Sydney, Oct 17 (IANS) India has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of people living in conditions of slavery -- estimated at nearly 14 million, according to an index ranking 162 countries.
The Global Slavery Index 2013 was compiled by Australian-based rights organisation Walk Free Foundation on the basis of debt bondage, forced marriage and sale or exploitation of children, human trafficking and forced labour.
African country Mauritania has the highest proportion of its total population engaged in slavery which is estimated at 4 percent.
According to the report, India, China, Pakistan and Nigeria have the highest numbers of people living in slavery-like conditions.
Nearly 30 million people around the world live in slavery-like conditions.
The index report estimated that 72.14 percent of the estimated total 29.8 million people in modern slavery are in Asia while the countries of Western Europe have the lowest number of enslavement.
The report said 3.78 percent of the total slaves live in the Americas.
While most forms of modern-day slavery are illegal all over the world, existing information suggests anti-slavery laws are rarely used and enforced.
"For most countries in this group, at least some national laws criminalising some forms of modern slavery are in force. However, low or non-existent investigations and prosecutions confirm that it is much easier to make laws than to implement them. Also there are gaps in the laws in most of these countries," the report said.
According to the 2013 US Trafficking in Persons Report, while 46,570 victims of human trafficking were officially identified in 2012, there were only 7,705 prosecutions, and 4,750 convictions recorded globally.
According to the BBC, the index has backing of various global leaders including former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former British prime minister Tony Blair.