AMMAN — Jordan ranked 87th globally and 4th regionally on the Global Slavery Index issued this week.

According to the index, which was prepared by Australia-based rights organisation Walk Free Foundation, there are 12,843 enslaved people in the Kingdom.

The foundation said it used the modern definition of slavery — which includes debt bondage, forced marriage and human trafficking — to calculate and rank slavery in 162 of the world’s countries: Number one with the highest number of slaves and 162 being the country with the lowest.

“A number of Middle Eastern countries host large numbers of migrant workers. On average, foreign workers make up 40-90 per cent of the populations of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait,” the report stated.

It added that not all migrants are enslaved, but some will find themselves in situations that can foster enslavement.

The report showed that Sudan topped the countries of the region and ranked 22nd globally, followed by Libya (78th) and Saudi Arabia (82nd).

However, Tunisia obtained the best rank in the region and 122nd globally.

The first Global Slavery Index also showed that there are an estimated 29.8 million people enslaved around the world, with almost half of them in India.

However, the highest proportion of slaves compared to the number of population is in Mauritania, with many people inheriting slave status from their ancestors.

Haiti came 2nd in the index and Pakistan 3rd.

The report said that Mauritania, a West African nation with deeply entrenched hereditary slavery, is ranked number 1 in the index, with the highest proportion of slavery.

“This reflects the high prevalence of slavery in Mauritania. It is estimated that there are between 140,000 – 160,000 people enslaved in Mauritania, a country with a population of just 3.8 million. This ranking also reflects high levels of child marriage, and to a lesser extent, human trafficking,” the report said.

Each year, Walk Free’s Global Slavery Index will produce a “detailed global picture” of the numbers of enslaved people available.

“The index will also identify factors that shed light on the risk of modern slavery in each country and examine the strength of government responses in tackling this issue,” the organisation said.