Global Slavery Index 2023

Global Slavery Index 2023

News: According to the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index 2023, 50 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery – a 25% rise over the last five years.

What is Modern Slavery?
• It refers to situations of exploitation in that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, or deception.
• It manifests as forced labour, child labour, forced marriage, debt bondage, commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, etc.

About Global Slavery Index 2023:
• It is an assessment of modern slavery conditions in 160 countries. It uses data released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), etc.
• The Index provides rankings across 3 dimensions - Size of the problem (prevalence), Government response and Vulnerability (political instability, inequality).
• The 2023 index is significant as India holds the G20 presidency this year, with a focus on sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

Key Findings:
• India, China, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey, and the U.S. are among the top G20 countries with the highest number of forced labourers.
• 50 million people were living in conditions of modern slavery on any given day in 2021.
• The practice has become more prevalent over the last five years (a 25%/10 million rise), due to climate change, armed conflict, weak governance and COVID-19.
• G20 nations account for more than half of all people living in modern slavery because their trade operations and global supply chains allow for human rights abuses.

What are the reasons for increasing Modern slavery?
• Climate change has magnified other drivers of displacement such as loss of livelihoods, poverty, food insecurity and a lack of access to water and other resources. Thus, people are pushed to migrate and become vulnerable to modern slavery.
• Lack adequate livelihood options become more vulnerable to forced labour as they and may be easily tricked into accepting risky opportunities for survival.
• While some governments improved identification measures but legal frameworks, gaps in services available to survivors remained and only limited action has been taken to address systemic risk factors to modern slavery.

What is India’s stance on Modern slavery?
• The Bonded Labour Abolition Act 1976.
• A Central Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour.
• According to the SC, non-payment of minimum wages amounts to “forced labour” under Article 23 of the Constitution.

What are challenges in India?
• Poor implementation of laws due to corruption, apathy, legal loopholes and lack of political will.
• India’s new Labour Codes (which are yet to be implemented) may give “legal sanction” to forced labour by extending work hours and diluting the social security of people working in the organised and unorganised sectors.
• No data on people stuck in modern slavery: India’s last national survey of bonded labour was done in the mid-90s.

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