The West African country of Mauritania has the most severe concentration of modern-day slaves, according to the new Global Slavery Index. Approximately 4% of Mauritania’s population, or 155,600 people, are enslaved.
Modern-day slavery is most prevalent throughout Africa, India, and Russia. This map from the report shows where it’s the most prevalent:
Around the world 35.8 million people are enslaved, and 61% of them live in India, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia.Asian nationals who migrate for low and semi-skilled job opportunities abroad are disproportionately vulnerable to forced labour.
- India: By absolute estimates of modern slavery, India has the highest number of slaves in the world. 14,285,700 Indians, mostly lower castes and migrant workers, are enslaved through inter-generational bonded labour, trafficking for sexual exploitation, and forced marriage.
- China: In China, domestic migrants experience forced labour in industries such as brick-making, mining, and domestic care, and the trafficking of babies under the guise of legal adoption has become a major issue.
- Pakistan: Pakistan’s slavery problem can be attributed to a breakdown of law and order following prolonged conflict, as more people are exploited to compensate for a lack of infrastructure and normal government services.
- Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan’s high proportion of slaves directly reflects government-imposed forced labour. Because Uzbekistan’s economy relies heavily on cotton production and export, the government forces its citizens to pick cotton for two months every year.
- Russia: The report calls Russia an “international hub for labour trafficking.” Foreign migrant workers are highly exploited in the agricultural, construction, and manufacturing industries, while women and children are trafficked for commerical sexual exploitation.
Modern-day slavery can take the form of human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale and exploitation of children. The 167 countries listed on the annual Slavery Index were ranked according to the size of the problem, government response, and vulnerability, or the factors that can explain or predict the prevalence of modern-day slavery.