Modern Slavery: Marketplace Morning Report Transcript
Which country today has the largest number of unfree people? Is it A. Nigeria, B. Mexico; C. India; or D. Russia?
December 29, 2015
David Brancaccio: We started with a World War II development in France, and there’s also this today.
South Korea and Japan have reached a landmark agreement today to resolve the issue of South Korean women forced to work in Japanese brothels during the second world war. The leaders of both countries said today they see this as an opportunity for closer ties going forward.
Forced labor — slavery — the numbers even as we go into 2016 are deeply disturbing.
Stephan Richter, editor in chief of the Globalist, from time to time compiles some numbers so we better understand our world. Thanks for doing this, Stephan.
Stephan Richter: Good morning, David. I’m wondering, with you, which country today has the largest number of unfree people? Is it Nigeria, A; B, Mexico; C, India; or D, Russia?
Brancaccio: This is a tough question. I’m just going to hazard a guess. Would be India?
Richter: You are exactly right. It is India. India has 14.3 million people who are victims of modern slavery. Mind you, the definition in the modern economy includes examples such as women who are tricked into migrating for ultimately non-existent jobs, who are then forced to work in brothels, household workers, same thing – promised work and then work without wages, or those famous child soldiers who are forced to fight for certain military groups.
Brancaccio: Stephan, where are you getting this data?
Richter: I’m getting this data from the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index. And I should tell you and the audience, that it is a slightly larger number than what the ILO – the famous international organization – has. According to the International Labor Organization, there are 21 million people worldwide who are victims of forced labor and slavery. The Walk Free Foundation puts them at 36 million people, but I think it is economically more inclusive and reasonable to have this broader definition.
Brancaccio: Now, you offered some other countries. How do they rate according to these definitions?
Richter: Nigeria was in there, and it has about 800,000 people that are part of modern slavery. That’s just 0.5% of Nigeria’s people. Mexico I mentioned as well. 0.2% of the Mexican population are considered modern slaves. Russia has the largest incidence of modern slavery of any European – or more specifically Eurasian – nation. 0.7% of Russia’s population are considered modern slaves. Fortunately much less in terms of domestic forced labor than in the truly dark times of the Soviet Union, but still a point of shame in the world today.