Published On: Mon, Jun 6th, 2016

46 million people trapped in servitude

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Gaash Report: The Global Slavery Index released by the Australia based charity The Walk Free Foundation on Tuesday 31 May 2016 in London has revealed that about 45.8 million people (46 million) around the world are trapped in modern slavery, almost a third more than it estimated two years ago. Chairman Walk Free Foundation Andrew Forrest and actor Russell Crowe launched the Global Survey.The report — launched at a London event hosted by actor Russell Crowe — ranked 167 countries by the number of people affected by practices included forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage and sexual exploitation.The United Nation’s International Labour Organisation estimates 21 million people globally are victims of forced labour but this does not take into account all forms of slavery.

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The 2016 index was based on interviews with about 42,000 people by pollster Gallup in 53 languages in 25 countries.

Crowe, who played Roman emperor-turned-slave Maximus in the 2000 movie “Gladiator”, described the plight of people “in our communities who are stuck, utterly helpless and trapped in a cycle of despair and degradation with no choice and no hope.”“As an actor, my role is often to portray raw human emotion, but nothing compares with the people’s lives reflected in the report published today,” he said.

Forrest said a reason for launching the index in Britain was to acknowledge the lead set by the UK government which last year brought in the 2015 Modern Slavery Act.The Act received Royal Assent and became law on 26 March 2015.The bill was introduced to the House of Commons in draft form in October 2013 by James Brokenshire, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Crime and Security. Brokenshire was quoted as saying that the act would “send the strongest possible message to criminals that if you are involved in this disgusting trade in human beings, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be locked up

The Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index said that India in a population of 1.3 billion by farhas the 18.35 million , largest number of modern slaves, , followed by China with 3.39 million and Pakistan with 2.13 million.

 

The Walk Free Foundation’s report said more than half the population of modern slaves, 58 %  are in five countries — India, with 18.35 million, China, with 3.39 million, Pakistan, 2.13 million, Bangladesh, 1.53 million, and Uzbekistan, 1.23 million. The report found that North Korea had the highest per capita level of modern slavery, at 4.37 percent of the population, followed by Uzbekistan, at 3.97 percent, Cambodia, 1.65 percent, India, 1.4 percent, and Qatar, 1.36 percent.The 2016 index again found Asia, which provides low-skilled labour in global supply chains producing clothing, food and technology, accounted for two-thirds of the people in slavery.

 

While India is home to more enslaved people than any other country, the Walk Free Foundation report said it had made “significant progress” in measures to address the problem. Those included toughened criminal penalties for child prostitution and forced marriage, as well as improvements to protect victims. The report said that in addition to economic growth in India, ambitious programmes of legal and social reform are being undertaken right across the board, from regulation of labour relations to systems of social insurance for the most vulnerable.

The countries with the lowest per capita rates of modern slavery — defined as 0.02 percent of the population or less, were: Luxembourg, New Zealand, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Spain, Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

According to the Global Slavery index the governments taking the least action to tackle slavery were listed as North Korea, Iran, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, and Hong Kong.By contrast the governments taking most action were the Netherlands, the United States, Britain, Sweden and Australia.

 

While Europe has the lowest regional prevalence of slavery, Walk Free said it was a source and destination for forced labour and sexual exploitation. The impact of a mass influx of migrants and refugees fleeing conflicts and poverty has yet to be seen.Crowe said slavery was a problem that was not going away. “I think all of us should keep focused on it until we get to that point … where it just gets pushed over the edge and it’s finished,” he said.

Forrest acknowledged the latest data was likely to attract criticism with some researchers accusing the index of flawed methodology by extrapolating on-the-ground surveys in some countries to estimate numbers for other nations.The 2016 index was based on interviews with about 42,000 people by pollster Gallup in 53 languages in 25 countries.But Forrest said a lack of hard data on slavery in the past had held back efforts to tackle this hidden crime and it was important to draw a “sand in the line” measurement to drive action. He challenged critics to produce an alternative.


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