Report finds surprisingly high rate of slavery in developed countries

The 2018 edition of the index estimates that more than 40 million people around the world are trapped in modern slavery — including what Walk Free called a surprisingly high number in developed nations like the United States, France, Germany and others.

“Given these are also the countries taking the most action to respond to modern slavery, this does not mean these initiatives are in vain,” the survey said. “It does, however, underscore that even in countries with seemingly strong laws and systems, there are critical gaps in protections for groups such as irregular migrants, the homeless, workers in the shadow or gig economy, and certain minorities.”

In the United States, more than 400,000 people, or one in 800, are living in modern slavery, the report said. The United States is also the largest importer of what the report called “at-risk” products, or those at least partly manufactured by workers engaged in forced labor.