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World’s richest nations host majority of people living in modern slavery, study finds

THE world’s richest nations host the majority of people living in modern slavery, according to a damning new report.

Analysis published on Saturday by international human rights group Walk Free shows Saudi Arabia to have the highest level of modern slavery in the G20 richest nations.

Modern slavery is defined as living in extreme exploitation including forced labour, forced marriage, and human trafficking.

Walk Free’s G20 scorecard ranks the estimated number of people living in modern slavery compared with the population.

For every 1,000 people in Saudi Arabia, 21.3 are living in modern slavery. Turkey, Russia and India follow close behind.

The research also showed that the purchasing practices of the world’s wealthiest nations are fuelling exploitation in lower-income countries at the start of global supply chains.

Walk Free director Grace Forrest said: “The G20 accounts for over half of all people living in modern slavery and imports half a trillion dollars of products connected to modern slavery annually.

“This is appalling when you consider that the G20 represents many of the world’s most sophisticated economies, accounting for 85 per cent of global GDP. Undoubtedly, these influential countries continue to perpetuate and profit from modern slavery.”

Walk Free’s 2023 global slavery index, published earlier this year, showed nearly 50 million people were trapped in modern slavery.

The index also identified the goods most linked to modern slavery imported by the G20 were electronics, garments, palm oil, textiles, and solar panels, with the United States by far the biggest importer of such products at $169.6 billion (£136bn).

Ms Forrest said that with tens and millions of people living in modern slavery within the G20 and hundreds of billions of dollars of import-risk, modern slavery must become part of the G20’s agenda on trade and sustainable development.


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