Freedom House Should Include Slavery As A Variable In Rankings


Diamond Member
Nov 22, 2003
I've been reading and hearing more and more about world wide slavery. I didn't know Germany had so much. India, well as the article says, with the caste system, not so much of a surprise:

February 05, 2007, 0:00 a.m.

Does “Freedom” Mean Freedom From Slavery?
A glaring omission.

By John R. Miller

Freedom House released its ratings in January on the status of freedom in countries around the world. The ratings produced the usual smug smiles from those highly rated and the usual whining and wailing from governments criticized. But no one has commented on a gap in the annual report that has been evident for years. Once again, as in the past, there is no mention of how countries are doing in fighting the antithesis of freedom: slavery.

Look at this and other recent Freedom House reports and nowhere can you find mention of modern day slavery or its preferred euphemism: human trafficking.

Should it matter? Yes. Freedom House is probably the most respected and venerable organization in the world reporting on freedom. Founded by Wendell Wilkie and Eleanor Roosevelt in the early 1940s, Freedom House has unwaveringly raised the standard of freedom in evaluating fascist countries, Communist regimes, and plain old, dictatorial thugocracies. Its annual rankings are read and used in the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as by the U.S. State Department.

Policy and aid decisions are influenced by Freedom House’s report. Those fighting for freedom in countries lacking it are encouraged or discouraged by what Freedom House’s report covers. And sometimes — most importantly — their governments are moved to greater effort. So it is no small matter when Freedom House looks carefully at civil rights and liberties but ignores one of the worst and most obvious abuses of liberty.

Would consideration of what efforts countries are making to abolish modern day slavery affect the Freedom House evaluations? Surely. Let’s take just two examples: India and Germany.

India is the world’s most populous democracy and it is certainly free in many respects. Yet millions of Indians (and many immigrants from neighboring countries such as Nepal) are enslaved in the brothels of India’s largest cities or by a bonded labor system in rice mills, quarries, and carpet factories in the countryside.

Many are children who have been sold. These people live with no pay or education, scant food or clothing, endure beatings, and cannot move to another job. Slavery is closely tied to India’s caste system, which oppresses around 250 million people, meaning that a significant percentage of the population is by no means free.

Worse still, the federal government of India, while making some efforts to combat sex slavery, is doing almost nothing and is in complete denial about bonded labor slavery.

On the other side of the margin sits Germany, which gets Freedom House’s highest ratings in every category that the organization uses. Rightly cited as an example of Western European democracy, Germany finds itself taking on an impossible task: promoting its sex trade while fighting the human trafficking of hundreds of thousands of foreign women and girls that come to Germany for that very same sex trade.

Germany merits an overall high ranking, but its inaction to counter demand for sex slaves is appalling. It is naïve to believe that the over two hundred and fifty thousand foreigners in Germany’s sex trade are truly free. But Germany continues to claim it is fighting slavery even as it props up that hideous institution...

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