The Democratic Republic of Congo is set to sign a peace deal Monday with M23 rebels, a week after the group announced it was halting its fighting to pursue its goals through political means.
The Congolese army is backed by a 3,000-soldier U.N. “intervention brigade,” authorized to undertake offensive operations against the rebels. They seized the last of M23’s strongholds in North Kivu province last week, leading to the group announcing the end of the rebellion it launched in April 2012.
M23 consists of fighters who joined the Congolese army in a 2009 peace deal but later defected after complaining of poor treatment. Congo has accused neighboring Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23, an allegation both countries deny.
A global slavery index released on Thursday shows that about 30 million people are living like slaves around the world. Many among those, men, women and children are trafficked by gangs for sex and unskilled labour. Modern slavery was defined as human trafficking, forced labour, and practices such as debt bondage, forced marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.
The index, released on Thursday by anti-slavery charity Walk Free Foundation, ranked 162 countries on the number living in slavery, the risk of enslavement, and the strength of government responses to combating the illegal activity. It found that 10 countries accounted for 76 percent of the 29.8 million people living in slavery – India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Up to 4,400 people are estimated to be enslaved in Britain, the victims mainly from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.They are forced into sex work, domestic servitude, or low-paid jobs in agriculture, construction, restaurants and nail salons