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Modern slavery, environmental degradation, and climate change: Pathways for addressing the nexus

Tuesday, 05 October 2021
Video series

Researchers in the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF US), have published a new report into modern slavery and the implications this activity may have upon ecosystems and the climate (and vice versa).

In the report, the researchers argue that, in order to address the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 to end modern slavery, and the environmental SDGs, a coordinated effort is required where those with expertise in modern slavery are reciprocally engaged by environmental organisations.

Below, a series of experts from the Rights Lab, Anti-Slavery International, Tufts University, HAART Kenya, BRICS Policy Center, Earthworm Foundation, and UNDP Accelerator Lab India, answer key questions around what needs to be done to effect change in this area.

Dr Bethany Jackson, Rights Lab Senior Research Fellow in Modern Slavery and Sustainable Ecosystems, says that being able to quantify the links between modern slavery and climate change will enable better interventions in the long term:

Dr Jessica Sparks, Rights Lab Associate Director (Ecosystems and the Environment Programme) and Assistant Professor of Antislavery Ecosystems, outlines her main priority for addressing the modern slavery, environmental degradation, climate change nexus:

Dr Kevin Bales, Rights Lab Research Director and Professor of Contemporary Slavery, explains the impact of forced labour on CO2 emissions. Later this year Professor Bales will publish new research on the CO2 contributions of forced labour.

Edgar Rodriguez Huerta, Rights Lab Research Fellow in Sustainable Ecosystems and Society, says exploring the interactions among actors and understanding the whole system is key to implementing efficient policies:

Dr Nicole Tichenor Blackstone Assistant Professor in the Division of Agriculture, Food, and Environment at Tufts University, says data is required in order to inform action around addressing the modern slavery, environmental degradation, and climate change nexus:

Dr Silvia Pinheiro, Researcher at BRICS Policy Centre, explains some of the areas that need to be tackled to effect change:

Radoslaw Malinowski, CEO at Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART Kenya), talks about the solutions that should be put in place to address both modern slavery and climate change:

Fran Witt, Climate Change and Modern Slavery Advisor at Anti-Slavery International, explains how environmental degradation can leave people vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking, and modern slavery:

Natasha Mahendran, Social and Human Rights Manager at Earthworm Foundation, describes some of the areas that need action in order to effect change by 2030:

Swetha Kolluri, Head of Experimentation at UNDP Accelerator Lab India, discusses how modern slavery and environmental degradation/climate change can be addressed by 2030:

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Bethany Jackson in the Rights Lab at

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Katie Andrews - Media Relations Manager Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

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