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Global Slavery Index-2014: India Home to 37% of Global Enslaved Population
Dec 09, 2014

With over 14.2 million in India being involved in forced labour and being victims of trafficking—for sexual exploitation and forced marriage, the country is home to the largest number of people trapped in modern slavery. Globally, 35.8 million people are enslaved across the world. Of them, 23.5 million people are in Asia, two-thirds of global total in 2014 (65.8 percent).

The Global Slavery Index 2014 said that India and Pakistan alone account for over 45 percent of total global enslaved population and have highest prevalence of modern slavery in Asia. Particularly in countries such as India and Pakistan, nationals—often including entire families—are enslaved through bonded labour in construction, agriculture, brick making, garment factories and manufacturing.

The report this year found 23 percent more people across the world are involved in modern slavery than previous estimated. Modern slavery exists in all 167 countries with five countries accounting for 61 percent of the world's population living in modern slavery.

The 2014 Global Slavery Index (GSI) has been published by the Walk Free Foundation, a global human rights organization with a mission to end modern slavery in a generation.

The report looks at prevalence (the percentage of a country's population that is enslaved) as well as the total number of people living in modern slavery in each country. It estimates that over 23.5 million people in Asia are living in modern slavery. This is equivalent to almost two-thirds of the global total number of people enslaved. Of these, over 14.2 million are in India and over 2.05 million are in Pakistan, which demonstrate the highest prevalence of modern slavery in Asia (1.141 percent and 1.13percent of their populations respectively).

In South Asia, these countries are followed in prevalence by Nepal (0.823 percent of the population, 228,700 people), Bangladesh (0.435 percent, 680,900), Afghanistan (0.435 percent, 132,800) and Sri Lanka (0.359 percent, 73,600).

Some countries with the biggest challenges are also taking important steps to tackle the problem. India for example has strengthened its criminal justice framework through legislative amendments and has established 215 Anti- Human Trafficking Police Units. Much more needs to be done.

Mauritania has the highest proportion (prevalence) of its population in modern slavery, at 4 percent, followed by Uzbekistan (3.97 percent), Haiti (2.3 percent), Qatar (1.36 percent) and India (1.14 percent). Iceland and Luxembourg have the lowest number of people enslaved in both prevalence and in absolute numbers, estimated at less than 100 each, closely followed by Ireland with under 300.

Modern slavery involves one person possessing or controlling another person in such as a way as to significantly deprive that person of their individual liberty, with the intention of exploiting that person through their use, management, profit, transfer or disposal.

Modern slavery contributes to the production of at least 122 goods from 58 countries worldwide. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates the illicit profits of forced labour to be $150 billion a year.

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