Global slavery index.

Byline: Syed Mohammad Ali

While the very notion that human beings can still be subjected to slavery may seem incredulous, the fact remains that brutally exploitative practices such as forced labour and human trafficking remain pervasive in the world today. It does not take much effort to identify numerous instances of people being deprived of basic freedoms, such as the right to leave one job for another or even the freedom to have control of their own bodies.

In our modern world, slavery takes different forms including sex trafficking, debt bondage and child labour. While national governments and specialised agencies like the International Labour Organisation aim to prevent such disconcerting forms of human exploitation, there are an estimated 30 million people worldwide who remain victims of different forms of slavery.

A new measure has been devised to quantify the extent of this problem resulting in the launch of a Global Slavery Index, during this past month. This index is trying to quantify the extent of slavery using a combination of estimations such as the number of people within a country who are enslaved, measuring child and early marriage rates and the extent of human trafficking in and out of a given country.

Using the above criteria, the Global Slavery Index ranks 162 countries based on the extent of slavery on a per capita basis and also the absolute number of people living in slavery. It is disturbing to see that Pakistan ranks third on both counts.

According to the estimates cited by this new index, some 2.1 million Pakistanis are considered to be enslaved, which includes children and bonded labour working in the informal sector, including the agriculture sector, as well as Pakistanis working as illegal immigrants.

The Global Slavery Index has been...

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