According to the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index [pdf], almost 30 million people across the globe are living as slaves right now.*
In 2013, modern slavery takes many forms, and is known by many names. Whether it is called human trafficking, forced labour, slavery or slavery-like practices (a category that includes debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, sale or exploitation of children including in armed conflict) victims of modern slavery have their freedom denied, and are used and controlled and exploited by another person for profit, sex, or the thrill of domination. . .
The reality of modern slavery is millions of people who cannot walk away, who are trapped and denied freedom and lives of dignity, and bound only to serve and profit the criminals that control them.
Modern slavery is a crime that is, of course, difficult to measure. As the authors of the report explain, “When a person is enslaved, they are not normally available to be found and counted, and criminals wish to keep it that way.”
It would, of course, be much easier to compile an index of all those who are trapped and denied freedom and lives of dignity, and bound only to serve and profit the employers who control them. We might call that the Global Index of Wage-Slavery.
*The Foundation’s operational definition of slavery is as follows: “Slavery is the possession and control of a person in such a way as to significantly deprive that person of his or her individual liberty, with the intent of exploiting that person through their use, management, profit, transfer or disposal. usually this exercise will be achieved through means such as violence or threats of violence, deception and/or coercion.”