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This is the first edition of the Global Slavery Index produced by the Walk Free Foundation and its partners. It is the first Index of its kind – providing an estimate, country by country, of the number of people living in modern slavery today.


About the 2013 Index

The inaugural edition of the Global Slavery Index 2013 provides a ranking of 162 countries around the world, based on a combined measure of three factors: estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, a measure of child marriage, and a measure of human trafficking in and out of a country.  The Index provides a quantitative ranking of 162 countries around the world according to the estimated prevalence of slavery, that is, the estimated percentage of enslaved people in the national population at a point in time.  The Index also provides an estimate of the size of the modern slavery problem, country by country.

The Global Slavery Index is the product of the Walk Free Foundation, in consultation with experts from international organizations, think tanks and academic institutions.  The Index is endorsed by political leaders such as Hillary Clinton, Tony Abbott, Gordon Brown, Gareth Evans and Julia Gillard; philanthropists such as Bill Gates and Mo Ibrahim; and expert humanitarians such as Muhammad Yunus, Luis C’deBaca and Louise Arbour.

We hope this Index will stimulate discussion ultimately leading to an improvement in the strength and usefulness of the Index. The Walk Free Foundation would like to begin a process of engaging with governments and ultimately supporting countries to assess their response to modern slavery and improve the effectiveness of their response.

About the progress update

The progress update examines government responses to modern slavery at home and overseas. In the fight against slavery, governments establish policies and programs that target criminals and empower those who are vulnerable. Countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are also in a position to increase and target funding towards similar, effective programs overseas.

Earlier this year, the Walk Free Foundation sent questionnaires to 167 governments contained within the 2014 Global Slavery Index. These questionnaires requested primary data from governments regarding their domestic efforts to combat modern slavery. The results from these questionnaires form the basis of the progress update and will inform the 2014 edition of the Global Slavery Index. The questionnaires also provide governments with the opportunity to directly contribute to the work of the Walk Free Foundation.

As well as implementing anti-slavery domestic policies, OECD major donor countries spend millions of dollars each year on eradicating modern slavery across the globe. How much is spent, however, and where this money goes is often unclear. For the first time, the Walk Free Foundation has conducted research to estimate exactly how much these individual countries are spending and who they are funding.

GSI 2013 Methodology

The Global Slavery Index provides a ranking, reflecting a combined weighted measure of three variables:

  1. Estimated prevalence of modern slavery in each country (accounting for 95% of the total)
  2. A measure of the level of human trafficking to and from each country (accounts for 2.5%)
  3. A measure of the level of child and early marriage in each country (accounts for 2.5%)

The data for the first variable ‘estimated prevalence’ (which accounts for the majority of the findings) were taken from 2 types of research:

  1. Secondary collection – a review of the public record, also referred to as secondary source information – published reports from governments, the investigations of non-governmental and international organizations, and journalistic reports across all media.
  2. Data from representative random sample surveys (meaning they are collected randomly and thus can reliably represent the larger population) – they yield a statistical estimate of the prevalence of modern slavery based on first-hand reports by individuals. Information gained in this way is superior to secondary sources, but is available for a limited number of countries. Because sample surveys do not exist for many countries, the Index uses representative sample data to statistically extrapolate the prevalence of slavery for select countries that have not yet had random sample surveys.

The data on the level of human trafficking in and out of a country were taken from the US Trafficking in Persons report whilst the child marriage numbers are from UNICEF.

GSI 2014 methodology

Since the release of the inaugural Index, the Walk Free Foundation has consulted with various international experts and government representatives to strengthen the methodology. As a result of these consultations, and as part of Walk Free Foundation’s continual bid to improve the Index, we have made the following innovations:

  1. Prevalence estimates will be informed by seven new surveys, implemented as part of the Gallup World Poll;
  2. The assessment of government responses will be standardised and applied to all 167 governments contained in the Index; and
  3. The risk component will be framed within an updated conceptual framework.

Read our updated methodology

Explore our framework of an effective government response

Read the findings of our expert working groups

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery takes many forms, and is known by many names: slavery, forced labour or human trafficking.

- ‘Slavery’ refers to the condition of treating another person as if they were property – something to be bought, sold, traded or even destroyed.

- ‘Forced labour’ is a related but not identical concept, referring to work taken without consent, by threats or coercion.

- ‘Human trafficking’ is another related concept, referring to the process through which people are brought, through deception, threats or coercion, into slavery, forced labour or other forms of severe exploitation.

Whatever term is used, the significant characteristic of all forms of modern slavery is that it involves one person depriving another people of their freedom: their freedom to leave one job for another, their freedom to leave one workplace for another, their freedom to control their own body.

About The Walk Free Foundation

Our mission is to end modern slavery in our generation by mobilising a global activist movement, generating the highest quality research, enlisting business and raising unprecedented levels of capital to drive change in those countries and industries bearing the greatest responsibility for modern slavery today.

The Walk Free Foundation will do this by:

  • Identifying countries and industries most responsible for modern slavery;
  • Identifying and implementing with partners the interventions in those countries and industries that will have the greatest impact on modern slavery; and
  • Critically assessing our impact.

This 21st century solution to a 21st century crisis encompasses these ambitious initiatives:

The Movement: We believe the pathway to ending modern slavery involves building public awareness and channeling this into the kind of mobilisation and campaigning required to encourage decision- makers to respond to consumer and constituent demand;

The world’s first Global Slavery Index: injects actionable empirical evidence into into discussions about modern slavery and the development of responses.  Using quantitative methods it provides the first measure of the prevalence of modern slavery in 162 countries and places these figures in the context of what governments are doing to tackle it. The annual Global Slavery Index will be critical in directing efforts to eradicate modern slavery.

The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery: aims to scale proven anti-slavery interventions in high prevalence countries. It will be a multi-stakeholder organisation that will bring together all the actors critical to solving the problem, including governments, the private sector, civil society and survivors of modern slavery. While raising unprecedented levels of capital, it will also apply a business-like empirical rigor to ensure funds are directed towards those interventions proven to deliver the greatest impact.

Business Engagement: Modern slavery will not be eradicated until business leaders ensure their supply chains are slave-free. Walk Free Foundation is working with the world’s business leaders to help them understand how they can play a role in ending modern slavery.

More information on Walk Free Foundation can be found at www.walkfreefoundation.org