Around 30 million people in the world are currently enslaved, with 10 countries accounting for 76 percent of all modern slavery, according to the newly released Global Slavery Index. "Slavery," as it's defined in the report, includes "slavery-like practices (such as debt bondage, forced marriage, and sale or exploitation of children), human trafficking and forced labour." The index, produced by the Walk Free Foundation, ranked 162 countries according to the percentage of enslaved people in a national population. Sourcing data from a decade's worth of government and NGO reports, as well as numerous secondary sources, researchers measured the prevalence of forced labor, child marriage, and human trafficking around the world, and calculated slavery risk factors as well as political interventions in each country.
Among the many factors that contribute to the prevalence of slavery -- extreme poverty, the absence of social safety nets, and war -- nations with the highest instances of the practice, such as India and Mauritania, tend to also have histories of colonialism as well as legacies of hereditary slavery that still persist today. Almost invariably, it is the women and children who are the most susceptible to abuse. What follows is a look at the 10 "worst" countries, as ranked by the Global Slavery Index.
Above a woman and a child walk away from a brick kiln ahead of an approaching monsoon storm in the outskirts of Lahore on July 13, 2012.