According to the Global Slavery Index, India has the largest population of modern slaves in the world, with over 18 million people trapped as bonded labourers, forced beggars, sex workers and child soldiers.
The index was published by human rights organisation, Walk Free Foundation, on Monday, which quoted that 1.4% of India’s population has the largest proportion of slaves in the world.
“Existing research suggests all forms of modern slavery continue to exist in India, including inter-generational bonded labour, forced child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, forced recruitment into non-state armed groups and forced marriage,” said Grace Forrest, co-founder of the foundation.
The survey said that 58% of these slaves are concentrated in India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
The survey covered 80% population of the country.
The Union Cabinet recently cleared proposals to “address new forms of bondage such as organised begging rings, forced prostitution and child labour”. In 1976, India had abolished bonded labour, but rural people are often trapped by gangs, on promises of better jobs.
Most of them are sold into domestic work, prostitution, or to brick kilns, textile units and farms.
The Foundation has requested the Centre to frame a policy for private employers so that the supply chain of bonded labourers is regularly checked by the authorities.
The report also highlighted the recruitment of child soldiers by militant groups active in several states, including Jammu and Kashmir, and Jharkhand, and the Northeast.