Siddharth Kara on the Facts Behind Bonded Labor in South Asia

Siddharth Kara, Bonded Labor

Critics have praised Siddharth Kara, author of Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery and Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia, for his integration of investigative narrative journalism and clear-sighted economic analysis. In this post, we highlight some of his estimates of the extent of bonded labor in South Asia, based on his research and careful analysis as well as some statistics he cites. Kara argues that knowing and understanding the numbers and economics of slavery is crucial in devising measures to end it:

* Total number of slaves in the world: 28.4-32.6 million
* Bonded laborers in South Asia (2011): 15-18 million
* Annual Revenues from Global Slave Labor: $164.7 Billion
* % of the Pakistan population who are bonded laborers: 1.3%
* Weighted avg. annual revenues per slave (sex work): $48,010
* Annual Return on Investment for forced labor: 398%
* People living on less than $1.25 per day in India: 437 million
* Total number of bonded laborers in India: 10.7-12.7 million

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