Global Slavery Index

The Global Slavery Index is an annual study of world-wide slavery conditions by country published by the Walk Free Foundation (founded by Andrew Forrest). In 2016, the study estimated a total of 45.8 million people to be in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries.[1]

The report includes three data points for each country: national estimates of the prevalence of modern slavery, vulnerability measures and an assessment of the strength of government responses.[2]

The 2014 Index includes country studies with policy recommendations for many countries including: Taiwan, Australia, Pakistan, India, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, Qatar, and others.

The Global Slavery Index has been subject to controversy and criticism.[3]


The 2014 Global Slavery Index includes data on three key variables: the prevalence of modern slavery in each country, vulnerability, and government responses to modern slavery. The methodology is written up in detail in a methodology paper.

The first of these factors, the prevalence estimates, were derived using a statistical process known as extrapolation. In 2015, Joudo Larsen, Bales and Datta published an article that describes the extrapolation process, and provides a test of it. Writing in Significance, the magazine of the UK Royal Statistics Society, Joudo Larson et al. note that the estimates in the 2014 Global Slavery Index involved several steps:

  • Clustering: countries were grouped into seven clusters, based on their degree of similarity for factors relevant to vulnerability of enslavement. The data on vulnerability included variables on five dimensions: state stability, social discrimination, presence or absence of human rights protections, economic and social development, and presence of governmental slavery policy. The groups were chosen by a K-means clustering algorithm.
  • Extrapolation: survey data on the prevalence of slavery (expressed as a percentage of the population) that was available for each cluster was then used to estimate the prevalence for other countries within that same cluster. A slightly different method was followed for 'cluster 1', which involved mostly European and highly developed countries. This is discussed further below and in the article by Bales and Datta.[4]
  • National-level adjustments were done by hand on a country-by-country basis, reflecting considerations such as geography.

This resulted in a prevalence estimate for each country, calculated as a proportion of the total population that was enslaved within that country. For all 167 countries this produced a total global estimate in 2014 of 35.8 million enslaved people.

Writing in 2015, Larsen et al. note that newer 2015 survey estimates now allow a comparative test of some of the 2014 extrapolated estimates. This is important for checking the validity of the earlier results and the continued application and use of this methodology. The comparisons suggest that extrapolation, while not perfect, is a useful and valid method. All but one of the extrapolated estimates of the prevalence of slavery fell within one percentage point of the estimates derived from random sample surveys.[5]

In their article "Slavery in Europe: Part 1, Estimating the Dark Figure", Monti Datta and Kevin Bales demonstrate the statistical techniques applied to the estimation of the dark figure of the prevalence of modern slavery across Europe.[4] These same techniques are applied to a dataset that includes random survey sampling (where possible), secondary source estimates, a process of extrapolation, and a country-level adjustment to determine the prevalence of people in modern slavery around the world in the Global Slavery Index.[6]

Controversy and criticism

According to researchers Andrew Guth, Robyn Anderson, Kasey Kinnard and Hang Tran, they find the Index's methods reveal weaknesses and they raise questions about its replicability and validity. They have stated that the publicity given to the Index is leading to the use of its data can lead to inaccurate policy formulation and methods used in the Index are inadequate.[7]

Some countries, for which no data were available, were given the same rate as countries that were judged to be similar. For example, prevalence rates for Britain were applied to Ireland and Iceland, and those for America to several western European nations, including Germany. This form of extrapolation has attracted some criticism.[8]

Scholar Anne Gallagher said the Global Slavery Index is based on flawed data. Gallagher writes "the basic unit of measurement of “modern slavery” is flawed: the definition is self-created and, bizarrely, changes from one year to the next."[9]

Alexis A. Aronowitz called the Index to be "terribly flawed" and points out that:

"The index is based on mix of sources: population surveys in a few countries; fuzzy estimates by governmental agencies or NGOs; stories in the media; and local experts. For nations lacking any such source, the index creators engage in an "extrapolation" exercise -- they simply apply an estimate from on nation to "similar" nations lacking such estimates."[10]

Global Slavery Index 2014

Global Slavery Index 2014 table[11][12]
  Vulnerability data Prevalence data
Rank Country Region Slavery policy Human rights Development State stability Discrimination Mean Pop. in slavery % Pop. in slavery n Population
1 MauritaniaSub-Saharan Africa92.975.376.862.767.672.24.0000155,6003,889,880
2 UzbekistanCentral Asia54.091.839.062.838.656.53.97291,201,40030,241,100
3 HaitiAmericas68.267.081.364.375.071.92.3041237,70010,317,461
4 QatarMiddle East and North Africa50.582.328.,4002,168,673
5 IndiaAsia Pacific27.5058.954.056.538.356.71.1414,285,7001,252,139,596
6 PakistanAsia Pacific85.979.260.468.960.069.51.13002,058,200182,142,594
7 Democratic Republic of the CongoSub-Saharan Africa78.878.083.980.764.379.31.1300762,90067,513,677
8 SudanSub-Saharan Africa78.8100.079.779.859.982.61.1300429,00037,964,306
9 SyriaMiddle East and North Africa100.0100.055.374.754.176.91.1300258,20022,845,550
10 Central African RepublicSub-Saharan Africa92.983.582.377.,2004,616,417
11 Republic of the CongoSub-Saharan Africa64.650.569.657.369.461.71.106149,2004,447,632
12 United Arab EmiratesMiddle East and North Africa39.985.034.434.140.646.81.057298,8009,346,129
13 IraqMiddle East and North Africa71.791.861.377.,90033,417,476
14 CambodiaAsia Pacific75.358.854.865.363.662.91.0292155,80015,135,169
15 MoldovaEurope4.558.040.152.653.641.80.936233,3003,559,000
16 MongoliaAsia Pacific64.628.535.742.544.944.00.906825,7002,839,073
17 NamibiaSub-Saharan Africa78.823.049.635.772.551.20.906820,9002,303,315
18 BotswanaSub-Saharan Africa85.935.550.229.653.651.80.906818,3002,021,144
19 SurinameAmericas47.023.053.335.763.445.20.90684,900539,276
20   NepalAsia Pacific61.161.764.950.730.153.20.8227228,70027,797,457
21 GhanaSub-Saharan Africa71.725.967.946.263.554.40.7456193,10025,904,598
22 MozambiqueSub-Saharan Africa54.044.977.855.541.055.50.7456192,60025,833,752
23 NigerSub-Saharan Africa61.147.886.955.,90017,831,270
24 Burkina FasoSub-Saharan Africa54.038.883.758.942.855.80.7456126,30016,934,839
25 MalawiSub-Saharan Africa64.643.589.141.657.958.60.7456122,00016,362,567
26 ZambiaSub-Saharan Africa61.151.171.448.567.758.90.7456108,40014,538,640
27 SenegalSub-Saharan Africa43.438.176.454.355.755.70.7456105,40014,133,280
28 BeninSub-Saharan Africa61.136.780.351.,00010,323,474
29 TogoSub-Saharan Africa68.250.576.960.448.160.10.745650,8006,816,982
30 LiberiaSub-Saharan Africa78.835.981.653.752.059.70.745632,0004,294,077
31 LesothoSub-Saharan Africa82.334.070.446.,5002,074,465
32 RussiaEurasia54.089.929.767.047.556.20.73151,049,700143,499,861
33 TanzaniaSub-Saharan Africa54.062.981.654.967.564.20.7114350,40049,253,126
34 Ivory CoastSub-Saharan Africa57.665.678.567.655.765.00.7114144,50020,316,086
35 MaliSub-Saharan Africa92.941.781.464.545.764.00.7114108,90015,301,650
36 ChadSub-Saharan Africa75.360.786.474.164.973.70.711491,20012,825,314
37 RwandaSub-Saharan Africa75.371.270.245.954.163.50.711483,80011,776,522
38 GuineaSub-Saharan Africa71.764.382.469.761.570.00.711483,60011,745,189
39 South SudanSub-Saharan Africa82.353.378.572.557.366.70.711480,40011,296,173
40 BurundiSub-Saharan Africa78.855.281.966.441.766.30.711472,30010,162,532
41 Sierra LeoneSub-Saharan Africa68.,3006,092,075
42 GambiaSub-Saharan Africa57.653.382.560.658.862.50.711413,2001,849,285
43 DjiboutiSub-Saharan Africa68.275.372.556.152.765.70.71146,200872,932
44 ThailandAsia Pacific57.660.040.044.658.651.50.7093475,30067,010,502
45 OmanMiddle East and North Africa68.,8003,632,444
46 KuwaitMiddle East and North Africa89.469.934.336.878.261.80.709323,9003,368,572
47 BahrainMiddle East and North Africa78.886.927.437.256.558.20.70939,4001,332,171
48 BruneiAsia Pacific43.486.736.630.367.051.40.70933,000417,784
49 Cape VerdeSub-Saharan Africa50.59.343.633.661.441.30.63683,200498,897
50 SwazilandSub-Saharan Africa64.669.555.255.873.265.00.53596,7001,249,514
51 Guinea-BissauSub-Saharan Africa92.950.582.672.,5001,704,255
52 NigeriaSub-Saharan Africa50.572.758.568.471.063.60.4805834,200173,615,345
53 EgyptMiddle East and North Africa50.582.142.949.977.260.60.4800393,80082,056,378
54 AlgeriaMiddle East and North Africa89.492.,20039,208,194
55 MoroccoMiddle East and North Africa85.968.943.946.650.960.00.4800158,40033,008,150
56 MalaysiaAsia Pacific78.877.435.630.471.558.10.4800142,60029,716,965
57 JordanMiddle East and North Africa61.185.948.637.562.460.70.480031,0006,459,000
58 LebanonMiddle East and North Africa68.264.838.262.578.462.50.480021,4004,467,390
59 BangladeshAsia Pacific75.362.067.358.630.057.30.4348680,900156,594,962
60 IranMiddle East and North Africa96.592.841.058.168.471.40.4348336,70077,447,168
61 MyanmarAsia Pacific68.291.871.861.864.572.30.4348231,60053,259,018
62 AfghanistanAsia Pacific78.869.891.979.354.475.10.4348132,80030,551,674
63 North KoreaAsia Pacific85.9100.059.875.158.875.20.4348108,20024,895,480
64 YemenMiddle East and North Africa89.494.564.669.784.480.60.4348106,10024,407,381
65 AngolaSub-Saharan Africa71.775.363.461.454.465.30.434893,40021,471,618
66 ZimbabweSub-Saharan Africa85.991.863.970.953.573.50.434861,50014,149,648
67 SomaliaSub-Saharan Africa85.9100.092.885.5100.094.90.434845,60010,495,583
68 EritreaSub-Saharan Africa92.9100.086.355.983.583.80.434827,5006,333,135
69 LibyaMiddle East and North Africa89.488.,0006,201,521
70 Equatorial GuineaSub-Saharan Africa92.983.553.762.858.869.60.43483,300757,014
71 EthiopiaSub-Saharan Africa36.492.682.752.753.862.30.4141389,70094,100,756
72 GuyanaAmericas71.739.968.449.867.557.30.38703,100799,613
73 BulgariaEurope22.242.430.947.934.135.50.379727,6007,265,115
74 Czech RepublicEurope8.127.928.717.737.624.00.360037,90010,521,468
75 HungaryEurope54.030.833.822.132.435.30.360035,6009,897,247
76 SerbiaEurope25.845.434.,8007,163,976
77 SlovakiaEurope11.628.531.239.333.428.80.360019,5005,414,095
78 GeorgiaEurasia57.671.937.045.946.851.10.360016,1004,476,900
79 CroatiaEurope43.433.830.830.337.033.70.360015,3004,252,700
80 Bosnia and HerzegovinaEurope29.357.234.946.453.845.70.360013,8003,829,307
81 ArmeniaEurasia4.563.735.751.654.842.10.360010,7002,976,566
82 LithuaniaEurope47.036.424.527.144.335.20.360010,6002,956,121
83 AlbaniaEurope47.043.636.057.055.346.30.360010,0002,773,620
84 MacedoniaEurope25.841.733.754.946.039.70.36007,6002,107,158
85 SloveniaEurope4.515.129.616.134.820.70.36007,4002,060,484
86 EstoniaEurope50.513.228.124.643.530.60.36004,8001,324,612
87 CyprusEurasia25.827.729.020.746.029.80.36004,1001,141,166
88 MontenegroEurope36.438.830.349.549.040.80.36002,200621,383
89 VietnamAsia Pacific47.091.845.149.441.754.30.3592322,20089,708,900
90 UgandaSub-Saharan Africa39.972.472.451.254.456.70.3592135,00037,578,876
91 CameroonSub-Saharan Africa32.871.674.659.757.058.40.359279,90022,253,959
92 Sri LankaAsia Pacific64.669.747.158.934.255.70.359273,60020,483,000
93 KazakhstanEurasia36.475.834.057.838.049.10.359261,20017,037,508
94 AzerbaijanEurasia43.485.236.759.543.353.70.359233,8009,416,598
95 TajikistanCentral Asia39.978.,5008,207,834
96 LaosAsia Pacific61.197.361.549.850.062.60.359224,3006,769,727
97 KyrgyzstanCentral Asia68.264.345.357.,5005,719,500
98 TurkmenistanCentral Asia64.6100.045.064.746.364.80.359218,8005,240,072
99 Timor-LesteAsia Pacific71.723.060.558.,0001,178,252
100 TunisiaMiddle East and North Africa64.645.040.848.353.952.00.306333,30010,886,500
101 Saudi ArabiaMiddle East and North Africa82.391.836.049.572.265.90.291984,20028,828,870
102 IndonesiaAsia Pacific47.070.051.949.656.053.70.2858714,100249,865,631
103 PhilippinesAsia Pacific36.441.445.652.559.447.10.2655261,20098,393,574
104 MauritiusSub-Saharan Africa68.230.838.921.442.339.00.25413,3001,296,303
105 TurkeyEurasia50.563.739.644.262.950.90.2476185,50074,932,641
106 UkraineEurope57.646.038.961.,60045,489,600
107 KosovoEurope22.245.036.348.456.340.90.24764,5001,824,000
108 GabonSub-Saharan Africa50.545.649.846.463.850.50.24764,1001,671,711
109 ChinaAsia Pacific57.691.942.246.253.359.00.23883,241,4001,357,380,000
110 Papua New GuineaAsia Pacific89.428.565.948.289.365.00.230016,8007,321,262
111 MexicoAmericas39.940.939.060.242.745.20.2182266,900122,332,399
112 ColombiaAmericas43.443.338.757.949.245.80.2182105,40048,321,405
113 PeruAmericas43.446.235.648.953.145.40.218266,30030,375,603
114 EcuadorAmericas39.949.632.257.734.742.10.218234,30015,737,878
115 GuatemalaAmericas32.844.644.166.858.851.70.218233,80015,468,203
116 BoliviaAmericas54.042.353.460.548.349.50.218223,30010,671,200
117 HondurasAmericas54.053.858.075.664.461.10.218217,7008,097,688
118 ParaguayAmericas43.436.543.361.553.946.30.218214,8006,802,295
119 El SalvadorAmericas32.832.644.961.453.542.90.218213,8006,340,454
120 NicaraguaAmericas8.159.660.959.741.245.90.218213,3006,080,478
121 ChileAmericas36.420.031.723.645.731.50.209536,90017,619,708
122 Costa RicaAmericas54.022.534.639.124.534.20.209510,2004,872,166
123 PanamaAmericas68.228.035.646.842.642.10.20958,1003,864,170
124 UruguayAmericas57.614.631.333.626.831.40.20957,1003,407,062
125 VenezuelaAmericas43.476.438.373.735.052.70.200260,90030,405,207
126 South AfricaSub-Saharan Africa43.424.838.246.955.643.30.2001106,00052,981,991
127 JapanAsia Pacific61.117.623.411.440.029.90.1865237,500127,338,621
128 South KoreaAsia Pacific22.239.230.830.536.030.30.186593,70050,219,669
129 ArgentinaAmericas25.830.730.346.521.329.50.186577,30041,446,246
130 PolandEurope1.021.727.,90038,530,725
131 Hong KongAsia Pacific64.63.521.110.925.225.00.186513,4007,187,500
132 Dominican RepublicAmericas47.054.341.260.559.351.70.175418,20010,403,761
133 Trinidad and TobagoAmericas64.627.736.241.536.842.80.16902,3001,341,151
134 JamaicaAmericas36.423.954.954.549.741.70.15484,2002,715,000
135 BarbadosAmericas57.617.542.323.142.338.50.1488400284,644
136 KenyaSub-Saharan Africa78.868.554.467.356.063.60.146464,90044,353,691
137 MadagascarSub-Saharan Africa64.664.879.859.,40022,924,851
138 BelarusEurope64.697.336.454.534.756.80.121511,5009,466,000
139 RomaniaEurope25.850.134.842.840.638.10.113222,60019,963,581
140 LatviaEurope43.434.830.038.845.137.70.11322,3002,013,385
141 SingaporeAsia Pacific22.251.928.216.859.435.10.09985,4005,399,200
142 IsraelMiddle East and North Africa29.343.928.732.058.437.80.08066,5008,059,400
143 BrazilAmericas22.228.033.350.242.534.60.0775155,300200,361,925
144 CubaAmericas68.297.351.644.,10011,265,629
145 United StatesAmericas8.117.922.226.125.419.90.019060,100316,128,839
146 ItalyEurope32.821.924.038.131.329.60.019011,40059,831,093
147 GermanyEurope11.624.725.114.412.217.60.013010,50080,621,788
148 FranceEurope25.825.828.021.023.922.80.01308,60066,028,467
149 United KingdomEurope8.110.317.118.417.615.10.01308,30064,097,085
150 SpainEurope15.127.922.822.617.622.70.01306,10046,647,421
151 CanadaAmericas8.116.825.411.219.715.50.01304,60035,158,304
152 TaiwanAsia Pacific11.628.417.127.728.922.70.01303,00023,340,000
153 AustraliaAsia Pacific11.62.924.813.515.111.50.01303,00023,130,900
154 NetherlandsEurope11.,20016,804,224
155 BelgiumEurope4.518.126.814.915.916.00.01301,50011,195,138
156 GreeceEurope36.449.830.243.350.941.40.01301,40011,032,328
157 PortugalEurope18.713.,40010,459,806
158 SwedenEurope8.115.726.510.110.913.50.01301,2009,592,552
159 AustriaEurope4.517.323.914.414.414.90.01301,1008,473,786
160  SwitzerlandEurope32.823.321.110.625.522.00.01301,1008,081,482
161 DenmarkEurope43.416.825.,613,706
162 FinlandEurope4.522.226.28.914.416.00.01307005,439,407
163 NorwayEurope11.616.,084,190
164 New ZealandAsia Pacific15.18.626.66.66.812.70.01306004,470,800
165 LuxembourgEurope32.82.410.99.921.617.00.0130<100543,202
166 IrelandEurope18.718.127.116.719.520.70.00703004,595,281
167 IcelandEurope54.019.022.412.<100323,002

Global Slavery Index 2013

The following is a ranking of the top 30 countries/territories in order of the lowest prevalence of modern slavery. The full rankings can be found in the Walk Free Foundation's website.[13]

1.  Iceland,  Ireland,  United Kingdom
4.  New Zealand
5.  Austria,  Belgium,  Denmark,  Finland,  Greece,  Luxembourg,  Norway,  Sweden,   Switzerland
14.  Cuba
15.  Portugal,  Spain
17.  Costa Rica
18.  Panama
19.  Canada
20.  Mauritius
21.  Singapore
22.  Hong Kong
23.  France,  Netherlands
25.  Australia
26.  South Korea
27.  Germany
28.  Barbados
29.  India
30.  Trinidad and Tobago
31.  Italy
32.  Latvia
33.  Japan


  1. "Global Slavery Index". Walk Free Foundation. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  2. "Government Response".
  3. The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding, Oxford University Press, p. 367, Philip Alston, Sarah Knuckey
  4. 1 2 Datta, Monti Narayan; Bales, Kevin (November 2013). "Slavery in Europe: Part 1, Estimating the Dark Figure". Human Rights Quarterly. 35 (4): 818–829. doi:10.1353/hrq.2013.0051. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  5. Jacqueline Joudo Larsen, Monti Narayan Datta and Kevin Bales, "Modern Slavery", Significance, Volume 12, Issue 5, pages 22–43, October 2015
  6. Walk Free Foundation. "Methodology" (PDF). The Global Slavery Index. Walk Free Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  7. Andrew Guth, Robyn Anderson, Kasey Kinnard and Hang Tran, Proper Methodology and Methods of Collecting and Analyzing Slavery Data: An Examination of the Global Slavery Index, in Social Inclusion (open access journal), Vol. 2, No 4 (2014), pp. 14-22, article posted on the Cogitatio website on 17 November 2014: "The Global Slavery Index aims to, among other objectives, recognize the forms, size, and scope of slavery worldwide as well as the strengths and weaknesses of individual countries. An analysis of the Index’s methods exposes significant and critical weaknesses and raises questions into its replicability and validity" (summary of the article) - "The formation and implementation of sound policy is not possible without sound data. The methodology and methods used in the Index are currently inadequate and therefore the Index cannot be validated or replicated. Furthermore, the publicity given to the Index is leading to the use of this poor data not only by popular culture and reputable magazines and news organizations [...], but also by academic journals and high level policy makers [...], which can lead to inaccurate policy formulation and a compounding of harm [...]" (p. 19).
  8. "Economist Online: Performance indices - International comparisons are popular, influential—and sometimes flawed". Retrieved 2014-11-16. External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. Human Trafficking: A Reference Handbook, Alexis A. Aronowitz, ABC-CLIO, 2017, p. 172
  11. "GSI 2014 Global Data and codebook". The Global Slavery Index. Walk Free Foundation. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  12. Direct download of XLS table: GSI 2014 Global Data and codebook Archived 2015-01-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. "Walk Free Foundation Global Slavery Index 2013 | Home - Walk Free Foundation - Global Slavery Index 2013". Retrieved 2014-06-05.
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