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"An estimated 30 million people worldwide are living in modern-day slavery, according to the inaugural Global Slavery Index published by Walk Free Foundation.
The index, compiled by the Walk Free Foundation, said that while India had by far the largest number of enslaved people, the problem was most prevalent in the West African nation of Mauritania, where 4 per cent of the population was deemed to be held in slavery.
The estimated 2.9 million people in modern slavery in China "includes the forced labour of men, women and children in many parts of the economy, including domestic servitude and forced begging, the sexual exploitation of women and children, and forced marriage", said the report.
The foundation hopes the annual index will help governments to monitor and tackle what it calls a "hidden crime".
"A lot of governments won't like hearing what we have to say," chief executive Nick Grono said. "Those governments that want to engage with us, we will be very open to engaging and looking at ways in which we can better measure the issue of modern slavery."
Established in May last year, the WFF is a 20-strong team based in Perth, Australia, founded by philanthropists Andrew Forrest - chairman of Fortescue Metals - and his wife, Nicola".