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Ranking 4th, India slips in modern slavery index; modern slaves increase from 14.29 to 18.35 million in a year

By Our Representative
An international report has said that India has one of the highest, 1.4 per cent of its population, living in conditions of “modern slavery”, up from 1.14% last year. Only three other countries out of 167 surveyed have a higher proportion of “modern slaves” against their respective populations – North Korea 4.37%, Uzbekistan 3.97% and Combodia 1.65%.
Prepared by Walk Free Foundation , Australia, the report, “Global Slavery Index 2016”, says that India’s fourth highest proportion of modern slaves reflects data from “15 state-level surveys conducted in 2016”. The survey estimates that India has 18.35 million people “in some form of modern slavery” – in absolute numbers this is the highest in the world.
This is a major increase of more than four million modern slaves in India. The last year's report estimated that there were 14.29 million “modern slaves” in the country.
A comparison with the last year’s survey also suggests that India has slipped in rank from fifth to fourth position. The countries with a higher percentage of modern slaves than India in the 2015 report were – Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Haiti and Qatar.
Pointing out that 51.35 per cent of India’s population is vulnerable to modern slavery, the report believes that, apart from homelessness, including of children, another major reason for this is “the informal nature of much of India’s labour economy”, with “some 75 percent of rural workers and 69 percent of urban workers are in the informal economy.”
Claiming that the national and state governments are taking steps to address modern slavery by implementing legislations and responding to vulnerability through the provision of safety nets such as education, birth registration and labour inspections, yet “survey data suggests that domestic work, construction, farming, fishing, other manual labour, and the sex industry remain sectors of concern.”
The report states, “While bonded labour has been outlawed for decades, survey data and pre-existing research confirms that this practice still persists”, but refuses to quantify them. Coming to forced labour of domestic workers, the report states, “While not all domestic workers are abused, domestic workers are a particularly vulnerable group.”
Apart from other forms of modern slavery, the report has found that India there is a “forced recruitment for armed services” in India. It says, “A number of regions in India continue to experience armed violence and conflict between state-armed forces and armed opposition groups (AOGs).”
It underlines, “There is ongoing evidence to suggest that children are forcibly recruited into AOGs in Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal, Assam, Manipur and Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.”
The report adds, “Some children as young as six are used by Naxalites as informers and trained to fight with crude weapons, such as sticks. Once children reach 12 years, they receive training in weapon handling and the use of improvised explosive devices. Some women and girls have reported experiencing sexual violence in militant camps.”
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Download India section of the report HERE

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