Union cabinet minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday trashed a report that India is one of the leading countries in the world in slavery.
The minister junked the report Global Slavery Index by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation which says 18 million people in India live as slaves.
The survey said an estimated 45.8 million people are living in modern slavery globally and 58% of them are concentrated in India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
“I saw the report as the NGO came to show it to me before release. I totally disagreed with their findings, as they says all labourers in Jharkhand are slaves, while there is no case in Rajasthan. Is it possible?”, she said, adding that the NGO has termed every domestic worker as a slave.
When asked if she thought western countries are delibrately tarnishing India’s image, she said, “I don’t know whether they are doing it deliberately or not. But I can say they don’t know how to analyze slavery. NGO has termed every Dai (midwife), Aya (domestic help) and other servants as modern day slaves. It’s totally wrong”.
The Gallup survey was conducted across 15 states and covered nearly 80% of India’s population, the foundation said.
The report coincided with the Centre unveiling a draft bill that envisages punishment for gangs involved in human trafficking and scrutiny of placement agencies, many of which are accused of forcing children into bonded labour and prostitution.