Slavery is not a subject confined to history books, as nearly 30 million people are enslaved globally.
Walk for Freedom Foundation issued a “Global Slavery Index” last week, estimating the number of enslaved persons in every nation. It is the first of its kind and will be published annually.

The study defines modern slavery as “slavery, slavery-like practices (such as debt bondage, forced marriage and sale or exploitation of children), human trafficking and forced labor.”

“The control of one person by another, depriving them of their freedom for the purposes of exploitation,” the report added, “is common to all forms of modern slavery.”

“Mauritania and Haiti have the highest proportions of slaves, while India, Pakistan and China have some of the highest absolute numbers,” Al Jazeera America reported. “Native-born slaves are often found in poorer countries while exploited workers from poorer parts of the world regularly end up in rich countries where they are often trafficked.”

The United States was ranked 134 out of 160, with an estimated 59,000 enslaved persons. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland had the lowest slavery estimates.

Rankings were based on estimates of:

â—     Total number of enslaved persons

â—     Amount of human trafficking from and into the country

â—     Level of child and early marriage

Nations with the highest slavery estimates were “struggling with very low GDP per capita and low levels of human development generally,” the study noted.

Debt was also cited as a “common pathway” into slavery, as impoverished persons often “mortgage” themselves in exchange for money.

While acknowledging that everyone has a role to play in ending global slavery, the report called government action “paramount.”

The report is available to view online or download here.

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