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.

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Brazil’s World Cup Underbelly

Authored by Jessica Watts.

Over 3 billion people will tune in to watch the 2014 World Cup in Brazil this month, with people from all corners of the globe revelling in the festivities of the game. But there is an ugly side to the beautiful game - modern slavery in Brazil.

The 2013 Global Slavery Index estimates there are up to 220 000 people living in modern day slavery in the country. Those in forced labour in garment factories and on plantations, children and women forced into commercial sexual exploitation and young girls trapped in houses as domestic workers. Perhaps most alarming is that research for the 2014 Index indicates this figure is a gross underestimation.

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Forced to Flee

Refugees as the emerging face of modern slavery in the Middle East

As we reflect on the plight – but also the amazing survival instincts of refugees today – World Refugee Day, we should look closely at the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region – a region responsible for calculating the globe’s highest refugee figures in 2013.

The bleak numbers represent the high human cost of a series of bloody humanitarian emergencies erupting from sectarian and civil conflicts. The Syrian crisis alone has seen almost 2.6 million refugees flee to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. According to UN data, this figure is set to rise exponentially by 2015. Continue reading


‘Trash fish’ slavery and the need for legally binding labour standards

Authored by: Fiona David and Gina Dafalia

The Guardian’s 6-month investigation into the Thai fishing industry has confirmed what human rights advocates have long known. The prawns on the plates of consumers in Europe and the US are tainted with slavery.

The Guardian’s investigation paints a horrifying picture of what life is like for migrants working on fishing vessels off Thailand.

Without legal status, working day and night on boats far out to sea where the only hope of escape is suicide, migrant workers from Myanmar and Malaysia are “bought” and “sold”, subjected to brutal working conditions including torture, and even killed.

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Media Coverage

Global slavery survey finds cleansing supply chains a problem

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation ) – Cleansing slavery from business supply chains in the public and private sectors is one of the greatest challenges countries face in combating modern-day slavery, a new survey from the Walk Free Foundation has found