Research

Law and Policy Programme

How can we close the implementation gap, between principle and practice?

 

Our Law and Policy Programme is asking: how can we close the implementation gap—the gap between principle and practice in antislavery governance? From the global to the domestic, States are increasingly engaging with the issue of modern slavery in their legal frameworks. Yet significant gaps remain in antislavery laws and national approaches often fail to satisfy international commitments. Disparities between States’ legal frameworks create confusion, prevent effective cooperation, and result in incomplete coverage of the phenomenon—particularly in its transnational manifestations.

In the Rights Lab’s Law and Policy Programme, legal scholars, political scientists, sociologists, and scholars of business and area studies are interrogating the law and policy frameworks that operate at the global, regional, and domestic level. They are working to determine the elements of effective antislavery governance and to map trends, successes, and failures in its realisation and implementation. This includes work defining the parameters of slavery and related forms of exploitation, investigating the full range of potential mechanisms for modern slavery governance, and engaging victim-centred approaches.

For example, we have launched the world’s first comprehensive database of the domestic legislation and international obligations of all 193 UN Member States with regard to slavery and related forms of exploitation. From this Antislavery Legislation Database, we can construct blueprints for antislavery law and policy enactment, reform, and implementation around the world, working with government, legislators, and practitioners to lay the legal foundations for a future free from slavery. Building and honouring consensus through a greater harmonisation of approaches is critical for delivering on the global commitment to antislavery action. The database allows States to learn from global practice and comparative analyses in order to develop robust governance frameworks that respond to the changing dynamics of slavery. As the database expands, it will include new areas of law, national policies, international and regional frameworks, and information on implementation. Placing a world of law and policy evidence at stakeholders’ fingertips, the database allows us to access, understand, interrogate, and ultimately achieve prohibition in practice, as well as on paper.

We also have launched the world’s first large-scale database of contemporary slave testimonies. When fused with our prevalence, geospatial and business data, these millions of words reveal why slavery persists in particular hotspots around the world. This new VOICES database lets us analyse patterns in the data to understand trafficking routes, uncover reasons for slavery’s emergence across different sectors, identify vulnerabilities and the challenges survivors face in liberation, and discover new antislavery solutions. Across thousands of narratives, we can highlight the possibilities for systematically designing new antislavery policies and legislation based on the solutions of enslaved people. For example, we are mapping these life-stories onto the 169 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets to answer a key question from the point of view of enslaved people themselves: which SDG achievements, beyond 8.7 (ending slavery) are more likely to prevent or end enslavement?

Legislation Database


Programme experts

Katarina Schwarz

Katarina Schwarz

Description
Rights Lab Associate Director (Law and Policy Programme) and Assistant Professor of Antislavery Law and Policy
James Cockayne

James Cockayne

Description
Rights Lab Professor of Global Politics and Anti-Slavery
Andrea Nicholson

Andrea Nicholson

Description
Rights Lab Nottingham Research Fellow in Survivor Voices
Urmila Bhoola

Urmila Bhoola

Description
Rights Lab Principal Research and Policy Fellow in Global Antislavery
Deanna Davy

Deanna Davy

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery and Anti-Trafficking Policy
Helen McCabe

Helen McCabe

Description
Rights Lab Assistant Professor in Political Theory
Ana Valverde Cano

Ana Valverde Cano

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery Law and Policy
Rumana Hashem

Rumana Hashem

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Forced Marriage Vulnerabilities
Audrey Lumley-Sapanski

Audrey Lumley-Sapanski

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery Law and Policy
Eleanor Seymour

Eleanor Seymour

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery Law and Policy
Naomi Lott

Naomi Lott

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Law, Survivor Support and Children's Rights
Katrina Peake

Katrina Peake

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Slavery and Decent Work
Hannah Baumeister

Hannah Baumeister

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Forced Marriage and Modern Slavery
Emily Brady

Emily Brady

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery Culture
Jeff Kenner

Jeff Kenner

Description
Rights Lab Professor of European Law
Andrew Mumford

Andrew Mumford

Description
Rights Lab Associate Professor in Politics and International Relations
Katy Ferris

Katy Ferris

Description
Rights Lab Associate Professor in Business Law
Lauren Eglen

Lauren Eglen

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Survivor Narratives
Gulshan Khan

Gulshan Khan

Description
Rights Lab Associate Professor of Political Theory
Aline Campos Pereira

Aline Campos Pereira

Description
Rights Lab Research Associate in Labour Exploitation and Worker Voice and PhD Student in Law
Kyra Norman

Kyra Norman

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Survivor Testimonies
Eleanor Griffiths

Eleanor Griffiths

Description
Rights Lab Policy Insights Fellow
Annamaria La Chimia

Annamaria La Chimia

Description
Rights Lab Associate Professor of Law and Development
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