We think of slavery as a practice of the past, something that happened in Roman colonies or on 18th-century American plantations, but the enslavement of human beings as property still exists. There are 29.8 million people living as slaves right now, according to a comprehensive new report issued by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation.
This is not some softened, by-modern-standards definition of slavery. These 30 million people are living as forced laborers, forced prostitutes, child soldiers, child brides in forced marriages and, in all ways that matter, as pieces of property, chattel in the servitude of absolute ownership. Walk Free investigated 162 countries and found slaves in every single one. But the practice is far worse in some countries than others.
The country where you are most likely to be enslaved is Mauritania. Although this vast West African nation has tried three times to outlaw slavery within its borders, it remains so common that it is nearly normal. The Walk Free report estimates that 4 percent of the people in Mauritania are enslaved — that’s one in 25. (The aid group SOS Slavery, using a broader definition of slavery, estimated several years ago that as many as 20 percent of Mauritanians might be enslaved.)… MORE