Slavery is a system in which property law is applied to humans, allowing owners to own, purchase, and sell slaves as property. Without the ability to opt out, slaves are often compelled to do menial tasks for very little or no compensation.
A major issue in many parts of the world, slavery has played a role in practically every nation’s history.
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Is slavery a contemporary phenomenon, and if so, how widespread?
Modern slavery currently exists in 167 countries, affecting an estimated 46 million people. In many circumstances, modern slavery is difficult to identify or recognize.
It’s since slavery has been pushed underground in many nations, as well as that slavery’s definition has changed and developed through time.
When it comes to contemporary slavery, the United States Department of State defines it as “the act of acquiring a person for forced labor or commercial sexual activities via the use of force, deception or coercion.”
According to a 2017 study from the International Labour Organization, contemporary slavery includes forced marriages, state-imposed forced labor, and victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Slavery in the modern era
Slavery by ownership (chattel slavery), government conscription (forced military service or government labor), forced prison labor, forced migrant labor, debt bondage (slavery until debts are paid), sexual slavery, forced marriage/child marriage, child labor, and forced begging are examples of modern slavery.
With contemporary slavery in mind, we can now move on to the numbers.
Global Slavery Index 2018: The Top 10 Countries with the Highest Percentage of Modern Slavery (by the Total Number of Slaves)
- India – 7,989,000
- China – 3,864,000
- North Korea – 2,640,000
- Nigeria – 1,386,000
- Iran – 1,289,000
- Indonesia – 1,220,000
- Congo (Democratic Republic of) – 1,045,000
- Russia – 794,000
- Philippines – 784,000
- Afghanistan – 749,000
Indians are the world’s largest slave-holding nation. This is partly because India is one of the world’s most populated nations, and all types of contemporary slavery, including forced child labor, bonded labor, and forced recruitment into armed organizations, exist there.
At more than 3.8 million, China has the second-highest number of slaves despite being the world’s most populated. On the other hand, China does not exhibit slavery in various forms.
Some other nations with large slave populations are Russia, Nigeria, DR Congo, Indonesia, Egypt, Myanmar, Iran, Turkey, and Sudan.
Asia is the continent with the most people, yet it is also the continent with the most slaves. Slavery in a nation may be measured in many ways, but the total number of slaves is just one of them. The following is a sample list:
Global Slavery Index 2018: The Top 10 Countries with the Highest Percentage of Modern Slavery (Slaves Per 1000 Residents)
- North Korea – 104.6 (10.46%)
- Eritrea – 93 (9.3%)
- Burundi – 40 (4.0%)
- Central African Republic – 22.3 (2.23%)
- Afghanistan – 22.2 (2.22%)
- Mauritania – 21.4 (2.14%)
- South Sudan – 20.5 (2.05%)
- Pakistan – 16.8 (1.68%)
- Cambodia – 16.8 (1.68%)
- Iran – 16.2 (1.62%)
Slavery’s prevalence stated as the proportion of people in a certain nation who are slaves dramatically alters the top 10 rankings.
Due to its widespread practice of ordering individuals of all ages, from adults down to 13-year-olds, to do “community work” for no compensation, North Korea now occupies the top spot.
Efforts by the federal government to prevent modern slavery
Slavery in the contemporary world is a topic on which several governments and nongovernmental groups have focused their efforts.
At least six nations in the G20 have recently approved legislation to prevent slavery, including the United Kingdom, which enacted the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in 2015. The United Nations established international Slavery Day on December 02, 2015.
Other groups, on the other hand, are demanding more. The University of Nottingham Rights Lab produced a comprehensive 2020 research that found that all 193 United Nations member nations ban laws that legitimize slavery.
Still, less than half (51 percent) have laws prohibiting slavery and the slave trade. Serfdom, debt bondage; sale or transfer of a bride/wife/widow; or delivery of children for exploitation are only two practices that are particularly criminalized in just two 193 countries.
Also See: Countries That Ban GMOs 2022
Slavery in the U.S.A.
During the United States’ early years, slavery was authorized on a state-to-state basis and was the fundamental cause of the American Civil War.
A total of 15 slave states (plus a 16th state, West Virginia, which was granted statehood on the condition that it would progressively abolish slavery) and 19 non-slavery states existed in the United States before the Civil War.
Following the Civil War in 1865, slavery was abolished in the United States. No slavery or involuntary servitude is allowed in the United States or any territory under the authority of the United States, as stated by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
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