Global slavery report slams N. Korea, repressive regimes:The Asahi Shimbun

A Lithuanian prostitute who was held against her will in London

A Lithuanian prostitute who was held against her will in London

"The presence of state-imposed forced labor undermines at best, and at worst renders meaningless, any government response to modern slavery", according to the report, which notes North Korea has shown the weakest response both at home and overseas.

China, Pakistan, North Korea and Nigeria rounded out the top five nations with the largest number of slaves, accounting for about 60 percent of victims globally, according to Walk Free.

India was home to the largest total number with an estimated 8 million slaves among its 1.3 billion population, according to Walk Free's 2018 calculation.

Researchers interviewed 50 North Korean defectors who spoke of long hours and inhumane conditions in forced unpaid labour for adults and children in farming, construction and roadbuilding.

Globally, imports were a key driver of modern slavery, with the United States as the biggest purchaser of goods at-risk of being produced through forced labor, importing more than $144 billion 1 a year. U.

In September 2017, Walk Free joined the United Nations -backed International Labor Organization to reveal that more than 40.3 million people were in some form of modern-day slavery at any given point of the year.

"These people simply were born in the wrong place, and that's why they're being punished for-their birthplace", said Park, who has founded a group help North Korean trafficking victims.

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"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 Mr Andrew Forrest, founder of the Walk Free Foundation.

"They've been indoctrinated all their lives to think that whatever they do for the state is a good thing", he said.

The findings are part of the Global Slavery Index 2018, the world's most comprehensive research on modern slavery, launched Thursday by the Walk Free Foundation.

The government estimated in 2013 that only about 13,000 people in Britain were modern-day slaves - trapped in forced labour, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude - while the police have said there are likely to be tens of thousands.

The Global Slavery Index found that outside of North Korea, the countries with the worst prevalence of slavery were Eritrea, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Mauritania, South Sudan, Pakistan, Cambodia and Iran. "We can fix it", he added. "Developed economies are exposed to the risk of modern slavery not only when this crime is perpetrated within their national borders, but also when that risk is effectively transferred to them via the products they import". It cites the nation's coal exports as the area of greatest concern.

The numbers contrast with United Kingdom government's most recent estimate that there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the United Kingdom in 2013. The report noted gaps in data from Arab states, as well as a lack of information on organ trafficking and the recruitment of children by armed groups.

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