“Slavery” was one of the shameful phenomena in the history of mankind. Human civilization almost as a whole has continued this inhumane practice for many years and has been the cause of extremely tragic events. As we approached modernity, many societies where slavery was common ceased the practice. At least officially! However, the concept and practice of slavery did not disappear from the face of the earth.

Today, there are millions of “modern slaves” in different countries of the world! According to a report prepared by the Australian-based international human rights organization Walk Free, about 50 million people around the world live in conditions of modern slavery. Türkiye is the 5th country where modern slavery is most widespread! Let’s look at the details together.

The Australian international human rights organization Walk Free recently published a rather interesting report on modern slavery.

The Global Slavery Index report states that there are 49.6 million modern slaves worldwide in 2021. However, the number is claimed to have been 10 million in 2016. According to the report, the number of modern slaves around the world is steadily increasing.

On the other hand, there are other startling data about modern slavery in the research conducted by the international human rights organization. But before we take a closer look at these data, it is worth understanding what modern slavery is!

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is defined as forced labor, forced marriage, debt, sexual exploitation, or human trafficking.

According to the report, 1 out of every 4 people in this category is a child!

On the other hand, 54 percent of today’s slaves worldwide are women and girls.

Worldwide, 22 million people are forced into marriage and 27.6 million people are forced into modern slavery.

Grace Forrest, director of international human rights organization Walk Free, says that modern slavery is a “mirror of power.” He also argues that it reflects who has power in society and who does not, and is basically a manifestation of inequality in society.

North Korea is the country with the highest prevalence of modern slavery.

modern slavery

According to the report, 104.6 out of every 1,000 people living in North Korea are modern-day slaves! Other countries with the largest populations of modern slaves are Eritrea and Mauritania. 90.3 out of every 1,000 people in Eritrea and 20 out of every 1,000 people in Mauritania are classified as modern slaves. The fourth country where this practice is most common is Saudi Arabia.

Türkiye is on the 5th place in the list!

modern slavery

The report notes that Turkey has become one of the countries negatively affected by the problem of modern slavery, especially since millions of immigrants from Syria live in it.

The 10 countries with the most widespread modern slavery are: North Korea, Eritrea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Afghanistan and Kuwait. In addition, the 10 countries where the modern practice of slavery occurs the least are: Switzerland, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Japan and Finland.

Heated conflicts, political instability and state-sponsored forced labor are some of the main causes of modern slavery.

modern slavery

For this reason, modern slavery is found especially in low-income countries where there is economic hardship. But there are other factors that contributed to the rapid increase in the number of modern slaves.

“Demand” in high-income countries is one of the factors that makes modern slavery widespread.

modern slavery

According to the report, G20 countries import billions of dollars worth of goods that use modern-day slaves. One such product is electronic devices. Clothing, palm oil, solar panels and other textiles are other items that high-income countries “demand” from modern slaves.

These demands of the developed countries, which are growing day by day, lead to the institutionalization of the modern practice of slavery and the increase in the number of modern slaves in many countries of the world.

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