Region Highlights

With 51 countries and 16 percent of the world’s population, Africa is enormously diverse in terms of history, development, people, culture, and religion. This regional study summarises a longer set of findings that can be found in the Global Slavery Index: Africa Report. 

Prevalence within Africa

On any given day in 2016, an estimated 9.2 million men, women, and children were living in modern slavery in Africa. The region has the highest rate of prevalence, with 7.6 people living in modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the region.

When considering the forms of modern slavery, the rate of forced marriage (4.8 victims per 1,000 people in the region) was higher than the rate of forced labour (2.8 victims per 1,000 people in the region).

Over half of all victims of forced labour exploitation (54 percent) were held in debt bondage, with similar proportions of men and women in the region trapped through debt. An estimated 400,000 people in the region were victims of forced sexual exploitation, accounting for eight percent of all victims of forced sexual exploitation and commercial sexual exploitation of children worldwide.

Within the region, Eritrea, Burundi, and Central African Republic were the countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery; however, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the highest absolute number and accounted for over one-quarter (26.3 percent) of all victims in the region.

These regional figures, while important, should be interpreted cautiously given the gaps and limitations of data in certain countries. For example, it is not possible to survey in countries that are experiencing profound and current conflict, such as Libya, South Sudan, and parts of Nigeria. The lack of data from countries experiencing conflict means that modern slavery estimates in these countries are likely to understate the problem.1

Table 1Estimated prevalence of modern slavery by country, Africa
Regional
Country
Estimated prevalence (victims per 1,000 population)
Estimated absolute number of victims
Population
1Eritrea93.0451,0004,847,000
2Burundi40.0408,00010,199,000
3Central African Republic22.3101,0004,546,000
4Mauritania21.490,0004,182,000
5South Sudan20.5243,00011,882,000
6Somalia15.5216,00013,908,000
7Congo, Democratic Republic of the13.71,045,00076,197,000
8Sudan12.0465,00038,648,000
9Chad12.0168,00014,009,000
10Rwanda11.6134,00011,630,000
11Swaziland8.812,0001,319,000
12Congo8.040,0004,996,000
13Guinea7.894,00012,092,000
14Libya7.748,0006,235,000
15Nigeria7.71,386,000181,182,000
16Uganda7.6304,00040,145,000
17Madagascar7.5182,00024,234,000
18Malawi7.5131,00017,574,000
19Guinea-Bissau7.513,0001,771,000
20Liberia7.433,0004,500,000
21Angola7.2199,00027,859,000
22Djibouti7.17,000927,000
23Kenya6.9328,00047,236,000
24Cameroon6.9157,00022,835,000
25Togo6.850,0007,417,000
26Niger6.7133,00019,897,000
27Zimbabwe6.7105,00015,777,000
28Equatorial Guinea6.47,0001,175,000
29Tanzania, United Republic of6.2336,00053,880,000
30Ethiopia6.1614,00099,873,000
31Côte d'Ivoire5.9137,00023,108,000
32Gambia5.811,0001,978,000
33Zambia5.792,00016,101,000
34Egypt5.5518,00093,778,000
35Benin5.558,00010,576,000
36Mozambique5.4152,00028,011,000
37Sierra Leone5.036,0007,237,000
38Ghana4.8133,00027,583,000
39Gabon4.89,0001,930,000
40Burkina Faso4.582,00018,111,000
41Lesotho4.29,0002,175,000
42Cape Verde4.12,000533,000
43Mali3.662,00017,468,000
44Botswana3.48,0002,209,000
45Namibia3.38,0002,426,000
46Senegal2.943,00014,977,000
47South Africa2.8155,00055,291,000
48Algeria2.7106,00039,872,000
49Morocco2.485,00034,803,000
50Tunisia2.225,00011,274,000
51Mauritius1.01,0001,259,000

Vulnerability within Africa

Figure 1Regional average vulnerability scores by dimension, Africa
Regional average vulnerability scores by dimension, Africa

The prevalence estimates are consistent with findings from the vulnerability measures, which suggest the Africa region had the highest average vulnerability score (62 percent). The Africa region performed relatively poorly on the governance issues, lack of basic needs, and disenfranchised groups dimensions of the vulnerability model (Figure 1). These rankings reflect the challenges that continue to plague certain countries in this region in terms of resource allocation, effective governance, and acceptance of minority groups. The Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo had the highest levels of vulnerability, while Mauritius and Tunisia had the lowest levels of vulnerability in the region.

Table 2Estimated vulnerability to modern slavery by country, Africa
Country Name
Governance issues
Lack of basic needs
Inequality
Disenfranchised groups
Effects of conflict
Overall weighted average
Central African Republic85.450.262.758.081.6100.0
South Sudan75.751.162.956.185.794.7
Congo, Democratic Republic of77.250.855.646.586.791.7
Somalia80.656.849.622.788.489.5
Sudan80.746.642.437.087.487.1
Chad71.843.248.546.546.174.9
Nigeria54.141.350.247.195.574.1
Libya81.423.049.628.163.173.1
Burundi72.442.642.148.141.772.9
Kenya55.148.749.644.566.870.6
Guinea-Bissau77.840.147.644.117.170.5
Cameroon65.936.546.246.353.969.6
Eritrea71.050.633.748.125.969.6
Congo75.137.648.546.119.669.2
Zimbabwe66.345.536.653.025.366.4
Guinea68.332.454.746.428.666.3
Niger61.941.237.045.050.465.6
Swaziland69.950.039.438.811.764.8
Ethiopia62.447.527.334.655.364.5
Malawi55.451.540.961.519.163.4
Angola60.243.448.248.519.862.3
Mauritania67.333.739.350.522.362.0
Madagascar54.446.851.056.817.362.0
Rwanda56.640.840.055.734.061.7
Equatorial Guinea68.440.836.748.510.161.7
Togo70.031.545.342.317.161.3
Djibouti66.838.033.948.121.361.2
Uganda52.848.338.250.335.360.8
Tanzania, United Republic of55.547.334.952.729.160.5
Egypt61.618.444.252.851.160.4
Liberia55.044.044.154.918.259.3
Gambia66.828.141.844.120.858.4
Lesotho53.850.744.641.918.658.3
Côte d'Ivoire59.530.141.737.540.957.2
Mozambique48.648.340.548.130.057.0
Mali55.324.435.535.966.355.9
Zambia45.854.444.949.113.155.2
Sierra Leone50.946.141.248.118.155.2
South Africa46.738.361.036.926.953.8
Burkina Faso58.431.640.335.226.253.1
Ghana52.629.142.053.721.652.2
Algeria63.217.927.837.043.652.0
Gabon56.527.136.647.512.449.1
Morocco60.718.838.135.722.048.3
Namibia44.638.455.938.810.448.1
Senegal43.934.835.641.030.946.2
Benin51.128.839.935.315.845.0
Cape Verde48.719.744.144.122.144.5
Botswana43.337.937.337.69.742.1
Tunisia47.215.434.831.933.739.2
Mauritius25.517.733.631.112.221.2

Government responses within Africa

While the Africa region has the lowest average regional government response score, with a CC rating, there have been significant improvements in specific countries and a trend to strengthen modern slavery legislation. Six countries have passed strengthened trafficking legislation since 2016, most recently in Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco. There are also multiple regional bodies in Africa that have been proactive in responding to modern slavery, which points to increasing opportunities to hold governments to account. Despite this, limited resources and ongoing conflict continue to hinder more comprehensive responses to modern slavery in the Africa region.

Table 3Movements in government response rating for Africa 2016 to 2018
Country2016 RatingChange in rating2018 Rating

South Africa

B

B

Senegal

B

B

Sierra Leone

B

B

Nigeria

B

B

Tunisia

CCC

B

Cote d'Ivoire

CCC

B

Uganda

B

B

Mozambique

B

B

Egypt

CCC

B

Lesotho

CCC

CCC

Benin

B

CCC

Morocco

CC

CCC

Kenya

CC

CCC

Algeria

CC

CCC

Ethiopia

CCC

CCC

Burkina Faso

CCC

CCC

Djibouti

CCC

CCC

Mauritius

CCC

CCC

Gambia

CCC

CCC

Rwanda

CCC

CCC

Namibia

CCC

CCC

Botswana

CC

CCC

Tanzania

CC

CCC

Madagascar

CC

CCC

Zambia

CCC

CCC

Liberia

CCC

CCC

Mali

CC

CCC

Angola

CC

CC

Swaziland

CCC

CC

Ghana

CC

CC

Malawi

CC

CC

Niger

CC

CC

Cameroon

CCC

CC

Gabon

CC

CC

Togo

C

CC

Cape Verde

C

CC

Guinea

C

C

Zimbabwe

CC

C

Congo, Democratic Republic of

C

C

Guinea-Bissau

CC

C

Chad

CC

C

Somalia**



C

Mauritania

CC

C

Sudan

CC

C

Congo

CC

C

Burundi

CC

C

Equatorial Guinea

D

D

Central African Republic

C

D

Eritrea

D

D

Libya**



D

Seychelles***




*Countries that scored -1 on a negative indicator could not score above a BBB rating
**Not rated in 2016 Global Slavery Index
***Included for the first time in 2018, therefore a rating is not provided. All data are available via the Global Slavery Index website

Table 4Government response rating, milestone percentage, and total score by country, Africa
Rating
Country
Support survivors
Criminal justice
Coordination
Address risk
Supply chains
TOTAL
BSouth Africa53.761.743.857.10.047.4
BSenegal49.643.956.354.80.047.1
BSierra Leone53.737.850.054.80.046.2
BNigeria58.953.350.047.60.045.8
BTunisia53.031.743.857.10.044.3
BCôte d'Ivoire34.436.743.866.78.342.4
BUganda48.151.737.554.80.042.0
BMozambique57.649.431.342.90.040.7
BEgypt37.630.662.564.30.040.1
CCCLesotho35.937.256.342.90.038.3
CCCBenin30.631.756.352.40.037.7
CCCMorocco6.556.731.371.40.036.5
CCCKenya35.738.937.559.50.036.5
CCCAlgeria29.447.237.545.20.036.3
CCCEthiopia27.851.156.347.60.036.3
CCCBurkina Faso38.130.043.842.90.035.7
CCCDjibouti30.442.831.347.60.035.3
CCCMauritius43.738.90.050.00.034.9
CCCGambia25.048.337.540.50.033.9
CCCRwanda36.941.743.854.80.033.6
CCCNamibia34.127.818.854.80.033.3
CCCBotswana32.245.637.545.20.033.2
CCCTanzania, United Republic of37.241.725.047.60.032.8
CCCMadagascar38.752.818.850.00.031.8
CCCZambia33.334.425.040.50.031.8
CCCLiberia28.026.731.350.00.031.7
CCCMali38.935.650.028.60.030.8
CCAngola31.513.943.854.80.029.5
CCSwaziland36.318.337.547.60.029.3
CCGhana24.833.337.540.58.327.6
CCMalawi33.123.943.833.30.026.8
CCNiger29.135.625.035.70.025.9
CCCameroon26.724.418.850.00.025.4
CCGabon27.811.731.333.30.024.2
CCTogo28.721.131.321.40.023.6
CCCape Verde23.516.125.033.30.022.9
CGuinea8.710.637.550.00.019.3
CZimbabwe11.717.243.835.70.019.0
CCongo, Democratic Republic of the25.924.437.514.30.018.9
CGuinea-Bissau7.431.131.321.40.018.9
CChad16.713.912.540.50.016.7
CSomalia8.120.625.035.70.016.0
CMauritania6.525.018.835.70.015.5
CSudan2.826.725.033.30.014.9
CCongo8.36.725.042.90.014.8
CBurundi22.211.112.526.20.010.7
DEquatorial Guinea3.712.212.526.20.08.6
DCentral African Republic-3.70.612.521.40.02.5
DEritrea0.0-1.10.021.40.0-2.0
DLibya0.021.70.00.00.0-2.5
No ratingSeychelles2





Footnotes

1International Labour Organization (ILO) & Walk Free Foundation 2017, Methodology of the global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage, ILO, p. 78. Available from: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---ipec/documents/publication/wcms_586127.pdf. [31 January 2018].
2Seychelles was included in our assessment of government responses in 2018, however as this was the first year we collected data for this country we did not include its rating in the GSI. Data collected can be found in the database at https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/data/.