North Korea has the highest prevalence of modern slavery in the world, with 1 out of every 10 citizens considered victims, according to estimates included in a new report.
More than 2.6 million people live under slavery in the country, the vast majority of them forced to work by the state, the 2018 Global Slavery Indexfound. The report also said that North Korea’s government had the weakest response to slavery out of all the countries surveyed, as the North Korean state itself is involved in forced labor both inside and outside the country.
The report defines modern-day slavery to include human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale and exploitation of children, as well as slavery itself.
The findings come amid ongoing negotiations between North Korea and the United States and concurrent inter-Korean talks with South Korea. These talks have focused on denuclearization and military issues rather than human rights issues such as slavery.
“There’s a strong focus on bombs and missiles, but the North Korean tragedy is much more about lost freedom through the brutal suppression of human potential,” said Andrew Forrest, founder of the Walk Free Foundation.
Under the leadership of Forrest, an Australian mining magnate turned anti-slavery campaigner, Walk Free has published the Global Slavery Index since 2013. The index aims to estimate the number of slaves in a country, rather than just count reported cases. The organization argues that the illicit and generally secret practice is more widespread than records show.
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Source: Washington Post