46 Million Live in Modern Slavery


According to a survey published by an Australian human rights organisation almost 46 million people around the world are living as slaves. Two years ago 35 million people were thought to be living in some form of modern slavery.

The highest number of slaves, over 18 million,  live in India, while North Korea has the highest per capita slavery rate. In the communist country 4.4 percent of the population live as modern slaves. According to the Global Slavery Index of 2016, two thirds of all modern slaves live in Asia.

The survey was based on interviews with 42 000 people in 25 countries. The results are only estimates because not every country provides accurate data on this sensitive subject.

Many people around the world are trapped in bad living conditions from which they cannot escape. They are born into servitude, are forced to engage in sex  or are trapped by debt. People cannot get out of these situations because they are often threatened.  On the other side, many are victims of forced labour, having to work in mines or on farms for little or no money at all.



While countries in the developed world try hard to fight against modern slavery, others , like North Korea or Iran, hardly do anything to help enslaved people.  In addition, millions of people in Asian countries work in badly paid jobs. Trade unions and other labour organizations hardly exist in these countries , so that modern slavery can thrive.



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  • according to = as said by ...
  • accurate = exact
  • based on = here: the results come from ...
  • data = information
  • debt = if you have borrowed money from another person and have to give it back
  • developed world = Japan, Australia, countries in North America and Europe
  • enslaved = people who are slaves
  • escape = get away from
  • estimate = to guess how large something might be
  • forced labour = using people as unpaid workers
  • hardly = almost nothing
  • human rights = the basic rights that all people should have, like the right to vote or speak freely
  • in addition = also
  • labour = work
  • mine = place where you dig minerals or other raw materials out of the earth
  • per capita = for each person in a country
  • provide = give, offer
  • sensitive = a subject that you have to deal with carefully
  • slavery = the activity of being a slave
  • threaten = make someone afraid
  • thrive = grow
  • trade union = organization that represents workers in a country; it protects their rights and helps them get better pay and working conditions
  • trap = a dangerous situation from which you cannot escape