North Korea, Eritrea and Mauritania have the highest prevalence of modern slavery in the world, said the Global Slavery Index, which was published yesterday, with a “worsening” situation globally since its previous survey five years earlier.
The report said that an estimated 50 million people were “living in situations of modern slavery” in 2021, an increase of 10 million from 2016, when the issue was last measured.
The figure includes about 28 million people in forced labor and 22 million in a forced marriage.
The situation is worsening “against a backdrop of increasing and more complex armed conflicts, widespread environmental degradation” and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, the investigation said.
Compiled by human rights charity Walk Free, the report defines modern slavery as encompassing “forced labor, forced or servile marriage, debt bondage, forced commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, slavery-like practices, and the sale and exploitation of children.”
Slavery’s core principle entails “the systematic removal of a person’s freedom” — from the right to accept or refuse labor to the liberty to determine if, when and whom to marry.
By this benchmark, North Korea has the highest prevalence of modern slavery (104.6 per 1,000 population), the report said.
It is followed by Eritrea (90.3 per 1,000) and Mauritania (32), which in 1981 became the last country in the world to make hereditary slavery illegal.
The 10 countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery have some common characteristics, including “limited protections for civil liberties and human rights,” the authors wrote.
Many of the countries are in “volatile” regions experiencing conflict or political instability, or home to a large populaton of “vulnerable people” such as refugees or migrant workers, they said.
Also in the top 10 globally were Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, where migrant workers’ labor rights are restricted by the kafala sponsorship system.
Other countries in the top 10 are Turkey, “which hosts million of refugees from Syria,” Tajikistan, Russia and Afghanistan, the report said.
While forced labor is more common in low-income countries it is “deeply” connected to demand from higher-income countries, it said, adding that two-thirds of all forced labor cases are linked to global supply chains.
G20 countries — made up of the EU and the world’s 19 top economies — in 2021 imported US$468 billion of goods that are at risk of being produced with forced labor, up from US$354 billion in the previous report, it said.
Electronics remain the highest-value at-risk product, followed by garments, palm oil and solar panels, it said.
“Modern slavery permeates every aspect of our society. It is woven through our clothes, lights up our electronics and seasons our food,” Walk Free director Grace Forrest said.
“At its core, modern slavery is a manifestation of extreme inequality. It is a mirror held to power, reflecting who in any given society has it and who does not,” Forrest added.
BUYING TIME: Russia is estimated to have suffered over 100,000 casualties in its push to capture the strategically insignificant town, giving Ukraine time to ready its troops Whether Bakhmut has fallen or not, Moscow is being pulled deeper into an ever more costly fight for the frontline city as Kyiv readies a major offensive, experts said. Russia’s claim to have conquered the destroyed city, which Ukraine rejected on Sunday, does not mean significant new terrain from which to launch attacks nor harden defenses. However, Moscow has made the eastern city’s capture a key aim and has fought the war’s longest battle, as well as one of its deadliest, to try to win what it would like to bill as a significant success. US President Joe Biden, speaking from the G7
DEEPFAKE: Using AI to change their face and voice, a fraudster convinced a businessman that they were his friend and needed 4.3 million yuan for a public tender A scammer in China used artificial intelligence (AI) to pose as a businessman’s trusted friend and convince him to hand over millions of yuan, authorities have said. The victim, surnamed Guo, received a video call last month from a person who looked and sounded like a close friend. However, the caller was actually a con artist “using smart AI technology to change their face” and voice, said an article published on Monday by a media portal associated with the government in Fuzhou City. The scammer was “masquerading as [Guo’s] good friend and perpetrating fraud,” the article said. Guo was persuaded to transfer 4.3
A Malaysian comedian better known for mocking attempts by Western chefs at Asian cooking has had his Chinese social media account suspended after making jokes about China. Nigel Ng (黃瑾瑜), who uses the name Uncle Roger, is the latest comedian to feel the consequences of jokes that could be perceived as reflecting negatively on China under increasingly intense censorship and rising nationalism. Last week, a Chinese comedian came under police investigation for a joke about stray dogs. Ng on Thursday posted a video clip from an upcoming comedy special in which he pokes fun at Chinese surveillance and Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over
Gunmen in Ecuador opened fire in a restaurant in a beach town popular with tourists, killing at least six people and wounding six more, prosecutors said on Sunday. The attack happened on Saturday night in a busy nightlife area of the town of Montanita on the Pacific coast, the prosecutors’ office said on Twitter. It gave no information on the age or identity of the people who were shot. Located between Colombia and Peru, the world’s top producers of cocaine, Ecuador is weathering the biggest surge in crime in its recent history. Crime linked to drug trafficking caused the murder rate to almost double