Slavery is outlawed under international law and in most parts of the world, but there are still nearly 30 million slaves in the world today, according to the anti-slavery organization WalkFree. These are literal, not metaphorical, slaves—forced laborers, child soldiers, forced prostitutes and others held in bondage.
Some are debt slaves, sold into slavery to pay their own or their parents’ debts. Some are unauthorized immigrants, lured by false promises of a job and then trapped in a country where they have no legal rights. Some are simply victims of force.
The map above shows the estimated number of slaves in each country. Nearly half of the world’s slaves—an estimated 14 million people—are in India. But few countries are completely without slaves, and the USA is not one of them.
The map below shows the estimated proportion of the population of each country that is enslaved—about one out of every 25 people in the nation of
MauritiusMauritania, one out of 48 in Haiti. The percentage of slaves in the United States is small, but that is still 60,000 people. India is near the top in the prevalence of slavery as well as absolute numbers.
Click on Globalization and the world slave work force for a post on how global companies benefit from slave labor. [added 10/23/13]
Click on This map shows where the world’s 30 million slaves live | There are 60,000 in the U.S. for background by Max Fisher of the Washington Post.