JNN 18 Oct 2013 Brussels : A report by an international foundation on modern slavery has revealed that nearly 30 million people are enslaved across the globe. Around 880.000 people in the EU are slave laborers, and more than a quarter of them are being exploited sexually,
The index released by the Walk Free Foundation (WFF) on Thursday said the slaves are either trafficked into brothels, forced into manual labor, fall victims to debt bondage, or are even born into servitude.
The survey found almost half of these people are in India, where “by far the largest proportion of this problem is the exploitation of Indian citizens within India itself, particularly through debt bondage and bonded labor.”
The index also showed that aside from India, the problem is most rampant in the West African country of Mauritania, where four percent of the population is estimated to be held in slavery.
The report by the Australian-based group described Mauritania as a nation with “deeply entrenched hereditary slavery,” where “people in slavery may be bought and sold, rented out and given away as gifts.”
The report said Benin, Gambia, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Haiti and Nepal are among other countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery.
The WFF index ranked 162 countries on the number of people living in slavery, the risk of enslavement, and the strength of government action to counter the illegal activity.
Figures indicate human trafficking along with arms dealing is the second largest industry in the world after drug dealing.
Around 880.000 people in the EU are slave laborers, and more than a quarter of them are being exploited sexually, according to CRIM, a special committee for the European Parliament which investigates organized crime, money laundering and corruption in Europe.
Criminal gangs make a yearly profit of some €25 billion in human trade which results in damage to the economy of over €100 billion in the EU, according to German magazine Der Spiegel which managed to get an exclusive peek into a forthcoming report from the committee.
Based on the report, 3600 criminal organizations are active in the European Union. Besides the €25 billion in human trade, they make a €18-26 billion profit trading human organs and wild animals, while cybercrime causes €290 billion in damage.
Corruption costs the EU €120 billion per year; in the public sector alone, 20 million cases of corruption were registered, the report said.
While there’s always a risk that such reports will be used to serve primarily as a blunt tool to intensify political, legal and – increasingly cross-border – police control of Europe’s sovereign nations, it’s nevertheless also simply shocking in its findings.
The study will receive a lot more attention in the near future, especially when the European Parliament is set to discuss it on October 23. Unfortunately, given the ongoing disaster that is the EU’s handling of its financial problems – and the thousands who are left to die trying to reach Europe’s shores -, it’s hard to be overly optimistic about the way this issue will be dealt with. There is also a substantial risk the numbers might be much higher still, since Brussels based committees will tend to look only at what they can prove.