Slavery is “more rampant than any time in history” with 45.8 million slaves worldwide, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index published by the Walk Free Foundation (WFF).

Fifty-eight percent of this total are enslaved in five nations – Bangledesh (1.5 million), China (3.4 million), India (18.3 million), Pakistan (2.1 million) and Uzbekistan (1.2 million) – while North Korea (1.1 million) has the highest number of modern slaves based on population.

“Several of these countries provide the low cost labor that produces consumer goods for markets in Western Europe, Japan, North America and Australia,” the report stated.

The Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Belgium and Norway are among the nations with the lowest number of slaves and have been the most proactive in seeking to end modern slavery.

Even so, a total of 134,000 persons remain enslaved in these countries (57,700 in the U.S.). Estimates have risen in recent years due to more accurate assessment mechanisms.

“Unlike major world epidemics such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, slavery is a human condition of our own making,” stated Andrew Forrest, an Australian billionaire mining magnate who founded WFF with his wife, Nicola.

“While that in itself is a tragedy, it also means that we have the power to end it. And end slavery we must; we cannot allow future generations to fall prey to this hideous practice.”

The full report is available here.

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