One of the most disturbing news all over the world in 2018, was adults and children being bought and sold in public markets and women are forced to marry against their will to provide labour. Others are forced to work in factories, on boats and in homes as maids while their wages are withheld…. Slavery!
These are all forms of modern slavery and it is defined by the Global Slavery Index as situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception or abuse of power.
According to the recently released Global Slavery Index 2018, an estimated 40.3 million men, women and children were victims of modern slavery any given day in 2016. Of these, 24.9 million people were in forced labour and 15.9 million people were living in a forced marriage. Seventy-one per cent of them were women and girls.
The Central African Republic, DR Congo, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Chad are among the top 10 most vulnerable countries in the world to modern slavery.
Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo are among the top 10 countries with the largest estimated absolute number of peoples in modern slavery including China, India and other populous countries accounting for 60 per cent of people who live in modern slavery and over half of the world’s population.
Modern slavery is most prevalent in Africa followed by Asia and the Pacific region. The country with the highest prevalence rate of modern slavery is North Korea. Out of the 10 countries, five are from Africa and the others are Afghanistan (5), Pakistan (8), Cambodia (9), Iran (10).
These African countries took the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th positions in the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery in the world and their governments are not doing enough to contain it.
South Sudan – 7th
Conflict plays a major role in compounding people’s vulnerability to slavery in South Sudan. The government itself is implicated in the recruitment of children to fight in the civil war and conflict.
Mauritania – 6th
It continues to hold a high proportion of people living in modern slavery and progress remains slow. The government has outlawed the practice but the laws are not enforced and victimisation is also prevalent.
Central African Republic – 4th
Low government responses to modern slavery affected their vulnerability level. The conflict situation in the country takes away the government’s focus from modern slavery which also involves the recruitment of children to fight for the militia.
Burundi – 3rd
High State-imposed forced labour affected Burundi’s vulnerability rate to modern slavery as a result of forcing citizens recruited by state authorities to participate in construction or agriculture work which does not benefit them. It also includes prisoners forced to work against their will.
Eritrea – 2nd
According to the report, low government responses to modern slavery affected Eritrea’s vulnerability level. Also, they are affected by State-imposed forced labour which forces citizens or prisoners to do communal work against their will.