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Global Slavery Index 2023: with 11 Million Forced Labourers India tops among the G20 Nations

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G20 countries including India are fuelling modern slaveryAccording to the Global Slavery Index 2023, an assessment of modern slavery conditions in 160 countries, released by Australia-based Rights group Walk Free Foundation in May 2023, Globally, around 50 million(49.6 million) people were living in conditions of modern slavery in 2021, a 25% rise over the last five years.

  • Among the G20 nations, India tops the list with 11 million people working as forced labourers, followed by China, Russia, Indonesia, Türkiye and the United States of America(USA).
  • ⅔ of people in modern slavery were in India, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Türkiye, Bangladesh and the USA.
  • Asia and Pacific region has the largest number of modern slavery with 29.3 million people.

What is Modern slavery?

  • It includes practices of forced labour, forced marriage, debt bondage, commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, slavery-like practices, and the sale and exploitation of children.
  • It is also considered as any situation where threats, violence, coercion and deception prevent a person from refusing or leaving.

Analysis over G20 Nations:

i.G20 nations account for more than half of all people living in modern slavery.

ii.In 2021, G20 countries imported USD 468 billion of at-risk products, including electronics, textiles, palm oil and solar panels, have been shipped from countries with weak worker protection, thus worsening forced labour conditions.

Global Analysis: 

Top 5 Countries where Modern Slavery is more prevalent and least prevalent:

Most PrevalentLeast Prevalent
1North Korea160Switzerland
4Saudi Arabia157Netherlands

About Global Slavery Index 2023:

i.The 2023 Global Slavery Index provides an assessment of the extent to which a country’s population is vulnerable to modern slavery for 160 countries.

ii.The index was framed based on the data released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Walk Free, and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in 2022 to illustrate how “modern slavery is hidden in plain sight”.

India’s Stance on Modern Slavery:

i.For the benefits of labour, India passed the Bonded Labour Abolition Act of 1976 which prohibits the practice of bonded and forced labour, and identifies the responsibilities of State Governments to form vigilance committees.

ii.The Act was amended in 1985 to include contract and migrant workers.

iii.India also has a Central scheme for the Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour, one part of which includes providing financial assistance to the rescued individual (the 2016 amendment increased the amount of funds).

iv.The Supreme Court has previously ruled that non-payment of minimum wages amounts to ‘forced labour’ under Article 23 of the Constitution.