Nearly 30 million people live as modern-day slaves: Report

Protests against labor trafficking and modern day slavery outside the United Nations on September 23, 2013 in New York City.


Andrew Burton

Slavery is not relegated to history books.

In fact, nearly 30 million people around the world live as modern-day slaves, according to a report by an Australia-based human rights organization.

The Walk Free Foundation's "Global Slavery Index" found that an estimated 29.8 million people around the world were trafficked for labor or sex work.

India topped the list in sheer size, with an estimated 13,300,000 to 14,700,000 people enslaved. It accounts for nearly half of all modern-day slaves in the world.

The index placed Mauritania at number 1 for a different reason: With a population of just 3.8 million, it has an estimated 140,000 to 160,000 people enslaved — due mainly to child marriage and chattel slavery (the buying and selling of human beings).

More from GlobalPost: Youth interrupted: Myanmar's underage, illiterate breadwinners (VIDEO)

Haiti and Pakistan were also among the worst offenders, including people forced into labor and debt bondage, forced marriage, exploitation of children and human trafficking.

Walk Free's index ranked 162 countries by the number of people living in slavery, at risk of living in slavery, and government policies in place to prevent it.

Ten countries contained 76 percent of all the people living in slavery: China, India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Mauritania and Bangladesh.

More from GlobalPost: Slavery at sea has Thailand teetering toward US sanctions

"Today some people are still being born into hereditary slavery, a staggering but harsh reality, particularly in parts of West Africa and South Asia," the report noted.

"Other victims are captured or kidnapped before being sold or kept for exploitation, whether through 'marriage,' unpaid labor on fishing boats, or as domestic workers. Others are tricked and lured into situations they cannot escape, with false promises of a good job or an education." 

The Guardian published a report last month, finding that dozens of Nepalese migrant workers had died in Qatar while working on projects for the 2022 World Cup, and thousands more were abused.

"The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for 2022," the Guardian wrote.

In Conflict & JusticeConflictPoliticsRights.

Tagged: .