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Report Finds Australia To Have More Than 40,000 Modern Slaves

The recent Global Slavery Index by the human rights group Walk Free has revealed shocking statistics with more than 40,000 modern slaves in Australia.   

After an investigation in 170 countries, Walk Free has found the number of modern slaves worldwide soaring to 50 million, surging by 10 million in just five years. 

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According to the Global Slavery Index, modern slavery exists in many forms and is known by other names, including “forced labour, forced or servile marriage, debt bondage, forced commercial sexual exploitation, and human trafficking”. 

The 10 countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery in 2021 were North Korea, Eritrea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.  

These countries with the highest modern slavery share some common political, social, and economic characteristics, including “limited protections for civil liberties and human rights”. 

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Despite Australia’s relatively low vulnerability to modern slavery compared to other countries in the Asia Pacific region and worldwide, individuals holding seasonal workers, international students, skilled temporary work, and bridging visas have experienced significant exploitation within high-risk sectors.

The most vulnerable industries include electronics, fish, garments, textiles, and solar panels, costing an estimated $17.4 billion US dollars.

The group’s funding director Grace Forrest said:

Modern slavery permeates every aspect of our society. It is woven through our clothes, lights up our electronics, and seasons our food.” 

At its core, modern slavery is a manifestation of extreme inequality. It is a mirror held to power, reflecting who in any given society has it and who does not.”  

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