India worst again in slavery index, 14.3mn enslaved in country
listing Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Qatar and India as the nations where modern-day slavery is most
The Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based human rights group, estimated in its inaugural
slavery index last year that 29.8 million people were born into servitude, trafficked for sex work,
trapped in debt bondage or exploited for forced labour.
Releasing its second annual index, Walk Free increased its estimate of the number of slaves to
35.8 million, saying this was due to better data collection and slavery being uncovered in areas
where it had not been found previously.
For the second year, the index of 167 countries found India had by far the greatest number
of slaves. Up to 14.3 million people in its population of 1.25 billion were victims of slavery,
ranging from prostitution to bonded labour.
Mauritania was again the country where slavery was most prevalent by head of population while
Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, rose up the rank from 96th place to be listed as the fourth
worst country by percentage of the population.
"From children denied an education by being forced to work or marry early, to men unable to
leave their work because of crushing debts they owe to recruitment agents, to women and girls
exploited as unpaid, abused domestic workers, modern slavery has many faces," the report said.
"It still exists today, in every country - modern slavery affects us all."
The index defines slavery as the control or possession of people in such a way as to deprive them
of their freedom with the intention of exploiting them for profit or sex, usually through violence,
coercion or deception.
The definition includes indentured servitude, forced marriage and the abduction of children to
serve in wars.