The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016, there were 15,000 living in conditions of modern slavery in Australia, a prevalence of 0.6 victims of modern slavery for every thousand people in the country.
“In the context of this report, modern slavery covers a set of specific legal concepts including forced labor, debt bondage, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices, and human trafficking”.
It is used as an umbrella term which refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and abuse of power.
North Korea is at the top of the list with 104.6 per 1,000 and Japan registering the lowest prevalence rate of 0.3 per 1,000.
Globally, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of modern slavery’s victims are women and girls. There are more female than male victims across all forms of modern slavery.
The 10 countries with the largest number of absolute numbers of people in modern slavery include India, China, Pakistan, North Korea, Nigeria, Iran, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Russia, and the Philippines. These 10 countries account for 60 percent of people living in modern slavery.
Findings from the Index highlight the connection between modern slavery and two major external drivers – highly repressive regimes, in which populations are put to work to prop up the government, and conflict situations which result in the breakdown of rule of law, social structures, and existing systems of protection.
Among 167 countries, India ranked 53. However, in absolute numbers, India topped the list on prevalence.
The index estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were nearly 8 million people living in “modern slavery” in India — a claim strongly contested by the government on the grounds that its parameters were poorly defined and too wide-ranging.
The report said that in terms of prevalence, there were 6.1 victims for every thousand people.
The Indian government questioned the definition of modern slavery used in the research and also the sample size for interviews and the questions posed to those surveyed.
Ministry of Women and Child Development termed the index flawed in its interpretations and as the terminology used is very broad-based and words like “forced labor” need a more detailed elaboration in the Indian context where the socio-economic parameters are diverse and very nuanced.