Modern Slavery, Exploitation and the Issues with Low Cost Sourcing

What is Modern Slavery?

Slavery is one of the most serious human rights issues of our time. Modern slavery is a complex crime which can take many forms. It can range from intentional trafficking of people for commercial gain to child labour and even forcing people to work in hazardous circumstances for no pay. According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index (GSI), it has been estimated that 45.8 million people are in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries. Despite the efforts of governments and NGOs, around the world the problem continues to grow. 

Modern Slavery in Emerging Markets
The issue of modern slavery is particularly prevalent in emerging markets. GSI findings show that the countries with the highest absolute numbers of people in modern slavery are India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Furthermore, as illustrated in Exhibit 1, the countries with the highest proportion of their population in modern slavery are North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India and Qatar. The statistics for child labour are even more alarming. The Child Labour Index, produced by global risks advisory firm Maplecroft, rated 68 countries as ‘extreme risk’, with Bangladesh, China, India, Nigeria and Pakistan among the worst. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are 215 million children working throughout the world. Of these, 115 million are victims of child labour and almost half of them work in hazardous conditions. The majority of child labour cases are in emerging markets.

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