Australia has thousands of slave workers, including in some “very large” businesses, says mining chief Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest.
But most Australians are unaware of it and don’t see it, the Fortescue Metal Group chairman said in London, in an interview timed to coincide with the release of the latest Global Slavery Index.
Mr Forrest said Australia has some 4300 people enslaved, including workers in forced prostitution, and forced migrant labour in tomato farming and some food processing operations.
He said slavery existed in modern countries like Australia despite the fact that people believed it couldn’t happen here.
Mr Forrest said the new survey showed there were 46 million people enslaved in the world including people in forced labour, forced marriage and prostitution.
Of the 167 countries studied, India continued to be the country with the highest incidence of slavery. There, 18.35 million people were enslaved, followed by China with 3.39 million people.
North Korea had the highest incidence of modern slavery per head with an estimated 4.37 per cent of its population enslaved in some way, followed by Uzbekistan with 3.97 per cent and Cambodia with 1.65 per cent of its population enslaved.