According to the Global Slavery Index 2014, 14.2 million people in India are part of ‘forced labor’ and human trafficking. On a global scale, 35.8 million people live in enslavement, and 23.5 million of those people are in Asia. According to the Index, India and Pakistan account for 45% of the total global enslaved population, which means they have the highest prevalence of modern slaves in Asia (1.141% of the population for India and 1.13% for Pakistan).
In India, people (and often their entire families) are enslaved through bonded labor for construction, farming, brick-making, garment factories and manufacturing units. These people then go on to live their lives totally lacking freedom, being exploited and used by some person, without having any hope of breaking out of that circle.
India needs to address its problems like bonded labor, inter-generational bonded labor, sexual exploitation/trafficking and forced marriages. Members of the lower caste communities and tribes along with the migrant labor force are at the highest risk. Industries like carpet-weaving, brick kilns, mining, embroidery, textile manufacturing, prostitution, farming, domestic help and organized begging need to be closely monitored.
In a country where reportedly one girl goes missing every eight minutes and is then sold into forced begging, domestic work and prostitution, we should realize that while India gained its Independence, it has still to attain freedom for all.