Wars, conflicts and the climate crisis are driving more and more people out of their home countries. They are often at risk of being exploited. A new report underscores this.
According to estimates, the number of people who become victims of modern slavery has increased significantly in recent years. That emerges from the most recent Global Slavery Index of the human rights organization Walk Free, which was published on Wednesday in London. According to this, 50 million people are trapped in modern slavery worldwide – ten million more than five years ago.
According to the report, people who are forced to leave their homes because of climate change, conflict and intense weather events are particularly at risk of being exploited. A worldwide restriction of women’s rights, as well as the economic and social effects of the corona pandemic, are also aggravating the situation.
Also a problem in industrialized and emerging countries
According to the report, modern slavery is most widespread in North Korea, Eritrea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Afghanistan and Kuwait. But even in the most important industrialized and emerging countries of the G20 there are many people who are being exploited. According to the report, the figure is assumed to be 11 million in India alone; There are 5 million in China, 1.8 million in Russia, 1.3 million in Turkey and 1.1 million in the United States.
The human rights activists are also critical of the import of goods, which are often produced under conditions based on coercion or dependency. So-called risk products are imported into the G20 countries every year to the value of 468 billion US dollars (equivalent to around 434 billion euros). These include electronics, clothing and palm oil, among others. Human rights activists believe that half of all victims of modern slavery must be indirectly attributed to the G20 through their supply chains.
From clothes to electronics to food
“Modern slavery permeates every aspect of our society. It’s woven into our clothing, illuminating our electronics and flavoring our food,” Walk Free founding director Grace Forrest said in a statement.
In addition to legislation to end modern slavery in supply chains, the human rights activists are also calling on governments to better integrate the fight against modern slavery in the areas of humanitarian aid and building a green economy. When working with repressive regimes, care must be taken to ensure that trade, business and investment do not contribute to or benefit from government-mandated forced labour. In addition, children, especially girls, should be better protected by making school education possible and preventing forced marriages.
According to its website, the Australian-based organization Walk Free draws on the expertise of statisticians, criminologists, lawyers and development aid experts for its report.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.