The two shamefully apparent reasons modern slavery thrives
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Since the abolishment of slavery, the United States has made continued, if shaky, progress over the years - but there remain nearly 46 million modern-day slaves across the globe.
The bottom line is simple: slave labor and exploitation yields higher profits for slave owners and wealthier countries, most of which profit from low labor costs while ignoring the suffering overseas.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to The Global Slavery Index, an estimated 45.8 million people serve in some form of modern slavery across 167 countries.
The survey was calculated in 2016 and was "based on the proportion of the population that is estimated to be in modern slavery." Due to ongoing conflicts and "extreme disruption to government function," Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen were excluded from the Index.
In proportion to their population, Asian countries are guilty for hosting the largest number of modern slaves. North Korea takes first place followed by Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India and Qatar.
The highest "absolute numbers of people in modern slavery" are Bankgladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, most of which provide low-cost labor to produce goods purchased and used in Australia, North America, Japan and Western Europe.
The survey explained those most vulnerable to modern slavery are those "affected by a complex interaction of factors related to the presence or absence of protection and respect for rights, physical safety and security, access to the necessities of life such as food, water and health care, and patterns of migration, displacement and conflict."
Meanwhile, countries with more economic wealth, have lower levels of conflict and are "politically stable with a willingness to combat modern slavery," include Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Luxemberg, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
Though several Middle Eastern countries were excluded from the survey, there was a worldwide increase of 28 percent since the group's previous survey, indicating the steady increase of modern slavery.
Andrew Forrest, chairman of the Walk Free Foundation, a foundation attempting to end modern slavery across the globe, released a statement on Australia's responsibility to stop modern slavery: "From the food processing industry in the eastern states to the tomato growing industry in Western Australia, we have unfortunately discovered that forced labour exists in Australia. There is also forced prostitution.
"Slavery is allowed to persist in Australia because people think it doesn't happen. When we walk into a clothes shop we don't ask, 'Where did this material come from? How was [it] manufactured? Are you sure there was no forced labour in the supply chain?' These are not questions we ever ask. We succumb to indifference. All I'm asking is that consumers recognise that forced labour is a very serious issue in the supply chains of the clothes and the food they take for granted."
In the survey's foreword, Forrest wrote: "Businesses that don't actively look for forced labour within their supply chains are standing on a burning platform.
To take things a step further, Forrest announced his support for the adoption of legislation to require large companies to report how they keep forced labour out of their supply chains.
"Would I like a modern slavery act to be instituted here in Australia?" Forrest asked. "Yes, I think it's necessary. I think it would empower every chairman and chief executive [to] take the issue seriously in Australia."
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