Almost 46 million people are believed to be living in some form of slavery in the world, with Asia accounting for about two-thirds of that number.
According to the Global Slavery Index 2016, compiled by Australia-based human rights group Walk Free Foundation, India is the country with the greatest number of people — 18.3 million — living in some form of modern slavery.
China came second with an estimated 3.4 million slaves, followed by Pakistan with 2.1 million.
But North Korea ranked the worst in terms of concentration with one in every 20 people — or 4.4 percent of its 25 million citizens — in slavery in that country.
The Pyongyang regime is also said to be doing the least to end the crisis, given the reports of state-sanctioned forced labor.
According to the report, incidences of slavery were found in 167 countries across the world.
It is feared that the situation could get worse as global displacement and migration increases people’s vulnerability to slavery, which includes forced labor in factories, mines and farms or being trafficked for sex.
Many countries, including wealthy ones, continue to detain and deport victims, while many fail to ensure meaningful protections for the most vulnerable workers, the report said.
Hong Kong was identified as one of the governments that can do more to curb worker exploitation.
Despite being a wealthy place, the city has taken relatively limited action due to low level of recognition about modern slavery, the report said.
With rising evidence of widespread exploitation of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, the government has made some effort to increase the frequency of employment agency inspections.
However, there is still a lot that needs to be done, the report said.
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