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Modern slavery is a brutal reality around the world. The 2016 Global Slavery Index published by the Walk Free Foundation estimates that 45.8 million people are in some form of slavery in 167 countries. 58 percent of people in slavery are living in just five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. The report estimates that North Korea has the world’s highest prevalence of slavery at 4.4 percent of its population, followed by Uzbekistan (4.0 percent) and Cambodia (1.6 percent).
Slavery is most prevalent in countries producing consumer goods through low-cost labour. When it comes to the sheer number of people living in slavery, no country comes close to matching India. There are an estimated 18.4 million slaves in India, compared to 3.4 million in China and 2.1 million in Pakistan. Politically stable countries with high levels of economic wealth have few people living in slavery with low rates recorded in Canada, Germany, Singapore and the United States.