60,000 in U.S. said to Live in Slave-Like Conditions

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
(graphic: CBS, AP)

The United States reportedly has 60,000 people living like slaves today, according to a new international report.


Walk Free, based out of Australia, estimates there are nearly 36 million people worldwide living in slavery currently.


A small fraction of this total can be found in the U.S., the group’s Global Slavery Index (pdf) says. It states that in 2013, “potential modern slavery cases were reported in fifty states.”


The report defines slavery as “one person possessing or controlling another person in such as a way as to significantly deprive that person of their individual liberty, with the intention of exploiting that person through their use, management, profit, transfer or disposal.”


Most of those in the U.S. reside in slave-like conditions because of prostitution or financial debts, and they can be found in many areas of society. “The report explains that slaves are forced to perform domestic work and home healthcare, they work in the food industry, as well as in construction, agriculture, nursing, factories and garment-manufacturing, among other sectors,” wrote Rick Noack at The Washington Post.


The U.S. total is quite small compared to countries like India, the nation with the highest number of slaves: 14 million.


Following India with the most slaves are China (3.2 million), Pakistan (2.1 million), Uzbekistan (1.2 million), Russia (1 million) and Nigeria (830,000).


In per capita terms, Mauritania has the highest percentage of slaves—4% of the nation’s population.


Walk Free compiled data on 167 countries to arrive at its conclusions.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Map: The World’s 36 Million Slaves (by Rick Noack, Washington Post)

The Global Slavery Index 2014 (pdf)


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