Ecosystems and the Environment
How is environmental change interconnected with modern slavery?
Our Ecosystems and the Environment Programme is asking: how is environmental change interconnected with modern slavery? Our emergent research demonstrates that modern slavery activities create, exacerbate, and are preconditioned by climate change and environmental degradation. Better understanding this nexus is imperative to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and advancing a more equitable and ecologically resilient and adaptive society in the context of a warming Earth, altered ecosystems, and environmentally-induced migration.
In the Rights Lab’s Ecosystems and the Environment Programme, environmental scientists, geographers, development studies experts, and sustainable business specialists are working across disciplines to identify, understand, and measure how modern slavery immediately and distally contribute to climate change and environmental degradation, and how climate change and environmental degradation, in turn, increase vulnerabilities to slavery. This includes mapping the ecological dimensions of human vulnerability to modern slavery and the synchronous occurrence of environmental degradation and modern slavery in agricultural, forest, marine, and freshwater ecosystems.
For example, with partners we are producing the first global risk map of fishing ports vulnerable to illegal fishing and/or modern slavery based on primary data. From this, front-line responders and other partners are allocating services to more efficaciously combat modern slavery in capture fisheries. Additionally, we are advancing the narrative of the slavery-environmental degradation nexus from conceptual to empirical by moving beyond the use of extrapolated data and proxies to collect empirical qualitative and quantitative evidence to build models to aid in causal inferencing.