didn’t have a good understanding of what exactly the situation of slavery is in the world. We needed that information before we started doing any interventions.” It is hoped and prayed for that by having this pertinent information, the prevalence of modern-day slavery will decrease in years to come.
In a 2012 report about slavery, the International Labour Organization (ILO) found that there were 20.9 million slaves throughout the world. Yet, according to Dafalia, the Walk Free Foundation’s definition of modern slavery includes aspects that are not included in the ILO’s definition, due to its intense focus on forced labour. “Thirty million are able to live in slavery in 2013 because it is a ‘hidden problem,'” she said.
In order to implement strategies of relief to slaves across the world, a better understanding of slavery’s continued existence is significant, to say the least. There are millions of slaves confined to this global institution of slavery, which does not offer them any of the liberties that most individuals have, and in which most people often take for granted. Measures aimed toward emancipation are necessary in order to decrease slavery’s prevalence around the world, and also, to give each slave the liberty of life that they so desperately seek.
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