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IAS Mains General Studies 1 Notes: Modern Slavery

Last Updated - December 29, 2016

Modern slavery includes one person having control over another person in such a way that he or she snatches other person’s individual liberty. The person who is in control exploit another person for getting his job done through their use, management, profit, transfer or disposal. Modern slavery plays a vital role in the production of 122 goods, across 58 countries. The International Labor Organization estimates the illicit profit that comes out of the modern slavery to be $150 billion a year.  

Asia-Pacific region tops the chart in modern slavery with almost 46% reeling under this menace. 83% males and 17% females are the victims of contemporary slavery.  Forced and child marriage are prevalent forms of slavery in countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Sexual slavery has risen in concert with economic prosperity in India.

The informal nature of the Indian economy has an effect on vulnerability and accounts in large part for modern slavery, which is related to economic gender and caste inequalities. In states hit by Maoist violence, such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha, boys and girls between the ages of six and twelve are recruited in children’s unit.

Over the past five years, 23% of human trafficking cases led to conviction. Punishments varies from fines to imprisonment. Andhra Pradesh reported the most arrests followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

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Global Slavery Index

Walk Free Foundation, a global human rights foundation, publishes global slavery index. The foundation works with a mission to emancipate this generation from modern slavery. The report focuses on prevalence as wells as the total number of people, who are the victims of modern slavery in each country.


Global Slavery Index (GSI) 2014 is given below

  • India stands on top of the list with about with about 14.29 million enslaved people, ensued by China with 3.24 million, Pakistan 2.06 million, Uzbekistan 1.2 million and Russia 1.05 million.
  • India and Pakistan alone account for over 45% of total global enslaved population.
  • 23.5 million people are in Asia, two thirds of global total in 2014 (65.8%).
  • Modern slavery exists in all 167 countries.
  • Globally, 35.8 million people are enslaved across the world.
  • Five countries account for 61% of the world’s population living in modern slavery.
  • Mauritania has the highest proportion (prevalence) of its population in modern slavery, at 4%, followed by Uzbekistan (3.97%), Haiti (2.3%), Qatar (1.36%) and India (1.14%).

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Global Slavery Index 2014: Finding on India

  • Bonded labor is still prevalent in countries like India and Pakistan. Sometimes entire family reels under the menace of modern slavery. They work in sectors like – construction, agriculture, brick making, garment factories and manufacturing.
  • India faces a humongous challenge of modern slavery. Across India’s population of over 1.25 billion people, all forms of modern slavery, including inter-generational bonded labor, trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced marriage exist. Major victims of modern slavery are lower castes and tribes, religious minorities and migrant workers. Modern slavery occurs in brick kilns, carpet weaving, embroidery and other textile manufacturing, forced prostitution, agriculture, domestic servitude, mining and organized begging rings. People have been enslaved for generations.
  • There are reports of women and children from India being recruited with promises of non-existent jobs and later sold for sexual exploitation or forced into sham marriages. In some religious groups, pre-pubescent girls are sold for sexual servitudes in temples. Recent reports suggest that one child goes missing every eight minutes; it is feared that some are sold into forced begging, domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation.
  • On paper, criminal justice reforms specific to human trafficking are the strongest component of India’s response to modern slavery. In 2013, government amended the Indian Penal Code to include anti-trafficking provisions. In 2014, the government expanded the number of police anti-trafficking units across the country to 215 units, aiming to establish a unit in 650 districts.
  • The judiciary and over 20000 law enforcement have received training on victim identification, the new legal framework and victim centered investigations.
  • Dalits have the least social protections and are highly vulnerable to serve forms of exploitation and slavery. Approximately 90% of India’s laborers work in the informal sector.

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