MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is among the world’s top 10 countries by absolute number of people held in slavery, according to a new report released Thursday.
However, the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation ranked Russia only 49th of 162 countries by prevalence of slavery because slaves account for only a small percentage of the Russian population.
Russia has an estimated 516,000 slaves in a population that the study put at 143 million, most of them migrants doing forced labor in agriculture and the construction industry, the report said.
India has the highest number of slaves, almost 14 million in a population of 1.2 billion, followed by China and Pakistan, the anti-slavery watchdog said in its inaugural study.
Mauritania ranked the worst offender for the general prevalence of slavery in society, followed by Haiti and Pakistan, the report said. Up to 20 percent of Mauritanians live in traditional, or chattel, slavery, the study said.
The post-Soviet republic of Moldova came sixth by per capita prevalence of slavery thanks to the large percentage of Moldovan labor migrants enslaved in Russia, Europe, Israel and the United States.
Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom have the lowest prevalence of slavery in the world and shared the 160th slot in the rating, the report said.
The UK has an estimated 4,400 slaves, according to the study, which put the figure in the dozens for Iceland, which has a population of 320,000.
The United States came 134rd by prevalence of slavery and and 52nd for the absolute number of slaves in the country.
The study put the total number of slaves in the world at almost 30 million. The report made its calculations utilizing a broad definition of slavery, including people subjected to debt bondage, forced marriage and human trafficking, as well as exploited children.
Walk Free Foundation was founded in 2012 by Australian tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola and is dedicated to combatting modern slavery.