According to a new report, the world’s 20 richest economies account for around half of the people worldwide living in “modern slavery”.

A report released this week by Walk Free, an international human rights group, found that countries belonging to the Group of 20 major economies have helped fuel forced labor through global supply chains and state-imposed forced labor. Between the 20 countries, they imported $468 billion worth of products likely made with forced labor, with the U.S. accounting for nearly $170 billion of that, the report said.

“At its core, modern slavery is a manifestation of extreme inequality,” Walk Free founding director Grace Forrest said in a statement. “It’s a mirror that holds power, reflecting who has it and who doesn’t in any society.” Nowhere is this paradox more present than in our global economy through transnational supply chains.”

The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union.

Imported products deemed to be “at the highest risk” of being affected by modern slavery were electronics, clothing, palm oil, solar panels and textiles.

Last year, the Walk Free Foundation, based in Australia, joined various United Nations agencies and released a report that said that by 2021, the number of people enslaved worldwide would rise to 50 million.

The ten countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery are North Korea, Eritrea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Afghanistan and Kuwait, according to the report.

Those countries have things in common, such as limited protection of human and civil rights, political instability or authoritarianism, Walk Free said.

The increase can also be attributed to climate change as more people migrate due to intense weather events, making them more vulnerable and vulnerable to exploitation, the report said.

“With 50 million people living in modern slavery today, this Global Slavery Index calls for urgent action.” Walk Free calls on governments around the world to step up their efforts to end modern slavery on their shores and in their supply chains. We know the scale of this issue and that we have the knowledge and policy needed to act. What we need now is political will.”

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

By Editor

Leave a Reply