Casablanca- Slavery still exists in our “modern” times, and it has an index to. Walk Free Foundation (WFF), an NGO supported by Bill Gates and Hilary Clinton, has recently published its first Global Index of modern slavery, in which Morocco ranks 93st, among 162 featured nations, with an estimate of 50 000 slaves.
“Today some people are still being born into hereditary slavery, a staggering but harsh reality, particularly in parts of West Africa and South Asia. Other victims are captured or kidnapped before being sold or kept for exploitation, whether through ‘marriage’, unpaid labor on fishing boats, or as domestic workers. Others are tricked and lured into situations they cannot escape, with false promises of a good job or an education,” says the report.
The modern slavery report published by Walk Free Foundation, based in Australia, is the first of its kind. Morocco seems to have secured a relatively positive ranking in the report, compared to the top 10 nations with higher numbers of slaves.
At the regional level, Tunisia ranked 122nd (9,000 slaves), whilst Algeria ranked 91st (70,000 slaves) and Libya 78 (17,000 slaves). As to Mauritania, where slavery is known to be significantly present, the country ranked first internationally, according to WFF’s modern slavery index.
With 150,000 slaves, Mauritania is now deemed the world’s worst place of modern slavery. This high number of slaves becomes more significant when compared to the overall population of the country, which barely reaches 3.5 millions.
Mauritania’s capital, Nouakchott, also figures on the black list of cities and nations that do not invest serious efforts in combating this violation of human rights.
Morocco, like Egypt and Syria, has adopted laws against the proliferation of slavery. Yet, the Kingdom does not figure on the WFF index’s list of countries where slavery is combated, namely Iceland, Ireland, Grande-Bretagne, New Zealand, Swaziland, Suede, Noriega, Luxembourg, Finland et Denmark.
WFF’s report points out that “more than 29 million people across the world live under conditions of modern slavery. Haiti, a Caribbean nation where children enslavement is widespread, ranks second in the index, while Pakistan figures third on the list.”
Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Moldova, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Gabon are considered the worst countries in the index.
However, in absolute terms, India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh are the countries with the highest number of enslaved people.
Walk Free Foundation, backed up by Hilary Clinton, former US Secretary of States, and Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder, had set criteria based on which the featured nations are analyzed in terms of the existence of modern slavery.
The slavery index bases estimates of the prevalence of modern slavery in a nation on three factors:
A composite estimate of the number of people in slavery in each country, an estimate of the level of human trafficking from and into each country, and an estimate of the level of child and early marriage in each country.
In Morocco, children who work as maids many hours a day, and receive meager or no payment for their draining work, are considered one manifestation of modern slavery. According to a report published last June by the High Commission for Planning, 76,533 households, or 1.1% of Moroccan households, hire children as maids.