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Approximately 340 people in Ireland are living in slavery, according to a report published by the Walk Free Foundation.
The Global Slavery Index 2013 listed Ireland as both a “source” and “transit” country for victims of forced labor and sexual exploitation.
The victims – men, women and children -- were forced to take part in illegal activities ranging from sexual exploitation to working on cannabis farms, benefit fraud, sweatshop work, illegal removal of organs, domestic servitude, and forced labor in the agricultural, catering and entertainment fields.
Most of the victims in bondage in Ireland were women who were being sexually exploited. The majority of them hail from nations in West Africa, with some coming from parts of the European Union and some from Ireland.
Overall, the report estimated that 29.8 million people lived in some form of slavery worldwide. Ten countries -- India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh – accounted for 76 percent of people subjected to forced labor.
The Irish Times reports that while slavery is a serious problem in Ireland, the country ranked 160th in the list of 162 countries cited in the report. It shares the ranking with the UK. Iceland had the lowest overall ranking.