More than 400,000 people could be living in “modern slavery” in the US, a condition of servitude broadly defined in a new study as forced and state-imposed labor, sexual servitude and forced marriage.
The Global Slavery Index, published on Thursday by Walk Free Foundation, describes modern slavery as a complex and often hidden crime that crosses borders, sectors and jurisdictions. The US number, the study estimates, is almost one hundredth of the estimated 40.3 million global total number of people it defines as being enslaved.
“The United States is one of the most advanced countries in the world yet has more than 400,000 modern slaves working under forced labor conditions,” said the group’s founder, Andrew Forrest, in a news release.
“This is a truly staggering statistic and demonstrates just how substantial this issue is globally. This is only possible through a tolerance of exploitation,” Forrest added.
The report estimates most victims of modern slavery live in Asia. North Korea has the highest prevalence of modern slavery globally, with one in 10 of the population, or 2.6 million people, victims of modern slavery.