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Davos 2018: For hope in fighting modern slavery, look to India

Modern slavery is a growing problem, but if the winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize can find signs of progress in India, where there are more slaves than any other country, it's reasonable to think a solution can be found.

Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, finds reason to be concerned about the problem of modern slavery.

“There is much more awareness than there was seven or eight years ago, so that’s a good thing,” she said. “It’s moving on in the right direction, but still, from what we know, the number of slaves in the world is growing, not diminishing.”

By some estimates, 40 million people – many of them children – are enslaved across the world. Numbers like that can make anyone feel dispirited, but there are reasons to be hopeful.

For example, child’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi has seen progress in his native India – the country estimated to have the most enslaved people – since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

“First of all, it has raised tremendous awareness and concern among society, the common people,” he said, speaking of his winning the award. “The government is much more serious than ever before – they have made a new law to prohibit all forms of child labor.”

“I am really optimistic,” he added. “Not only about India. I work across the world. I’m optimistic about other countries as well.”


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