I’ll preface this blog by saying that I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the Global Slavery Index 2014 was released recently and reports that there are close to 36 million modern day slaves in the world, roughly 0.5% of the world’s total population. Startlingly, these numbers are a significant increase to previous estimates, due to what the report calls “improved accuracy and precision of measures,” and that they are “uncovering modern slavery where it was not seen before.” The good news, though, is that information is always the first step towards taking positive action.
The report also listed which countries had the highest percentage of slaves and which had the highest numbers total. Coming in at the coveted number 1 spot in slaves per capita was the West African nation of Mauritania, with 4% of its population in bondage. Mauritania has consistently struggled to eliminate the practice of modern-day slavery, and many experts agree that those in power likely don’t want it abolished. Mauritania was the last country on the planet to abolish slavery formally in 1981 and only passed legislation laying out legal ramifications for traffickers in 2007, after giving in to international pressure.