M A I N   N E W S

India home to highest number of ‘slaves’
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 19
Days after a terribly brutalised child domestic worker was rescued from her employer’s house in an upscale Delhi locality, the first global documentation of slavery has revealed that India houses the maximum number of “modern-day slaves” in the world.

The Global Slavery Index, a maiden ranking of 162 countries for their record in modern-day practices of slavery (debt bondage, descent base slavery, trafficking and forced and early marriage) says there are 30 million slaves living in the world as of now, half of them in India.

India is in a shady league of countries like Mauritania, Haiti and Pakistan which top the slavery charts when it comes to the highest number of slaves per head of population. India is the fourth on the list after the above mentioned three countries.

Out of 30 million slaves in the world, 13.9 million are in India and 3 million (the second highest number) in China, both booming economies.

But the most shocking statistic for policy planners back home is this — 72 per cent of all modern-day slaves in the world are housed in India, the biggest democracy.

“The study suggests while this involves exploitation of some foreign nationals, by far the largest proportion of this problem is the exploitation of Indians citizens within India itself, particularly through debt bondage and bonded labour,” states the Global Slavery Index Report authored by Kevin Bales and published by the Walk Free Foundation, a leading anti-slavery organisation based out of Australia.
For India, the report is a bad news because the last known figure of slavery in India, as per the International Labour Organisation’s statistics, was 21 million. 

“This goes on to show how rapidly the practice of slavery is advancing in India where anti-slavery laws are tough, but their implementation leaves much to be desired,” the report released this week says.

What’s strange is - lead author of the report Kevin Bales earlier this year sent a version of the Global Slavery Index to the Government of India. He did not get any response. The authors are equally perturbed to note that India, followed by China, is home to most of the world’s slaves. “The question is why these huge economies are allowing modern-day slavery at all,” Kevin Bale asks.

The Global Slavery Index seeks to help nations turn their attention to the hidden crime of slavery that induces the “silent victim syndrome”, wherein the victims are so overwhelmed by abuse that they give up the hope of bringing their abusers to justice. On the first-ever Global Slavery Index, the following 10 countries are the worst performers - Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Moldova, Benin, Ivory Coast, Gambia and Gabon.

Among the countries with the highest number of slaves, India leads with 13.9 million, followed by China at 2.9m slaves; Pakistan with 2.1m; Nigeria with 0.7m and Ethiopia 0.6m. The 10 countries with the lowest prevalence of slavery - among those ranked - are European nations Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Ireland and Iceland. New Zealand is an exception. 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |