Georgia among Countries with Strong Response to Combating Modern Slavery

In July 19, the Walk Free Foundation released the 2018 Global Slavery Index. The report analyzes modern slavery data, looks at how governments are addressing the issue and what civil society and businesses can do to solve the challenge. The Walk Free Foundation is an organization struggling to put an end to modern slavery and human trafficking. What is modern slavery? It can be defined as forced labor, human trafficking and slavery-like practices (forced marriage, for instance).

Nowadays, slavery still exists. In 2016, 40.3 million people from all over the world were facing it. Yet, modern slavery remains invisible to most people.

First, the data reveals that 71% of modern slaves are female. Those highest at risk are also people who are physically or linguistically isolated, culturally disoriented, facing debts and do not know their rights. Thus, migrants, people without access to education, and minorities among others are more likely to be forced into slavery.

Indeed, vulnerability in many forms is connected to a higher risk to be abused. Therefore, the Walk Free Foundation relies on a “Vulnerability score” to compare countries’ risks. This score is based on the effects of conflict and terrorism, the acceptance of differences, inequality, lack of basic needs and governance issues.

Additionally, the 2018 report highlights the relationship between modern slavery and highly repressive regimes. In North Korea, one of the worst countries in terms of slavery, 1 people out of 10 is forced to work by the state.

Nicoleta, a 34 year-old survivor of forced labor and sexual exploitation testified how someone might be forced into slavery. “I came to Sicily with my husband. We needed to send money back to support our children in Romania. But the greenhouse farmer where we found work said I had to sleep with him, and if I refused, he would not pay us. My husband said it was the only way we could keep our work (…) this went on for months.”

The report points out that there are around 3.59 million slaves (of which 91% includes forced labor) in Europe and Central Asia. In Georgia, 17,000 people have been considered as suffering from slavery. The Global Slavery Index shows that the first risk in the country is the rejection of certain minority groups.

However, Georgia is moving forward in terms of responding to modern slavery. It switched from a BB grade in 2016 to a BBB grade in 2018. Georgia conducts campaigns to support victims and is among those with a strong response to combatting modern slavery, relative to GDP (Global Domestic Product).

In the region of Europe and Central Asia, however, Ukraine has one of the highest scores for vulnerability to modern slavery due to the civil war in which Russia still interferes. Yet, Russia takes no action to combat slavery and has the highest total number of victims, amounted to 794,000. Turkmenistan has the highest prevalence of modern slavery, with 11.2 victims per 1,000.

Link to the report:


By Antoine Dewaest

Photo: Walk Free Foundation


20 July 2018 13:42