International companies face a high risk that slavery is part of their supply chains, particularly if they are in garment-making, farming or mining industries, a political risk consultancy warned on Thursday.
Verisk Maplecroft said businesses had a "high" or "extreme" risk of association with slavery in their supply chains in 115 countries, with China and India among the emerging economies where it was most likely.
Even the European Union as a whole was rated as holding a "medium risk" as a result of the flood of refugees into the bloc heightening the chance of migrants and refugees being exploited.
"When countries with the most advanced legislation struggle to completely eradicate slavery, it reveals the challenges governments in less developed regions face," Alex Channer, principal human rights analyst, said in a news release accompanying a Verisk Maplecroft report.
Almost 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labor, according to the International Labour Organization. Modern slavery can take different forms, including debt bondage and trafficking. Women and children are particularly vulnerable, as are migrant workers.