NEW DELHI, May 31: With an estimated 18.35 million men, women and children trapped in modern slavery through human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation, India is home to the largest enslaved population in the world, reveal results of a global survey released on Tuesday.
Modern slavery exists in all 167 countries covered by the 2016 Global Slavery Index, a research report published by Walk Free Foundation, an initiative to end contemporary slavery and human trafficking founded by Australian philanthropists.
Modern slavery refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot leave because of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power or deception.
An estimated 45.8 million people are enslaved globally, revealed the report that suggests that 28 percent more people across the world are trapped in modern slavery than previously estimated.
India and four other countries — Chi (3.39 million), Pakistan (2.13 million), Bangladesh (1.53 million) and Uzbekistan (1.23 million) — together account for almost 58 percent of the world’s total enslaved population.
While India has the highest absolute numbers of people trapped in slavery with 18.35 million slaves among its 1.3 billion population, North Korea has the highest incidence (4.37 per cent of the population) and the weakest government response to deal with it.
The countries with the highest estimated prevalence of modern slavery by the proportion of their population are North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, Cambodia, India, and Qatar.
The countries with the lowest estimated prevalence of modern slavery by the proportion of their population are Luxembourg, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Belgium, the United States and Cada, and Australia and New Zealand.
Survey research for the report included over 42,000 interviews conducted in 53 languages across 25 countries, including 15 state-level surveys in India.
These representative surveys cover 44 per cent of the global population, the report said.
The Global Slavery Index also tracks government actions and responses to modern slavery. The research found that 124 countries have crimilised human trafficking in line with the UN Trafficking Protocol and 96 have developed tiol action plans to coordite government response.
“Through our responsible use of power, strength of conviction, determition and collective will, we all can lead the world to end slavery,” Andrew Forrest, Chairman and Founder of Walk Free Foundation said in a statement.
While India remains the country with the highest number of enslaved people in absolute terms, it has made significant progress in introducing measures to tackle the problem.
It has crimilised trafficking, child prostitution and forced marriage. The Indian government is massively reforming, consolidating and modernising its legislation against all forms of human trafficking which will also now include forced labour, the report said.
The Indian government is also expanding the number of anti-trafficking units across the country and taking steps to create a central tiol investigation agency, it added.
It also 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. (IANS)