Global Slavery Index

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 4, 2022, 5:32

The Global Slavery Index is a report produced by the Australian-based Walk Free Foundation. It ranks 162 countries based on the prevalence of modern slavery within each country, calculating per capita rates of enslavement so that countries with higher populations are not disproportionately represented.

The index emphasizes measuring the 'worst forms of slavery, namely child soldiery and human trafficking, while also recognizing other minor forms like forced labour and forced prostitution.

The index ranks a country's population as either being at risk of slavery or not at risk; it does not rank people in any given country according to whether they have been enslaved or are seeking to escape from enslavement.

Global Slavery Index - Overview

The Global Slavery Index measures the prevalence of five forms of modern slavery, namely forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, child soldiery, and sexual slavery.

The report's methodology defines the three other forms (forced prostitution, forced begging, and people trafficked for labour exploitation) as "the worst forms of modern slavery" because they account for a disproportionate share of the world's slaves.

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Need for Global Slavery Index

To the average person, the idea of slavery may seem remote and abstract. Even though slavery has been illegal in most countries for more than 150 years, it is still very much a reality. It is neither rare nor exclusive to certain countries or cultures.

It is a global phenomenon that affects the lives of millions of people around the world who are coerced into servitude in many different ways.

Each country has its own laws and regulations designed to protect citizens against human trafficking, forced labour, and servitude. However, enforcement is often patchy, and even where these laws exist, there are no adequate safeguards for victims who are lured by traffickers or fall into debt bondage.

The index provides an authoritative resource for governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses and investors, and other interested parties in understanding further how their country ranks in comparison with others.

Significance of Global Slavery Index

According to Walk Free Foundation, the Global Slavery Index "provides a new way of understanding the prevalence and nature of human trafficking globally" by providing estimates of how many people live and work in slavery at the national level.

It gives governments a baseline by which to measure their governmental performance, and it sends a clear message to business leaders that modern slavery is a business risk and may be an issue that needs to be addressed in their supply chains.

Furthermore, governments and businesses are, in a sense, being asked to take responsibility for the global problem of slavery when they address it. If they do not address it or even if they do address it but ignore the problem, they cannot exclude the consequences of this inaction.

The Global Slavery Index has been drawn up to create more awareness and encourage the international community to work together towards the eradication of modern slavery.

In a sense, the Global Slavery Index is similar to other human rights indices which have been produced by organizations such as Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders. In these cases, each organization produces an index used by academics and policymakers and others interested in promoting human rights.

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FAQs on the Global Slavery Index

Q.1. What is the Global Slavery Index?

The Global Slavery Index is a ranking of 162 countries according to their estimated prevalence of slavery. The index was created by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation, which began releasing its first annual Global Slavery Index in 2013.

Q.2. Who created the Global Slavery Index?

The Global Slavery Index was created by the Walk Free Foundation, an Australia-based non-governmental organization in 2012 and has gathered data, created models, and conducted research to create a comprehensive since then. The findings of this work are currently being updated on a yearly basis.

Q.3. In what ways is the Global Slavery Index different from other human rights assessments?

While there are many different human rights assessments that are used as reference points, such as those produced by Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders, the Global Slavery Index focuses on measuring countries' slavery prevalence using five key indicators.

Q.4. What were the main sources of information used to calculate the Global Slavery Index?

The Global Slavery Index measures five different forms of slavery. These are forced labour, forced marriage, forced prostitution, child soldiering, and human trafficking. For each of these forms, Walk Free collected information from various NGOs which have done extensive research on their particular form of slavery in various countries. Information is also gathered from various governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations. Information for different years is updated as more data becomes available and new research is conducted.