Modern slavery constitutes a ‘high’ or ‘extreme risk’ in 115 countries, according to a new global ranking released by risk analytics company Verisk Maplecroft. The research concludes that Asian and African commodity producers and manufacturing countries pose the greatest challenge to companies navigating new legislation on supply chain disclosure, such as the UK Modern Slavery Act. Significantly, the Asian heavyweight exporters of China and India feature in the ‘extreme risk’ category, alongside important natural resource hubs, including DR Congo, Iran and Côte d’Ivoire.
With only four major Western economies – the UK, Germany, Denmark and Finland – rated ‘low risk’, the authors of the study also stress that nowhere is fully immune to what British Prime Minister Theresa May has dubbed “the great human rights issue of our time”. The UK is ranked 187th out of 198 countries in the index. A number of European economies, such as Sweden, France and Ireland, are on the cusp of being ‘low risk’.
The methodology for Verisk Maplecroft’s Modern Slavery Index was developed over the course of the last 12 months and uses multiple data sources to benchmark the risk at a global scale. The company has aligned its research with the definitions of slavery laid out in the UK Modern Slavery Act by analysing the breadth of national legislation; the quality of law enforcement; and reported evidence of trafficking, forced labour, servitude and slavery. The index will enable companies to perform a top-level risk assessment of their exposure to modern slavery that can be used in mandatory statements.