High risk of modern slavery in nearly 60 percent of countries, global index finds

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Almost 46 Million People Trapped in Modern Slavery

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Almost 60 percent of countries are at high risk of using slave labor in their supply chains, according to a new global index launched on Thursday, which also ranked North Korea as having the worst record of slave labor in the world.

By assessing incidents of human trafficking or slavery, national laws, and the quality of law enforcement across 198 countries, risk analytics company Verisk Maplecroft found that 115 countries were at high or extreme risk of using slaves.

"Few countries in the world are actually immune to modern slavery," said Alex Channer, lead analyst for human rights research at Verisk Maplecroft.

Nearly 46 million people around the world are living as slaves, forced to work in factories, mines and farms, sold for sex, trapped in debt bondage or born into servitude, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by rights group Walk Free Foundation.

RELATED: Modern day slavery

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Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity, speaks during an interview in central London, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Freedom Charity helped to rescue three women from a house in south London who were held as slaves for 30 years. London's Metropolitan Police spoke about the rescues after two people were arrested early Thursday on suspicion of forced labor and domestic servitude. Those freed on Oct. 25, 2013 are a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old British woman, police said. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Police stand guard outside a block of residential flats in south London on November 24, 2013 where investigations have centred following the arrest of a man and a woman suspected of holding three women captive in a London house for 30 years. The suspects are of Indian and Tanzanian origin and two of the victims were part of a political 'collective', police said. Police carried out house-to-house enquiries on November 23, speaking to residents living near the south London address where the suspects were arrested. The exact location has not been officially revealed but the police operation centred on a modern, low-rise block of flats in Brixton. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
NEPAL - 2013/11/14: Urmila Chaudhary was only six years old when her parents sold her as Kamlari, a form of child slave, she had no proper childhood and was always the last resort in the family she lived with. At the age of six, she was forced to leave to Kathmandu, a journey of 400 km geographically, mentally, a much longer journey. She wasn't allowed to eat what the family ate, or speak when she wasn't addressed. 'They used to lock me when they went out, they gave me the old food that had gone bad; I had thoughts and feelings but they treated their dogs better than me.' Today, she is the democratically elected leader of an organisation that fights serfdom in Nepal and has spoken before the United Nations General Assembly; she is determined to abolish the formally forbidden system that still operates in secret. The Kamaiya/Kamlari issue is a form of slavery where families sell their daughters as child-slaves in exchange for loans. Ongoing issues on these human rights have been battled against for many years. As exorbitant debts were charged, many families were forced into generations slavery to to pay off these debts. It was only till many protests led to its banning in the year 2000 and the banning of Kamlari system in 2006 that saw an end to the ongoing dispute; over the last decade, 12,000 Kamlaris were freed and it is estimated that there are 500-1000 still alive in captivity as the Kamlari system still operates secretly. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEPAL - 2013/11/14: Geeta Chaudhary, 20, and her elder sister Aasha Chaudhary are ex-Kamlaris (child slaves) who now work in their own restaurant that they were able to push through with a micro-loan. The Kamaiya/Kamlari issue is a form of slavery where families sell their daughters as child-slaves in exchange for loans. Ongoing issues on these human rights have been battled against for many years. As exorbitant debts were charged, many families were forced into generations slavery to to pay off these debts. It was only till many protests led to its banning in the year 2000 and the banning of Kamlari system in 2006 that saw an end to the ongoing dispute; over the last decade, 12,000 Kamlaris were freed and it is estimated that there are 500-1000 still alive in captivity as the Kamlari system still operates secretly. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEPAL - 2013/11/14: Geeta Chaudhary, 20, is an ex-Kamlari (child slave) who now works with her elder sister Aasha Chaudhary in their restaurant that they were able to push through with a micro-loan. The Kamaiya/Kamlari issue is a form of slavery where families sell their daughters as child-slaves in exchange for loans. Ongoing issues on these human rights have been battled against for many years. As exorbitant debts were charged, many families were forced into generations slavery to to pay off these debts. It was only till many protests led to its banning in the year 2000 and the banning of Kamlari system in 2006 that saw an end to the ongoing dispute; over the last decade, 12,000 Kamlaris were freed and it is estimated that there are 500-1000 still alive in captivity as the Kamlari system still operates secretly. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEPAL - 2013/11/14: Geeta Chaudhary, 20, and her elder sister Aasha Chaudhary are ex-Kamlaris (child slaves) who now work in their own restaurant that they were able to push through with a micro-loan. The Kamaiya/Kamlari issue is a form of slavery where families sell their daughters as child-slaves in exchange for loans. Ongoing issues on these human rights have been battled against for many years. As exorbitant debts were charged, many families were forced into generations slavery to to pay off these debts. It was only till many protests led to its banning in the year 2000 and the banning of Kamlari system in 2006 that saw an end to the ongoing dispute; over the last decade, 12,000 Kamlaris were freed and it is estimated that there are 500-1000 still alive in captivity as the Kamlari system still operates secretly. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEPAL - 2013/11/14: Dil Kumari Chaudhary stands outside of her parents house - now age 21, was an ex-Kamlari (child slave) who was sold by her parents to a host family; she was freed four years ago after her parents sent a pig to compensate for revenue losses. 'When they sent me I cried so that my eyes were swollen, but I have forgiven now; they made a mistake, but they were poor.' The Kamaiya/Kamlari issue is a form of slavery where families sell their daughters as child-slaves in exchange for loans. Ongoing issues on these human rights have been battled against for many years. As exorbitant debts were charged, many families were forced into generations slavery to to pay off these debts. It was only till many protests led to its banning in the year 2000 and the banning of Kamlari system in 2006 that saw an end to the ongoing dispute; over the last decade, 12,000 Kamlaris were freed and it is estimated that there are 500-1000 still alive in captivity as the Kamlari system still operates secretly. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: People protest against labor trafficking and modern day slavery outside the United Nations on September 23, 2013 in New York City. The U.N. General Assembly convenes tomorrow, bringing politicians and business leaders from around the world to New York. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
This undated photo provided by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King’s Office shows an advertisement issued by the department. The ad is part of an ongoing effort to educate law enforcement and the public about what it says is the little-known and little understood problem of modern slavery. While many associate the term with the sex trade in Asia or cross-border trafficking, Maria Sanchez-Gagne, an assistant attorney general who oversees King's program to fight human trafficking, says most cases in New Mexico involve U.S. citizens forced into prostitution or labor. (AP Photo/New Mexico Attorney General’s Office)
This undated photo provided by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King’s Office shows an advertisement issued by the department. The ad is part of an ongoing effort to educate law enforcement and the public about what it says is the little-known and little understood problem of modern slavery. While many associate the term with the sex trade in Asia or cross-border trafficking, Maria Sanchez-Gagne, an assistant attorney general who oversees King's program to fight human trafficking, says most cases in New Mexico involve U.S. citizens forced into prostitution or labor. (AP Photo/New Mexico Attorney General’s Office)
Protesters hold a rally along a street leading to the Philippine International Convention Center, the venue for the opening ceremony of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, GFMD, which is keynoted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008 in Manila, Philippines. The protesters assailed the forum as a "modern-day slavery" and urged governments to end labor exportation and to create jobs at home instead. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Dr. Mahmoud Azab, the Special Advisor to the Dialogue of the Egyptian Grand Imam of Al Azhar, talks to journalists after signing of an agreement that aims to eradicate slavery during a press conference at the Vatican press hall, Monday, March 17, 2014. Christians and Muslims have joined to try to help free millions of men, women and children held in modern-day slavery, forced to work as maids, prostitutes, child soldiers and manual laborers. The Global Freedom Network launched Monday at the Vatican aims to eradicate slavery by encouraging governments, businesses, educational and faith institutions to rid their supply chains of slave labor. The initiative is the brainchild of Australian billionaire Forrest, who founded the Walk Free Foundation in 2012 to mobilize a grass-roots movement to end slavery. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Secretary of State John Kerry presents the 2014 Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery Award to Bhanuja Sharan Lal of India, Friday, June 20, 2014, during the release of the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Stop Sinai Torture supporters marched from Marble Arch to Old Palace Yard by the Houses of Parliament in London on UK Anti-Slavery Day & EU Anti-Trafficking Day to protest against the on-going issues of kidnapping/trafficking and torture of migrants in Sinai. Anti-slavery day falls on October 18th every year and provides an opportunity to draw attention to the scale and scope of human trafficking and other human rights issues.
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Police continue to stand guard for a second day outside a South London block of flats that is being investigated in connection with an alleged slavery case on November 24, 2013 in London, England. Police are conducting house-to-house inquiries in the area after three women, of British, Irish and Malaysian descent, were allegedly held captive as slaves in an apartment in Brixton for thirty years. (Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Detectives from CID conduct house-to-house interviews in a South London block of flats that is being investigated in connection with an alleged slavery case on November 24, 2013 in London, England. Police are investigating the area after three women, of British, Irish and Malaysian descent, were allegedly held captive as slaves in an apartment in Brixton for thirty years. (Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: A detective from CID attempts to talk with residents of a South London block of flats that is being investigated in connection with an alleged slavery case on November 24, 2013 in London, England. Police are conducting house-to-house inquiries in the area after three women, of British, Irish and Malaysian descent, were allegedly held captive as slaves in an apartment in Brixton for thirty years. (Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: A Police van blocks an access road to a block of flats in South London that are being investigated in connection with an alleged slavery case, on November 23, 2013 in London, England. Police are conducting house-to-house inquiries in the area after three women, of British, Irish and Malaysian descent, were allegedly held captive as slaves in an apartment in Brixton for thirty years. (Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Detectives from CID conduct house-to-house interviews in a South London block of flats that is being investigated in connection with an alleged slavery case on November 24, 2013 in London, England. Police are investigating the area after three women, of British, Irish and Malaysian descent, were allegedly held captive as slaves in an apartment in Brixton for thirty years. (Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: A TV journalist conducts a live broadcast outside a South London block of flats that is being investigated in connection with an alleged slavery case, on November 23, 2013 in London, England. Police are conducting house-to-house inquiries in the area after three women, of British, Irish and Malaysian descent, were allegedly held captive as slaves in an apartment in Brixton for thirty years. (Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Detectives from CID conduct house-to-house interviews in a South London block of flats that is being investigated in connection with an alleged slavery case on November 24, 2013 in London, England. Police are investigating the area after three women, of British, Irish and Malaysian descent, were allegedly held captive as slaves in an apartment in Brixton for thirty years. (Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: A street sign for Peckford Place where Police are investigating a South London block of flats in connection with an alleged slavery case, on November 23, 2013 in London, England. Police are conducting house-to-house inquiries in the area after three women, of British, Irish and Malaysian descent, were allegedly held captive as slaves in an apartment in Brixton for thirty years. (Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)
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Modern slavery has become a catch-all term to describe human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, sex trafficking, forced marriage and other slave-like exploitation.

Channer said Verisk Maplecroft's index aims to help businesses identify countries most at risk of slave labor.

The issue has received increasing attention in recent years with exposes in sectors as diverse as fishing, mining and textiles.

Last year, Britain passed an anti-slavery law requiring companies with a turnover of 36 million pounds ($47 million) or more to report what they are doing to eradicate slavery from their supply chains.

RELATED: Countries with the highest percent of population in slavery

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Countries with highest percent of population in slavery
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Countries with highest percent of population in slavery

T-6. Central African Republic

Population: 4,900,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 55,400

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo by Tony Wheeler via Getty Images)

T-6. Libya

Population: 6,278,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 70,900

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo via Getty Images)

T-6. Somalia

Population: 10,787,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 121,900

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo via Getty Images)

T-6. South Sudan

Population: 12,340,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 139,400

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo by Figula Photography via Getty Images)

T-6. Syria

Population: 22,769,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 257,300

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo by Andrew Pistolesi via Getty Images)

T-6. Yemen

Population: 26,832,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 303,200

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo by Mohannad Khatib via Getty Images)

T-6. Afghanistan

Population: 32,527,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 367,600

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo via Getty Images)

T-6. Iraq

Population: 35,730,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 403,800

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo by Michael Runkel via Getty Images)

T-6. Sudan

Population: 40,235,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 454,700

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl via Getty Images)

T-6. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Population: 77,267,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 873,100

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo by Roger de la Harpe via Getty Images)

T-6. Pakistan

Population: 188,925,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 2,134,900

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.130

(Photo by Paul Williams via Getty Images)

5. Qatar

Population: 2,235,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 30,300

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.356

(Photo by Allan Baxter via Getty Images)

4. India

Population: 1,311,051,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 18,354,700

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.4000

(Photo by David Freund via Getty Images)

3. Cambodia

Population: 15,578,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 256,800

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 1.648

(Photo via Getty Images)

2. Uzbekistan

Population: 31,125,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 1,236,600

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 3.973

(Photo by Rosmarie Wirz via Getty Images)

1. North Korea

Population: 25,155,000
Estimated number in modern slavery: 1,100,000

Estimated percent in modern slavery: 4.373

(Photo by Berthold Trenkel via Getty Images)

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After North Korea, the report ranked South Sudan, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of the world's largest producer of cobalt which is used in electronics, as countries with the most slave labor.

Heavyweight exporters India and China had an 'extreme risk' of using slaves in their supply chains, along with DRC and Ivory Coast, a leading cocoa bean producer, the report said.

The European Union had a 'medium risk' of using slaves, while Britain, Germany, Denmark and Finland were the only four major European economies that had a low risk of slave labor.

"In general, most countries have moderate to excellent legal framework. But where they vary is how effective they are at actually implementing those laws," said Channer.

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