Report says 40.3 million suffering under slavery

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 22, 2018

Including North Korea, the study found other countries to have a high number of modern-day slaves.

For this year's index, Walk Free teamed up with Leiden Asia Centre and the Seoul-based Database Centre for North Korean Human Rights in a bid to reach accurate estimates for North Korea, arguably the most secretive nation on earth.

India was found to be home to the largest total number of slaves, with an estimated eight million among its 1.3 billion population.

With North Korea closed to interviews, report researchers spoke to 50 North Korean defectors now living in South Korea, all but one of whom described working in conditions meeting the worldwide legal definition of forced labor.

It estimates China is by far the largest source of at-risk goods, with the United States importing $122bn of electronics and clothing from the country.

"This index makes us visible", said Yeon-Mi Park, a defector who spoke at a news conference at United Nations headquarters.

"These people simply were born in the wrong place, and that's why they're being punished for-their birthplace", said Park, who has founded a group help North Korean trafficking victims.

More than 40 million people remained enslaved around the world in 2016, according to a report by WFF and ILO (International Labour Organization), the Reuters report added.

"People in the area say they will continue to live poorly even in the case of unification", the source said. The Index revealed that today, more than 400,000 people are working as modern slaves in the United States.

"There's a strong focus on bombs and missiles, but the North Korean tragedy is much more about lost freedom through the brutal suppression of human potential", said Mr Andrew Forrest, founder of the Walk Free Foundation.

The report was compiled by the Walk Free Foundation, an anti-slavery campaign founded by Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, who said at the NY press conference that "for the first time there is real hope we can end modern slavery".

The Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Mauritania and South Sudan are also on the list, with Pakistan, Cambodia and Iran rounding out the top 10.

The report said developed nations bear the responsibility because they import $350 billion worth of goods that are produced under suspicious circumstances.

Irregular migrants, the homeless, workers in the gig economy and certain minorities are at risk of slavery in high-income countries, warns the report.

Computers, mobile phones, fish and timber are among the highest-risk items.

Ms Amanda Mortwedt Oh of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, an organisation not affiliated with the research, said she was curious why the 2018 estimate was more than double a 2016 Global Slavery Index estimate. The report noted gaps in data from Arab states, as well as a lack of information on organ trafficking and the recruitment of children by armed groups.

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