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Challenging Heights launches ‘walk free’ global report on modern slavery

Challenging Heights, a non-governmental organization, has launched the Global Slavery Index, GSI 2023, on behalf of its partners Walk Free.

The main objective of the GSI is to eradicate all forms of modern-day slavery.

The Australian-based international human rights group is working with Challenging Heights to completely wipe out all forms of modern-day slavery. The group is the creator of the Global Slavery Index, the world’s most comprehensive data set on modern slavery. The GSI is used to push the powers that be to ensure change against these human rights abuses.

Speaking to Citi News at the launch of the report, President of the Association James Kofi Annan wants African governments to immediately move from intention to effective action when dealing with issues of modern-day slavery.

He also wants the leaders of various African countries to ensure that support services are given to survivors of modern slavery, whether they are men, women, or children. He added that agencies that are supposed to provide support must be well-equipped.

The 2023 GSI report estimates that over 50 million people lived in modern-day slavery on any given day in 2021. This represents an increase of 10 million people since 2016, and the figures cover 160 countries.

The report further revealed that out of the 50 million, 28 million people were found in forced labor, while 22 million were in forced marriages. Children formed 12 million of the total number of people found in slavery.

Africa had the fourth-highest prevalence among the five regions of the world on any given day, with an estimated 7 million adult and child slaves, representing 5.2 people for every thousand persons.

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3.1 million Africans were found to be in forced marriages, while 3.8 million people were found to be in forced labour across Africa.

The countries with the highest prevalence of modern-day slavery in Africa are Eritrea with 9% of the population, Mauritania with 3.2% of the population, and South Sudan with 1% of the population.

The prevalence rate of slavery in Ghana is 0.3%, with Mauritius recording the least with 0.2%.

Africa has the highest vulnerability to modern slavery of all regions and is home to the four most vulnerable countries.

The GSI report found that there is a 100% vulnerability in South Sudan and 98% in Somalia and the Central African Republic.

However, for Ghana, the vulnerability score hovers around 45%. Mauritius has the lowest with 20%.

The report adds that common to some of these vulnerable countries are issues such as conflict, political instability, mass displacement, poverty, and others. It also adds that the impact of COVID-19 has compounded the risk of modern slavery across the region.

According to the report, majority of African job seekers are misled by traffickers with false promises and are subjected to forced labour abroad and in the Gulf region.

“Children are exploited in their pursuit of education,” Mr. James Kofi Annan said. “He cited the confiage (trust) system in Togo, where children from rural communities are sent to cities to complete their education and live with relatives who may force them into becoming domestic servants. The same can be said in Senegal, where Talib (student seekers) children in Quranic schools are forced to beg.”


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