More Than 40 Million People Enslaved Worldwide, Shows New CFR InfoGuide

January 17, 2018

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January 17, 2018—Slavery is universally prohibited by national and international laws, but more than 40 million people continue to be enslaved worldwide. Fueled by a population boom and extreme poverty, modern slavery has become stunningly profitable, generating $150 billion for traffickers annually. It persists in industries such as fisheries, mines, and sex work. From the gulags of North Korea to the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, to children forced into military action in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this slavery can take the form of sexual exploitation, bonded labor, domestic servitude, or forced marriage.

President Donald J. Trump declared January 2018 to be “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.” A new InfoGuide from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) sheds light on the causes of modern slavery and how to fight it. The feature offers video interviews with victims, maps highlighting the scope of the problem, regional examples of the phenomenon, and policy options for modern abolition.

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“We sought to convey the scale of the abuses, which is shocking in this modern age, as well as the economic drivers that make it so difficult to combat,” says CFR.org Managing Editor Robert McMahon. “The guide also aims to capture the human dimension of modern slavery, especially the disproportionate number of victims who are women and children.”

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CFR’s “Modern Slavery” InfoGuide includes

  • an introductory video, maps, and graphics illustrating the global scope of modern slavery;
  • a visual overview of the different forms modern slavery takes and factors that enable its continued existence;
  • video testimonials with victims, highlighting slavery in India, North Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Thailand, Haiti, Iraq and Syria, and the United States and Europe;
  • a review of policy options that can aid modern abolition; and
  • teaching guides and further reading sections for educators.

View the InfoGuide at cfr.org/modern-slavery.

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The “Modern Slavery” InfoGuide is the ninth in an Emmy Award-winning series that also includes “Deforestation in the Amazon,” “The Time of the Kurds,” “The Eastern Congo,” “The Taliban,” “The Sunni-Shia Divide,”  “The Emerging Arctic,” “Child Marriage,” and “China’s Maritime Disputes.”

InfoGuides are made possible by generous funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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