Over 3.14 lakh people in Bangladesh are today living in conditions of modern slavery, according to Australian-based Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index.
The Index that gives the comprehensive measure of the extent and risk of modern slavery, country by country, currently available, revealed that 29.8 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery across the world.
India has the highest number of people enslaved in absolute terms, with approximately 14 million people in modern slavery – almost half of the total number worldwide.
China follows, with an estimated 2, 900 000 enslaved, and Pakistan comes in third with an estimate of over two million in modern slavery, the survey claimed.
Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh make up the top 10 by absolute numbers.
Taken together, these countries account for more than 22 million of the 29.8 million people enslaved, the survey, revealed on Thursday, said.
Mauritania is ranked first on the Index, with the highest estimated proportion of its population enslaved of any country in the world. The West African country, with its deeply entrenched system of hereditary slavery, is thought to have an estimated 150,000 slaves in a population of only 3.8 million. Haiti, a Caribbean nation where child slavery is also widespread, is in second place, with Pakistan one place below.
While Asia and Africa are home to the vast majority of modern slaves, no continent is free from modern slavery. Globally, Iceland, Ireland and the UK are tied with the lowest rankings in the Index.
However, it is estimated that there are as many as four thousand people enslaved in the UK and more could be done to help them and prevent others suffering their fate.
“It would be comforting to think that slavery is a relic of history, but it remains a scar on humanity on every continent. This is the first slavery index but it can already shape national and global efforts to root out modern slavery across the world. We now know that just ten countries are home to over three quarters of those trapped in modern slavery. These nations must be the focus of global efforts,” said Nick Grono, CEO of Walk Free Foundation.
“Most governments don’t dig deeply into slavery for a lot of bad reasons. There are exceptions, but many governments don’t want to know about people who can’t vote, who are hidden away, and are likely to be illegal anyway. The laws are in place, but the tools and resources and the political will are lacking.
And since hidden slaves can’t be counted it is easy to pretend they don’t exist. The Index aims to change that,” said Professor Kevin Bales, the lead researcher on the Index.