Right now, 45.8 million people around the world are living in slavery. The shocking number is part of the 2016 Global Slavery Index released by the Walk Free Foundation, which showcases just how prevalent the problem remains around the world.
Their ability to gather new data and research deeper into the problem has led to them finding 28% more slaves than just two years ago. Even though holding people against their will and the selling of human beings is illegal throughout the world, in many countries, human trafficking, bonded labor and forced labor remain common practices.
India was far and away the worst offender in terms of sheer numbers. There, more than 18 million people live in slavery. However, when it comes to the most slaves per capita, North Korea—which is ruled by a tyrannical dictator—was actually worse. Because of the country’s massive labor camps that house hundreds of thousands of political prisoners, more than 4 percent of the entire population lives as slaves.
However, there was some good news. The organization found that some countries—including India—have begun to make significant steps to increase penalties for trafficking, slavery and child labor.
Organizations like the Walk Free Foundation and International Justice Mission provide individuals with opportunities to help in both advocacy and legislative campaigns to one day end the practice of human slavery.