Modern slavery in Iceland #understandslavery (Video)

An estimated 400 working slaves are in Iceland according to international research findings published today, called the 2016 Global Slavery Index RUV reports. The findings focus on “what is the estimated prevalence of modern slavery country by country” and on education about modern slavery under the banner #understandslavery with the slogan; Understanding slavery to end slavery.

An estimated 45.8 million people are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world today” according to the index, which “presents a ranking of 167 countries based on the proportion of the population that is estimated to be in modern slavery.”

Iceland is in 49th place worldwide when looking at estimated prevalence of modern slavery by the proportion of the countries population. Even if 49th place is rather low on a worldwide scale, most countries Icelanders like to compare themselves to rank much lower. For example the proportion of slaves is lower in most countries of Western Europe and in Brazil and the USA.

“The countries with the lowest estimated prevalence of modern slavery by the proportion of their population are Luxembourg, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Belgium, the United States and Canada, and Australia and New Zealand. These countries generally have more economic wealth, score higher on government response, have low levels of conflict, and are politically stable with a willingness to combat modern slavery.” “Those countries with the highest absolute numbers of people in modern slavery are India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. Several of these countries provide the low-cost labour that produces consumer goods for markets in Western Europe, Japan, North America and Australia.”

The Index also keept a score of government responses based on an assessment of 98 indicators of good practice, taking into account factors such as whether each country has the necessary laws in place, provides support to victims, and ensures the application of labour standards to vulnerable populations. Iceland had a shameful outcome on that score, with a B rating, the lowest rating of the Nordic countries and among the lowest in Europe. A recent case of human trafficking and modern slavery in Iceland was in Vik in Myrdal when a man held two women captive in his sewing workshop last year.

Gallup carried out the survey on a global scale. The findings are a result of 42 thousand interviews in 167 countries worldwide. According to the report the term “modern slavery” refers to situations where one person has taken away another person’s freedom, the control of their own body or the freedom to choose to refuse certain work or to stop working. “Freedom is taken away by threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power and deception. The net result is that the person is not able to refuse or leave a situation.”

The Global Slavery Index provides a map, country by country, of the estimated prevalence of modern slavery, together with information about the steps each government has taken to respond to this issue. This information allows an objective comparison and assessment of both the problem and adequacy of the response in 167 countries.