About 45.8 million people in 167 countries around the world are living and working in slave-like conditions. This is according to Walk Free Foundation’s 2016 Global Slavery Index.
The Index ranked Singapore at 45 and said that there are 9,200 modern day slaves in Singapore. This is at almost a twofold increase from the numbers presented in the 2014 Index, which said that there were 5,400 such slaves here.
In the Index which has 52 rankings, Singapore did worse than Vietnam and 23 other countries. The prevalence of slave-like conditions like human trafficking, sex trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage in a country determined its ranking. North Korea ranked 1st in the Index with 1.1 million slaves. Countries like Switzerland, Canada and USA are at the bottom of the ranking.
These results were derived from 42,000 interviews conducted in 25 countries, taking into account about 44 percent of the global population.
Mr Andrew Forrest, Chairman and Founder of Walk Free Foundation, said eradicating slavery makes sense, morally, politically, logically and economically, and called on the governments of the world’s leading economies to provide an example to others by enacting and implementing robust anti-slavery measures.
“We call on governments of the top 10 economies of the world to enact laws, at least as strong as the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, with a budget and capability to ensure organisations are held to account for modern slavery in their supply chains, and to empower independent oversight. Leaders of the world’s major economies must bring the power of business to this issue, by requiring a focus on supply chain transparency.”
“I believe in the critical role of leaders in government, business and civil society,” Mr Forrest said. “Through our responsible use of power, strength of conviction, determination and collective will, we all can lead the world to end slavery.”
Mr Forrest emphasised the key role that business needs to play in eradicating slavery: “Businesses that don’t actively look for forced labour within their supply chains are standing on a burning platform. Business leaders who refuse to look into the realities of their own supply chains are misguided and irresponsible.”
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