An estimated 1,000 people in Barbados are said to be living in modern day slavery, even as the country prepares to celebrate Emancipation Day next Wednesday.
In the 2018 Global Slavery Index, which examined 167 countries, the island was ranked at 112th, with an estimated 2.75 people per 1,000 out of a population of 275,000 living in modern slavery, and 41.90 per 100 people said to be “vulnerable to modern slavery”.
Barbados was also ranked nineth in Latin America and the Caribbean, based on population size, behind Venezuela, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Guyana was ranked at 12th in the region and Jamaica 13th. Overall Guyana was ranked at 116th and Jamaica at 117th.
The survey explored data on prevalence, vulnerability, and government responses.
Barbados had a government response of ‘CCC’, which means Government has a limited response to modern slavery, with limited victim support services, a criminal justice framework that criminalizes some forms of modern slavery, and has policies that provide some protection for those vulnerable to modern day slavery, the report said.
The rating, which carries a score of between 30 and 39.9, also means that there “may be evidence of a national action plan or national coordination body”.
The report, which was released late last week, said while all countries were taking steps to tackle modern day slavery at the national and regional level, “all can do more to ensure that no one is exploited for the benefit of others”.
It said there was an estimated 1.95 million people living in modern day slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean and an estimated 40.3 million worldwide, 29 per cent males and 71 per cent females.
The Walk Free Foundation, which is responsible for the survey, said “modern slavery is a complex and often hidden crime that crosses borders, sectors and jurisdictions”.
“The Walk Free Foundation believes that a strong, multifaceted approach is needed to end modern slavery. This includes building a robust knowledge base to inform action, driving legislation change in key countries and harnessing the power of businesses and faiths,” it said.
“Through a combination of direct implementation, grassroots community engagement, and working in partnership with faiths, businesses, academics, non-governmental organizations and governments around the world, the Walk Free Foundation believes we can end modern slavery,” it added.