Rapidly escalating to an alarming figure, new estimates reveal that over 50 million individuals worldwide are currently trapped in conditions of slavery. This number represents a distressing increase of 10 million individuals within a span of just five years. The rise in modern slavery can be attributed to a combination of factors, including conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change.
The Global Slavery Index, published by the human rights organization Walk Free, highlights how compounding crises have worsened extreme poverty and compelled more individuals to migrate. Unfortunately, this increased migration puts them at a heightened vulnerability to exploitation and enslavement. The report, released on Wednesday, May 24th, underscores the urgent need for action to address this critical issue.
Co-author of the report, Katharine Bryant, emphasizes the proximity of modern slavery to our everyday lives, stating that it can be as close as the clothes we wear or the electronic devices we use. She further adds that the figures provided in the report are conservative estimates, indicating that the actual number of individuals affected by modern slavery may be even higher.