Turkey has highest prevalence of modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia, says report
According to the Global Slavery Index published by the Australian human rights organization Walk Free, Turkey has the highest prevalence of modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia.
The Australian human rights organization Walk Free has published its Global Slavery Index.
The report indicates that, as of 2021, 49,6 million people live as "modern slaves," and recalls that this number was 10 million in 2016.
Turkey ranks fifth and has the highest prevalence of modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia. It is also among countries taking the least action to respond to modern slavery in the region.
According to the report, "the government has taken some positive steps since the 2018 Global Slavery Index, including by assigning the Human Rights and Equality Institution (HREI) to independently monitor its response to human trafficking. However, significant gaps in the response remain: the national action plan has not been updated since 2009, and efforts to identify victims among vulnerable populations such as refugees and the LGTBQI+ community are insufficient, resulting in some foreign victims being detained and deported. Vulnerability to modern slavery is primarily driven by discrimination towards these minority groups, as well as the effects of conflicts (particularly in Syria), the deterioration of women’s rights and protection amid growing political polarisation, and the repression of human rights defenders and political opponents."
The 2023 Global Slavery Index (GSI) estimates that "on any given day in 2021, there were 1.3 million individuals living in modern slavery in Turkey. This equates to a prevalence of 15.6 people in modern slavery for every thousand people in the country. Turkey has the highest prevalence of modern slavery out of 47 countries assessed in Europe and Central Asia, and is among countries with the highest prevalence globally (5 out of 160). It also has the second highest estimated total number of people living in modern slavery in the region, and falls within the top ten globally. This estimate does not include figures on the use of children in armed conflict, or human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal, which evidence indicates does occur in Turkey."
Modern slavery definition
Walk Free identifies "modern slavery" as a term that refers to situations of exploitation where a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.
According to the organization, modern slavery includes forced labor, debt bondage, forced marriage, other slavery and slavery-like practices, human trafficking, and the sale, trafficking, and exploitation of children.
Besides having the highest prevalence of modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia, Turkey is also among the countries taking the least action to respond to modern slavery in the region.
According to the report by Walk Free, the countries estimated to have the highest prevalence of modern slavery tend to be conflict-affected, have state-imposed forced labor, and have weak governance.