Is slavery back? Italy is second in EU

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Slavery still exists, in a modern way, in the world and in Europe. In the general indifference there are 45.8 millions of slavers in the world, such as human trafficking victims, forced workers, victims of sexual exploitation. Italy is second in Europe, after Poland, for the number of new slaves: 129 thousand, ten times France.

Worrying it is what has been reported from the analysis by the Global Slavery Index by Walk Free Foundation: in 2016 people living in slavery conditions are  28% more than the last report, 10 millions people more than in 2014. A new research methodology permitted an investigation on about 44% of the world population. In all the countries examined (167), slavery is still an issue. Migrants are at high risk of exploitation.

New slaves

India is still the country with the largest number of slaves (18.8 millions), followed by China (3.39 millions), Pakistan (2.13 millions), Bangladesh (1.53 millions), and Uzbekistan (1.23 millions). But even in Europe the number of new slaves is quite high: over 1.243.000 people. It is a continent seen as a destination for work and sexual exploitation of men, women and children. EU citizens represent a large part of victims of human trafficking (65%) according to last Eurostat figures, especially citizens coming from Est Europe, like Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania and Slovakia.

In Europe, countries with largest proportion of slaves for number of inhabitants are Poland and Bosnia-Erzegovina (both 0,476%), Romania, Greece, Czech Republic, Bulgaria  and Serbia. With some exceptions the Northern countries register the lower percentage of slaves: Luxembourg, Irland  Northway, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Spain, UK, France e Germany (all about 0,018%).

In a global rank, North Korea is the country with largest proportion of slaves (4.37 % of the population) and its government response to the phenomenon is the weakest one. Then Uzbekistan and Cambodia follow. In the global rank Italy is the 44th for slavery. While the Netherlands government is the best in policies on modern slavery. Indeed only Netherlands and UK have a slavery monitoring system on national scale, that allows to have at least an estimation of resident population living in slavery conditions.

Modern slavery forms

Slavery causes in Europe are usually work and sexual exploitation for trade aim: While outside EU, Turkey counts an high number of forced marriages.

Migrants are at high risk of exploitation when they arrive to Europe but even during their long trip, as often documented and as reported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The missing migrant children data in Europe is dramatic, about 10 thousand, 5 thousand of them in Italy and 1 thousand in Sweden. Many of the missing children could be slavery victims, human trafficking and other kind of exploitation victims. Criminal gangs, Europol affirms, aim to sexually exploit, force into slavery and work children in factories and agriculture. «We call on governments of the top 10 economies of the world to enact laws, at least as strong as the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, with a budget and capability to ensure organisations are held to account for modern slavery in their supply chains, and to empower independent oversight. Leaders of the world’s major economies must bring the power of business to this issue, by requiring a focus on supply chain transparency» Mr Andrew Forrest, Chairman and Founder of Walk Free Foundation said.


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