Most of us are under the illusion that slavery was abolished in the 1800s, but with an estimated 30 million people worldwide still enslaved, this hidden crime is a shocking and deeply disturbing issue that desperately needs our attention.

The 2013 Global Slavery Index compiled by the Australian based Walk Free Foundation, is the first of its kind and provides an estimate, country by country, of the number of people living in modern slavery today.

The Modern Day Slave Trade Takes Many Forms:

  • Slavery – the conditioning of treating another person as if they were property.

  • Forced Labor – work taken without consent by means of threat or coercion.

  • Human Trafficking – the process in which people are bought and sold into some form of severe exploitation.

Whatever term is used, all forms of modern day slavery involves one person depriving another person of their basic right to freedom…freedom to leave their job, freedom to leave their workplace, freedom to leave their oppressor, freedom to their own body.

The index, which shows that while India has the largest number of enslaved people (13.95 million), the main offender was the west African nation of Mauritania where an estimated 4 percent of the entire population are believed to be currently held in slavery.

Other countries at the top of the list with alarmingly high occurrences of slavery include China, Pakistan, Russia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Haiti, Nepal, Thailand, Bangladesh, Burma, and Congo.

While the U.S, Canada, and U.K. were rated very low risk, it does not mean that they are slavery free. The U.S. and Canada are still prime destinations for human trafficking due to their demand for cheap labor, and the U.K. was reported to have an estimated 4,200 – 4,600 people living in slavery.

Slavery destroys lives. People are controlled by violence and are tricked or forced into situations where they are exploited against their will.

Preventing the next generation of victims through education, healthcare, social justice advocacy, economic security building, and intervention are our best chance of eliminating slavery, along with combating the push factors that lead to enslavement.

Individuals like you can join the fight against slavery by following anti-slavery organizations and staying informed about the restoration efforts already underway, continuing to support prevention and building public awareness.

Anti-Slavery Organizations To Follow:

  • Walk Free Foundation – The Walk Free Foundation’s mission is to end modern slavery by mobilizing a global activist movement, generating high quality research, and enlisting business to help raise capitol to drive change in those countries that bear the greatest responsibility.

  • Anti-Slavery – Anti-Slavery International works at  local, national, and international levels to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world.

  • Humanity United – Humanity United is foundation committed to building peace and advancing human freedom. They lead, support, and collaborate with a broad network of efforts, ideas, and organizations that share their vision of a world free from conflict and injustice.

  • End Slavery Now – End Slavery Now is a charitable organization helping to fight human trafficking with the best possible tools, information, opportunities, and resources available.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons