According to the Global Slavery Index, the number of victims of modern slavery has risen sharply in recent years. 50 million people are forced into slavery worldwide, 10 million more than five years ago.
The report prepared by the human rights organization Walk Free estimates that people who have been forced to leave their homes due to climate change, wars and natural disasters are most at risk of modern slavery. The growing number of enslaved people is also affected by the curtailment of women’s rights and the economic and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the index, modern slavery is most widespread in North Korea, Eritrea and Mauritania, and a significant number of enslaved people are also in the countries of the G20 group. In India, 11 million people were enslaved, in China five million, and in Russia 1.8 million people.
The human rights organization Walk Free wrote in the report that the goods imported by the G20 countries are often produced by forced laborers. These countries are said to import over 434 billion euros worth of such products every year, mainly electronic devices, clothing and palm oil.
“Modern slavery permeates every aspect of our society. It’s sewn into our clothes, powers our electronic devices, and flavors our food,” said the founding director of Walk Free Grace Forrest when the report was published.
Walk Free calls on governments to – in addition to creating legislation to eliminate modern slavery in supply chains – better engage in the provision of humanitarian aid in the fight against modern slavery. They also highlight enabling children, especially girls, to go to school and preventing forced marriages as key.