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The first Global Slavery Index was released on Thursday, revealing a grand total of 30 million individuals enslaved around the world.
Among the countries to top the list, India came in first with nearly half of the world’s slaves in its borders. Second to top the list was China with nearly 2.9 million slaves. Other notable countries include Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Mauritania.
The index was composed by Walk Free Foundation, a team of 20 based in Australia dedicated to addressing the threat of slavery. For over a year, WFF has been compiling data on various forms of slavery, including sex-trafficking, child exploitation, forced marriage and debt bondage.
Nick Grono, chief executive of WFF, stated, “A lot of people are very surprised to hear that slavery still exists [...] What modern slavery is is a situation that reflects all of the characteristics of slavery of past centuries [...] People are controlled by violence. They are tricked or they are forced into jobs or situations where they are economically exploited,” quoted The Telegraph.
The WFF Index has gained support from important political figures internationally, including former US secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, and former UK prime minister, Gordon Brown.
Euronews quoted Clinton, “I urge leaders around the world to view this index as a call to action, and to stay focused on the work of responding to this crime, even if your country receives a positive rank. Now we know the index isn’t perfect and can’t answer every question about modern slavery, but this is an important starting point.”