FACTBOX-Where is slavery most prevalent?

by Thomson Reuters Foundation | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 17 November 2014 13:03 GMT

Mauritanians ex-slaves walk in a suburb outside Mauritania's capital Nouakchott, November 21, 2006. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

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Nearly 36 million people around the world are enslaved, global index on modern slavery shows

LONDON, Nov 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nearly 36 million people around the world are enslaved, forced to do manual labour in factories, mines and farms, sold for sex in brothels, trapped in debt bondage and born into servitude, a global index on modern slavery showed on Monday.

Qatar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria and Central African Republic rose up the rankings to enter the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of slavery in the 2014 Global Slavery Index, the second annual survey of its kind.

Here are key facts on the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of slavery per head of population, according to the index by Walk Free Foundation, an Australia-based rights group.

1) Mauritania

* Some 155,600 people or four percent of the population are estimated to be slaves in the West African country where it is common to find slave status passed from generation to generation, according to the index.

* The majority of those enslaved in Mauritania are black Moors. Enslaved men and children typically herd camels, cows and goats, or are forced to work in the fields. Enslaved women are forced to do domestic chores such as fetching water, gathering firewood, preparing food and caring for their master's children.

* In the past year, the Mauritanian government has adopted an action plan recommended by the U.N. special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, and agreed to establish a special court to adjudicate cases of slavery, among other measures.

2) Uzbekistan

* Around 1.2 million people or 3.97 percent of the population in the Central Asian nation are subjected to modern slavery, mostly during the annual cotton harvest.

* For decades Uzbekistan has coerced children and adults to work to meet state-imposed cotton quotas. The number of young children working in the cotton fields fell in 2013 but students aged 15 to 18 are still expected to 'volunteer' for the harvest unless they can pay an exemption fee.

* There are reports of people given limited drinking water, despite high temperatures and being made to spray defoliants with neither proper training nor protective equipment.

3) Haiti

* About 237,700 people or 2.3 percent of Haiti's population are enslaved, often as a result of the practice of sending poor children from rural areas to work with wealthier relatives or family acquaintances.

* "Restavek" children routinely face forced labour and physical, sexual and verbal abuse in their new homes.

* Although children account for most victims of modern slavery in Haiti, adults have been subjected to sexual exploitation and forced labour in agriculture and construction.

4) Qatar

* Qatar, home to large numbers of migrant workers predominately from South and Southeast Asia, has some 29,400 slaves - around 1.4 percent of its population.

* Migrant workers are subjected to practices that may amount to forced labour and domestic servitude such as extortionate recruitment fees, illegal confiscation of passports, withholding of salaries, excessive working hours and physical and sexual abuse from employers, the report says.

* Demand for cheap labour ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup has led to international pressure on the government to address reports of exploitative conditions.

5) India

* India has an estimated 14.3 million people in slavery, more than any other country in the world. This amounts to 1.1 percent of its population.

* Members of lower castes and tribes, religious minorities and migrants workers are disproportionately affected by modern slavery which occurs in brick kilns, carpet weaving, embroidery and other textile manufacturing, forced prostitution, mining, agriculture, domestic servitude and organised begging rings.

* Bonded labour is particularly common in the country of 1.25 billion people with families enslaved for generations.

6) Pakistan

* Some 2.06 million people or 1.1 percent of Pakistan's population are enslaved.

* Debt bondage is the most prevalent form of modern slavery in Pakistan with Punjab and Sindh provinces seen as hot spots of bonded labour in brick making, farming and carpet weaving.

* Of the 10 million child workers in Pakistan, 3.8 million of them are five to 14 years old - many of them exploited in the commercial sex trade which has seen a rise in child victims.

7) Democratic Republic of Congo

* Approximately 762,900 people or 1.1 percent of Democratic Republic of Congo's population is estimated to be in slavery.

* Large numbers of men working in mines in the resource-rich country are trapped in debt bondage, having to borrow money from their employers to buy the tools required to work in the mines, as well to pay for food and accommodation.

* One in 10 of the world's 300,000 child soldiers are Congolese children who are often abducted and coerced into joining armed groups. Forced and child marriage is common with some rebels claiming women and girls as their wives by raping them.

8) Sudan

* About 1.1 percent of Sudan's population - around 429,000 people - are enslaved.

* Modern slavery in Sudan includes the exploitation of women and children for domestic work, commercial sexual exploitation and forced child marriages.

* There have been growing reports of Eritrean asylum-seekers and refugees being sold on to Egyptian traffickers by Sudanese groups. Traffickers often torture their victims to extort large sums of money from the victims' relatives, the report said.

9) Syria

* Syria has about 258,200 slaves - many of them child soldiers recruited by government forces and the myriad rebel groups operating in the country.

* As the civil war rages on, Syrian girls have been sold as child brides or forced into marriage and commercial sexual exploitation. Many Syrian refugee children have dropped out of school to labour alongside their families, harvesting potatoes, olives and bananas in neighbouring countries.

* In 2013, the government criminalised the recruitment and use of children by armed forces, yet it is unclear if any children have been demobilised.

10) Central African Republic

* About 52,200 people in the Central African Republic are enslaved with many victims forced into sexual slavery, child marriage and armed combat.

* There are reportedly in excess of 6,000 children being used in the conflict. Children are also abducted for forced labour and forced recruitment by the Lord's Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel force that has moved into CAR.

* There have also been reports of forced labour and child labour in the country's gold and diamond mines. (Writing by Katie Nguyen; Editing by Ros Russell)

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