Fri, Oct 18, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan top new world slavery index

AP, LONDON

Mauritania, Haiti and Pakistan rank among the countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery, according to a new global index released yesterday by anti-slavery charity the Walk Free Foundation.

The Global Slavery Index report ranked 162 countries by estimating the number of people in each nation affected by a range of practices including forced and bonded labor, human trafficking, forced marriages and the use of children in the military.

The foundation was established last year by Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest. Its index is endorsed by leaders including former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Clinton said in a statement that although the index was not perfect, it was a starting point.

“I urge leaders around the world to view this index as a call to action and to stay focused on the work of responding to this crime,” she said.

Using reports from governments and non-profit organizations as well as statistical estimates, the charity said that Mauritania has the highest proportion of people in slavery, with many inheriting slave status from their ancestors.

About 140,000 to 160,000 people are enslaved in the African nation, which has a population of just 3.8 million, the report said.

Haiti came second in the index, with about one in 10 children trapped in an exploitative system of child labor, the report said.

Pakistan ranked third with more than 1.8 million in bonded labor, followed by India.

In absolute terms, India, China, Pakistan and Nigeria have the highest numbers of enslaved people, the charity said. Together with five other countries, they account for three-quarters of the total estimated number of people in modern slavery.

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