Research

Rights Lab Research Projects

Our projects focus on delivering answers to modern slavery challenges and questions. This is a sample of more than 120 current and past projects from across our five Rights Lab research programmes. 

Pathways Through Liberation: Revealing Survivors' Support Journeys Outside of the UK National Referral Mechanism  

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Rights Lab project lead: Andrea NicholsonDeanna DavyAlison Gardner and Carole Murphy (St Marys University). In collaboration with St Marys University, Anti-Slavery Coordinator for the Welsh Government, Independent Antislavery Commissioner.  
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: December 2020-August 2023
Programme: Law and Policy  

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Cobalt Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Cobalt mining

Rights Lab project lead: Siddharth Kara
Funder:  British Academy Global Professorship
Duration: October 2020-September 2024
Programme: Data and Measurement 

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This project will provide the first-ever comprehensive sociological academic study on the human and environmental impacts of cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition to establishing the first prevalence estimates of child labour and forced labour in the sector, the project will include robust supply chain tracing from cobalt mines to Western consumers. It will also include assessments of the harmful environmental and public health impacts of cobalt mining. Cobalt is used in the manufacture of every lithium-ion rechargeable battery in the world – including those used in smartphones, tablets, laptops, and electric vehicles. More than two-thirds of the world’s supply of cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, often in extremely hazardous conditions. The people who mine cobalt in the Congo suffer severe injuries, as well as toxic exposure to cobalt through skin and lungs. An unknown number of individuals are also buried alive in tunnel collapses every week. The project includes the use of geospatial observation to map and track artisanal mining activities in the landscape over ten years using satellite imagery supported by GPS ground-truth data. A research report detailing the findings, as well as a companion documentary film and new book for Oxford University Press, will provide powerful testimony of the pressing need to address the immense harms at the bottom of global technology supply chains. Once established, the research model can subsequently be adapted to other commodities across the global economy. 

 
 

 

Understanding the Support Needs of the Dependents of Modern Slavery Survivors:  An Embedded Case Study 

careforchildren

Rights Lab project lead:Nicola Wright. In collaboration with City Hearts.  
Funder:Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP 
Duration:September 2021-August 2023 
Programme: Communities and Society

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This Collaborative Studentship, supervised by Nicola Wright and Andrea Nicholson, is held by PhD student Holly Jones in collaboration with the NGO City Hearts. It addresses important evidence gaps and informs policy and organisational change in the area of modern slavery survivor support. There is an emerging evidence base in relation to the wide range of health and social needs that survivors of modern slavery have as a result of their experiences. It is acknowledged that some survivors may have dependents (e.g. children).  However, support for dependents is not funded through the UK’s official channels.  This means that some organisations have considered not providing support to families. The support needs of dependents and families and how best to meet  these are under-reported in the literature. The studentship is establishing the physical, mental and social support needs of dependents of modern slavery survivors, the factors that facilitate or hinder dependents in accessing support, and the strengths, coping strategies and resiliencies that dependents use to maintain their health and wellbeing. 

 
 

Innovate to Perpetrate: the Use of the Internet to Facilitate Modern Slavery

ipad

Rights Lab project lead: Ben Brewster
Funder: University of Nottingham (Nottingham Research Fellowship)
Duration: July 2020-June 2023
Programme: Communities and Society 

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This Nottingham Research Fellowship is the first in-depth study into the role of online social spaces in the facilitation of modern slavery, including the role that platforms themselves can play in prevention and discovery. Online social spaces, or ‘online communities,’ increasingly play a role in modern slavery, providing a vector through which nefarious actors can lure, coerce, deceive and groom the vulnerable into a range of exploitative situations: from offers of employment and accommodation that result in labour exploitation, and offers of travel and companionship that result in forced sex work, to the grooming of children that results in criminal exploitation through ‘county lines’ child criminal exploitation. 
 
 

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Domestic Servitude: An Investigation of the Risk Arising from the Growth of Home-Based Personalised Care Services for An Aging UK Population 

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Rights Lab project lead: Caroline Emberson
Funder:  University of Nottingham (Nottingham Research Fellowship)
Duration: January 2020-September 2023
Programme: Business and Economies 

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This Nottingham Research Fellowship is the first comprehensive and in-depth examination of governments’ response to contemporary enslaved domestic work. Domestic work makes up 24% of all forced labour worldwide (3.84 million people of the 16 million people in forced labour, itself a proportion of the 40 million people enslaved which also includes those in forced sexual exploitation and forced marriage). The project takes a case study approach and focuses on developed countries, where the problem of enslaved domestic work is little examined and poorly understood, but which contributes a large proportion of the global figure of 3.84 million slaves in domestic servitude. A rapidly growing sector of concern is home-based personalised care services. The increase in this type of care work may leave workers more vulnerable to domestic servitude. By examining how a specific type of domestic work – care of the elderly by workers who live on site – is overseen by local government, this project will discover how domestic servitude risk is managed in what are known as ‘cash for care’ schemes. These schemes are designed to let those in need of care make their own, personal, care arrangements, but may be vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous agents who deceive both care workers and those for whom they care for their own financial gain. The research will answer three key questions about how managers in the public sector can manage these schemes to avoid domestic servitude risk: What different types of approach exist? How do the approaches in different countries compare? What characteristics lead to one approach being favoured over another? Answering these questions will help governments and public sector workers worldwide ensure that they are using the best approaches for their contexts and will help to ensure that this form of care-work delivers the opportunity of decent work for all.
 
 

Understanding and Tackling Labour Condition Violations 

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Rights Lab project lead: Martina Carlino 
Funder: Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP   
Duration:September 2021-August 2023      
Programme: Business and Economies

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This PhD project, supervised by Thomas Chesney and Alexander Trautrims, examines the policy prescriptions, laws and regulations that could reduce labour abuses. It includes a focus on social norms, economic arguments and diffusions of culture, while examining the reasons for the persistence of particular labour conditions violation. 

 
 

Legislating Against Slavery: Mapping the Legal Frameworks Addressing Human Exploitation and the Requirements of Effective Antislavery Law Globally and in Context

global slavery

Rights Lab project lead: Katarina Schwarz
Funder: University of Nottingham (Nottingham Research Fellowship)
Duration: July 2020-June 2023
Programme: Law and Policy 

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For decades, understandings of the state of antislavery laws globally have been driven by definitional confusion, misunderstandings, and unfounded assumptions. Antislavery actors, on the whole, overlooked the demands and nuances of States’ international legal commitments and neglected global legislative review because they believed that all States had already put in place the essential laws needed to address slavery. This Nottingham Research Fellowship study will provide the first comprehensive review of all States’ antislavery legislative efforts over time, and create the evidence base needed for effective antislavery governance around the world. Developing a new framework to assess antislavery legislation, it will interrogate the links and sequencing of factors that contribute to the development and implementation of effective laws—laws which not only satisfy States’ international obligations, but also meet the needs of victims and survivors. 
 
 

 

Isolating the Impact of Natural Hazards, Climate Change, and Other Intersecting Crises on Human Trafficking in The Bahamas 

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Rights Lab project lead: Jessica Sparks
Funder: Templeton World Charity Foundation
Duration: April 2021-April 2023
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment 

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Natural hazards have long-term effects on the most vulnerable, increasing many types of exploitation for years after they occur, with all the negative effects on human capital and the economy. This negative impact is exacerbated by a knowledge gap. While we have a general understanding of these separate challenges, it is their concurrent impacts that we do not understand and to which we fail to respond. In this project we will co-produce a novel survey instrument with stakeholders to estimate a baseline prevalence of human trafficking in The Bahamas; study coping mechanisms; identify metrics for risk-readiness and risk-taking; and describe the relationship between intersecting emergencies and natural hazards and climate change preparedness, and their effects on human trafficking vulnerability.

We seek two significant outcomes:

  1.  improved, inclusive, and equitable levels of resilience to concurrent shocks through improved individual/household knowledge, capacity, and skills;
  2. improved anti-slavery policies through increased capacity of the local, national, and regional government, CSOs, NGOs, and the private sector.
 
 

 

Evaluation of Perinatal Support Programme 

happybaby

Rights Lab project lead:Kevin Bales. In collaboration with Hestia and the Happy Baby Community 
Funder: Department for Health and Social Care VCSE Health and Wellbeing Fund
Duration:July 2021-March 2023 
Programme: Communities and Society

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Hestia and the Happy Baby Community (HBC) developed the Perinatal Support Programme for pregnant women and mothers with babies who are seeking international protection in the UK and who have experienced trafficking, violence, trauma or abuse. This programme has the potential to improve access to services, provide support (informational, practical, and emotional) on the journey through maternity and early parenthood, demonstrate how to avoid coercion after birth for the survivor-mother, instead supporting them emotionally and relationally through pregnancy, birth and postnatal experiences, with the aim of a dignified, autonomous, and empowered recovery, through and beyond the NRM process. Our evaluation focuses on how the programme contributes to improved health outcomes for 0-2 year olds. 

 
 

An Applied Social-Ecological Systems Approach to Slavery at Sea: Using Mixed Methods to Construct Longitudinal Prevalence Estimates and Model the Impacts of Fisheries Management Policies on Forced Labour

Ecosystems and the Environment

Rights Lab project lead: Jessica Sparks
Funder:  University of Nottingham (Nottingham Research Fellowship)
Duration: January 2020-January 2023
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment 

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This Nottingham Research Fellowship will deliver the first systematic measurement of fisheries management policies’ impacts on forced labour in marine capture fisheries. Preliminary research suggests forced labour, an element of modern slavery, is a distal outcome of overfishing-induced marine fish stock declines in 60% of countries with coastline. Vulnerable populations facing extreme poverty disproportionately depend on marine fish for food, nutrition, and livelihood. Yet, the social justice dimensions of environmental policies to reduce overfishing are often not considered. 
 
 

A Transnational Analysis of the Trafficking of Myanmar Women and Girls to China for the Purpose of Forced Marriage and Childbearing

Marriage

Rights Lab project lead: Amelia Watkins-Smith. In collaboration with the Freedom Fund and Eden Ministry.
Funder: Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP
Duration: October 2020-September 2023
Programme: Communities and Society

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There are an estimated 15.4 million people living in forced marriage today. These numbers include women and girls who are trafficked from Myanmar to China for the purpose of forced marriage and childbearing. Among a sample population of females on the Myanmar-China border, 39.8% experienced forced marriage, of which at least 65.6% were trafficked. This PhD project is the first in-depth academic analysis of the topic, and begins with the idea that, given the complexity of this trans-border exploitation of vulnerable women; a transnational response may be needed for effective intervention. The project aims to better understand how this problem is operating transnationally, and to establish what a successful transnational solution to this problem would be. The central research question is: What would an effective transnational response to the trafficking of Myanmar women and girls to China for the purpose of forced marriage and childbearing look like?

The sub-questions are:
a) How does this problem operate transnationally?
b) What are existing responses from national and international governance, NGOs and faith actors, and are they effective?
c) To what extent do these existing responses operate transnationally, and are they effective in responding transnationally? 

 
 

 

Placing  Survivor  Voice  and Well-Being on the Policy and Evidence Map  

Voices

Rights Lab project lead: Minh Dang. In collaboration with the University of Birmingham. 
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Duration:August 2021-July 2022   
Programme: Communities and Society

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This project updates the evidence base on survivors’ access to psychological recovery assistance. Under law, survivors of modern slavery are entitled to assistance with ‘psychological recovery.’ In 2013, the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group reported that survivors were not receiving their entitlement. Eight years later, we will examine if that gap still remains and the impact of any remaining gap on the psychological recovery of survivors. In so doing, we will test, implement and evaluate a new process for engaging and collaborating with survivors as peer-researchers—towards increasing the capacity and capability of the anti-slavery research effort, and positively impacting the wellbeing of the collaborating survivors. 

 
 

A Survivor-Informed Study of Modern Slavery

birdsfreedom

Rights Lab project lead: Andrea Nicholson
Funder:  University of Nottingham (Nottingham Research Fellowship)
Duration: August 2019-July 2022
Programme: Law and Policy

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Antislavery efforts suffer from a scarcity of data, including that held by those who have experienced slavery. Collaborating with survivors, and experts in statistics, politics, social sciences, art, linguistics, law, criminology and digital research, this study will deliver a transdisciplinary, challenge-led and survivor-informed research programme towards achieving SDG target 8.7. 

This Nottingham Research Fellowship aims to discover:

  • In what way does the use and inclusion of survivor narratives enhance our understanding of modern slavery?
  • In what way does the inclusion of survivor perspectives affect policy interventions that seek to end modern slavery? 
  • How can survivor perspectives be employed to analyse the role of governments and NGOs?
  • How can survivor perspectives offer a means for more accurate measurement?
  • What do survivors suggest for the development of antislavery mechanisms and strategies to meet the global 2030 target? 
 
 

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Scale of Harm: Developing a Method to Estimate Prevalence of Trafficking to Create Child Sexual Exploitation Materials 

Community, New York City

Rights Lab project lead:Emily Wyman  
Funder: International Justice Mission 
Duration:July 2021-January 2022   
Programme: Data and Measurement

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This project is developing and detailing a method to estimate the prevalence of trafficking to create child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM), including via livestreaming. The project focuses on the Philippines and measures proxy indicators of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC). The prevalence plan developed will allow a future study to establish the estimated prevalence of trafficking to create CSEM, and will establish what data sources, partnerships and tools are needed to develop a comprehensive prevalence method. The development of a successful method will create opportunities to conduct similar studies of such offending in other countries. 

 
 

Developing a Consensus on Mental Health Recovery for Modern Slavery Survivors

girl in shadows

Rights Lab project lead: Nicola Wright. In collaboration with Survivor Alliance.
Funder: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Duration: January 2021-January 2022
Programme: Communities and Society 

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Building on our first project that developed a framework for mental health recovery based on the experiences of modern slavery survivors, this follow-on project is co-producing a survivor-informed definition of mental health recovery for use within a policy context and to support improved policy making in relation to modern slavery. Using a Delphi consultation and co-production with survivors, we will generate a consensus-based definition of recovery suitable for use across all policy areas and embed survivor expertise into policy decision-making.

 
 

Survivor-Led Empowerment Through Ethical Story-Telling and Participatory Photography in Kenya

children in Kenya

Rights Lab project lead: Helen McCabe. In collaboration with Azadi Kenya and World Reader.
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: February 2021-August 2022
Programme: Law and Policy

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This project uses ethical-storytelling and participatory-photography methods to amplify and empower the voices of survivors of human trafficking in Kenya. We are working with Kenyan government and survivor-researchers, to shape how participatory research is conducted even when affected by exogenous shocks like a global pandemic. We focus on survivors’ new policy proposals, their development as survivor-leaders, and their engagement with other survivors looking to play a role in anti-trafficking and anti-slavery research and action. 

 
 

 

Addressing the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Brazil

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Rights Lab project lead: Ben Brewster. In collaboration with the Federal University of Pernambuco and the Freedom Fund.
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: February 2021-August 2022  
Programme: Communities and Society 

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There is currently a policy window in Brazil, providing an opportunity to urgently and comprehensively reform the national response to commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), as a number of key state and national plans are scheduled to be reformulated in the next 18 months. Yet, the evidence base on which these new policies and plans are to be developed is currently limited. Our project seeks to establish a rich and detailed evidence base upon which to inform policymakers. We will establish the underlying social and cultural factors that contribute to the “normalisation” of CSEC in Brazil, and provide comprehensive, evidence-based, survivor-informed recommendations and policy guidance to underpin the reformulation of key state and national plans and equip child protection stakeholders with a vital route to understanding the ongoing and longstanding impacts of CSEC.

 
 

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning System for Women Religious in India and Nigeria

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Rights Lab project lead: Laoise Ní Bhriain. . In collaboration with the Arise Foundation and Just Good Work.
Funder: Hilton Fund for Sisters
Duration: January 2021-December 2022
Programme: Communities and Society 

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We address three issues:

  • the prevalence of exploitation;
  • the associated need for a stronger anti-trafficking network of religious life to confront the problem;
  • the need for a greater understanding and application of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) by many sisters in networks of religious life globally.

We aim to improve the ability of women religious to demonstrate the impact of their work through the creation, adoption, and use of a bespoke multi-platform MEL tool. Our work includes designing and delivering workshops with women religious, and supporting content production, model analysis, and documentation and review of learning.

 
 

Synthesizing Innovative Data Sources to Achieve Fairness in Fishing 

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Rights Lab project lead: Jessica Sparks
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)  
Duration: September 2021-August 2022  
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment

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This project will provide decision-makers and labour inspection authorities the much-needed evidence to underpin action against modern slavery in fishing, and to monitor progress of the resulting impact. It brings together the largest global front-line response charity to modern slavery in fishing (Stella Maris), the UK’s largest fishers’ welfare charity (the Seafarers Charity), the maritime sector’s global union federation (International Transport Workers’ Federation), a leading private sector data partner (Airbus), and academics in a cross-sector challenge-led partnership. New knowledge and improved capacity will inform local and global data-driven antislavery action and practice leading to improved conditions for fishers.

 
 

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Building Community Resilience Against Exploitation Amongst Leicester Garment Workers 

sewing-machine

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner
Funder: Boohoo
Duration: September 2021-June 2022  
Programme: Communities and Society 

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This project uses a mixed methods approach to understand pre-existing factors that impact on vulnerability to exploitation in Leicester. It focuses on understanding what major retailers and government agencies can do in the area of garment factory owner provision of the best possible working environment for their staff, and what other actions businesses, government agencies, NGOs and communities can undertake to improve the lives of garment workers. It includes a focus on effective ways to ensure garment workers are aware of and able to exercise their workplace rights, and on how garment workers themselves would like to be represented. 

 
 

The Modern Slavery Risk Barometer 

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Doreen Boyd 
Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Duration: August 2021-April 2022 
Programme: Data and Measurement

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Pressures to identify modern slavery risks in supply chains are growing rapidly. However, businesses struggle to access reliable data and analytics tools. We are therefore developing a Modern Slavery Risk Barometer: a data analysis tool that assesses exposure to modern slavery risk in global businesses and supply chains. It will help businesses to identify, disclose and manage the modern slavery risks associated with specific sectors, suppliers, worksites, products, investments and geographies; make efficient investments in risk mitigation strategies and systems; and discharge compliance obligations. The Barometer has as its unique selling point the use of Earth Observation data—to see and quantify the risk of slavery from space.  

 
 

Understanding the Relationship between Forced Marriage and Modern Slavery

Marriage

Rights Lab project lead: Helen McCabe. In collaboration with Karma Nirvana and Walk Free
Funder:  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: January 2020-January 2022
Programme: Law and Policy 

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Since 2017 the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has included forced marriage in its Global Estimates of Slavery (GES). The ILO estimates that 15 million of an estimated 40 million enslaved people are in forced marriage (as opposed to forced labour). The inclusion of forced marriage in the GES has not only greatly increased the number of people recognised as living in slavery, but revealed the gendered nature of modern slavery: though men are also victims of forced marriage, women and girls now account for 71% of all modern slavery victims (including forced marriage) according to the ILO’s estimates. This inclusion in the GES came after forced marriage was named as a form of sexual slavery at the International Criminal Court. Then in 2018, after the first successful English prosecution for forced marriage, the UK NGO Karma Nirvana called for similar cases to be prosecuted under the Modern Slavery Act. Forced marriage and slavery are thus being linked on the national and international stage. This raises questions about the relationship between forced marriage and slavery. The relationship is neither immediately obvious, nor made plain in international or domestic law. The SDGs treat forced marriage and modern slavery separately (SDG targets 5.3 and 8.7 respectively). The definition of slavery in the 1920 Slavery Convention is treatment of one person as property by another. With forced marriage, however, the focus is on lack of consent to the initial ceremony. Treatment as property and lack of consent may be connected, but they are not identical. 'Forced marriage', then, is not obviously a form of slavery, liable for inclusion in the GES. The project is the first attempt to explain why certain types of marriage should be seen as forms of modern slavery, rightly included in the GES. It is answering the questions: To what extent, if any, is forced marriage a form of modern slavery? Does forced marriage as currently defined in law really encapsulate the normative problem? What types of marriage, if any, ought to be seen as forms of modern slavery?
 
 

What Governance Responses Underpin Community Resilience Against Modern Slavery?

Communities

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner
Funder: University of Nottingham (Nottingham Research Fellowship)
Duration: August 2019-July 2022
Programme: Communities and Society 

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Contemporary slavery is a problem of society that is often addressed from a criminal justice and international legal perspective. We have very little information on what constitutes effective antislavery governance, or about the role that communities play in creating societies where slavery cannot flourish. This Nottingham Research Fellowship study advances the proposition that it is possible to identify a core set of factors promoting resilience against modern slavery at the local level, and to devise governance responses to support those factors.
 
 

Addressing Child Trafficking and Slavery (ACTS) in Uganda

child in Africa

Rights Lab project lead: Rights Lab project leads: Laoise Ní Bhriain and Katarina Schwarz. In collaboration with Hope for Justice and Platform for Labor Action.
Funder: Global Fund to End Modern Slavery
Duration:October 2020-July 2022
Programme: Law and Policy

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This project will:

  • provide trauma-informed care (TIC) services for female victims (7-17) of commercial sexual exploitation, and facilitate access to vocational, educational, and economic opportunities for girls to enable sustainable reintegration and livelihoods, and therefore reduce vulnerability to trafficking. Additionally, to ensure best practice in the field of CSEC/trafficking victim care, this project will
  • develop nationwide evidence-based standards of care for survivors of trafficking to enable better support and navigation through the justice systems and referral services. The project will strengthen the Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons in Uganda (CATIPU) network to enable dissemination of knowledge and best practice between civil society organizations (CSOs), and with wider government structures. Finally, this project will
  • support and build capacity for key practitioners and stakeholders through the provision of training and resources for TIC modelled programming, to ensure effective responses to victims of trafficking.
 
 

Better Work: Care Worker Vulnerability in London

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Rights Lab project lead: Caroline Emberson. In collaboration with the University of Kent and Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX).  
Funder: Trust for London
Duration: February 2021-July 2022
Programme: Business and Economies 

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This project aims to raise awareness of, and understand how to prevent, extreme forms of employment exploitation and abuse, including modern slavery. In London, a reliance upon non-British nationals is coupled with a rise in the use of on-line platforms and introductory agencies leading to the emergence of a gig economy for paid care-work. Despite demand outstripping supply, proposed changes to UK immigration policy mean EU nationals hoping to migrate to the UK for jobs paying less than £25,600 a year (a salary threshold that excludes the majority of paid care-work) will no longer be able to do so through official routes. The anticipated rise in an informal job market increases care-worker vulnerability and the potential for employment rights violations—including extreme forms of coercion and abuse such as modern slavery—with migrant communities consistently over-represented in national statistics. Despite this, the working lives of, particularly live-in, paid migrant care-workers, some of whom are circular migrants and many who are extremely isolated, remain unexamined and their voices unheard in national policy debates. Working collaboratively, we will tailor FLEX’s community and peer research models to build evidence of and identify, support and prevent, human rights abuses related to labour exploitation and domestic servitude among paid, live-in migrant care workers in London. The focus throughout is participatory research, advisory-capacity building and advocacy work with paid, live in carers and personal assistants from migrant communities in London.
 
 

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Addressing the Impacts of Covid-19 on Efforts to Combat Transnational Trafficking in Persons in Nepal

people of Nepa

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner. In collaboration with Terres des Hommes. 
Funder: United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons  
Duration: July 2021-June 2022  
Programme: Communities and Society 

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In alignment with Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Office priorities, this project aims to ensure that the most vulnerable have a decreased risk of being trafficked and access to preventative and protective services. The project is accomplishing this through addressing the impacts of Covid-19 on trafficking, and supporting government measures to combat transnational trafficking between West Bengal, India and the neighbouring districts of Nepal. The project is building evidence and the capacity of government and duty bearers in the area of prevention and protection, adapted for the pandemic context. 

 
 

Data Science/AI for Combating Modern Slavery and Other Exploitative Organised Crimes

artificial-intelligence

Rights Lab project lead: Doreen Boyd. In collaboration with the Alan Turing Institute.
Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Duration: December 2018-March 2022
Programme: Data and Measurement 

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Use of data and data science/machine learning methods is integral to understanding prevalence, risks and vulnerabilities, and prevention of modern slavery, human trafficking, exploitative behaviours, and serious organized crime. This project focuses on developing and using data science/AI methods to identify and uncover hidden populations, networks, and activity; prevent such activities by predicting risk of criminal activity and exploitation. This will include data fusion from multiple disparate sources, anomaly detection, geo-spatial temporal processes, networks, NLP, data visualisation, and managing uncertainty with missing data. The project will deliver new insights into the prevalence of modern slavery; provide new ways to identify victims and perpetrators and opportunities to intervene along different pathways and networks, predict risk of exploitation and support victims and pursuit of perpetrators. Developing innovative tools will allow policy makers and front line researchers to better target resources and assist in the prevention, pursuit, prosecution of perpetrators and support of victims. 

 
 

The Prosocial Benefits of Religion: A Case of Modern Slavery

Religious sister

Rights Lab project lead: Kevin Bales. In collaboration with The Arise Foundation.
Funder: Templeton Religion Trust
Duration: August 2020-January 2022
Programme: Law and Policy  

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Thousands of religious sisters do anti-slavery work. In India alone there are at least 800 - double the size of the world’s largest anti-slavery NGO. Despite their numbers, the efforts of sisters may be the least understood of the many approaches to abolition. Unlike international groups and NGOs that self-publicise and monitor and evaluate their interventions, religious sisters practice a humility about their processes of liberation and reintegration that means the wider movement rarely learns of or from their unique and powerful approaches. We hypothesise that sisters make a distinctive contribution to efforts against modern slavery, and intend to investigate whether that hypothesis, and related hypotheses, are true or not. If it is true, we want to understand how religious sisters make that special contribution. 
 
 

Assessing the Impact of Covid-19 on People Vulnerable to, or Already Experiencing, Forced Marriage

Covid and forced marriage

Rights Lab project lead: Helen McCabe. In collaboration with Karma Nirvana.
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: October 2020-March 2022
Programme: Law and Policy

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Covid-19 Risk and Response: Impacts and Mitigations for Modern Slavery Victims and Survivors

Additional 6

Rights Lab project lead: Vicky Brotherton. In collaboration with the University of Sheffield, the Survivor Alliance, the International Anti-Human Trafficking Network (IAHTN), the Human Trafficking Foundation (HTF), Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) and Anti-Slavery International / the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG).
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 
Duration: July 2020-November 2021
Programme: Communities and Society

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Ethical Artistic Work by Survivors of Human Trafficking

Survivors1

Rights Lab project lead: Katarina Schwarz
Funder: Women Forward International 
Duration: July-October 2021  
Programme: Law and Policy 

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This  project  draws from  the stories  and  imagery  generated  in another Rights Lab project (Survivor-Led Empowerment Through Ethical Story-Telling and Participatory Photography in Kenya). It explores UK community responses to the artistic materials generated in Kenya, and applies this creative method with a local survivor community in the East Midlands. The project explores the value of ethical and participatory methods of artistic expression for survivors of  human trafficking, and how this influences the ways in which audiences perceive both the artistic works themselves, and the issue of human trafficking. In doing this, the project is establishing whether  ethical  and  participatory  methods  change  the  nature  of  artistic  material produced on the topic of human traffickingthe   impact   of   ethically   produced   artistic   material   on   audience understandings of human trafficking; and ways  that ethically-produced  artistic  materials  can be  used  to  improve understanding of survivors’ experiences. 

 
 

Modern Slavery and Small Businesses

office desk top

Rights Lab project lead: Akilah Jardine
Funder: University of Nottingham Small Business Engagement Award, European Regional Development Fund, and Productivity through Innovation
Duration: April-September 2021 
Programme: Communities and Society

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Small businesses account for 99% of businesses in the UK. Research shows that small businesses are more likely to engage in social responsibility issues when linked to their community. Businesses have an important role in our communities as employers, purchasers, neighbours, and suppliers and therefore can have a significant part to play in local anti-slavery action. We hosted an event with small local businesses to better understand their anti-slavery support needs. While most business leaders expressed a desire to help tackle this issue, concerns were raised around the lack of resources, capacity and knowledge. The project therefore co-produced a brief guide with small businesses to support them in progressing their understanding of modern slavery and how they can help address it in their businesses and communities. The guide is written for small businesses who would like to engage in anti-slavery action but do not know where to start, or who may not have the same level of resources or capacity as larger organisations. 

 
 

Responding to Alleged Forced Labour in Xinjiang 

Additional 3

Rights Lab project lead: James Cockayne
Funder: School of Politics and International Relations and the Rights Lab, University of Nottingham
Duration: March-September 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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Understanding Global Patterns in Labour Abuses Onboard Fishing Vessels

boat-2341767_1280

Rights Lab project lead: Jessica Sparks
Funder: The Nippon Foundation 
Duration: May-August 2021  
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment

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While the cases of forced labour and human trafficking documented on fishing vessels constitute egregious human rights violations, the rush to solutions without adequately understanding the problem risks hindering efforts to eliminate these atrocities. To ensure that these methodologically and conceptually flawed approaches do not misinform policy and practices, particularly inspection practices, this project synthesized and coded novel, worker-driven, data sources; statistically tested unfounded assumptions pervasive throughout the sector; explored relationships between human vulnerabilities and sector, vessel, and environmental risks; and worked with labour inspectors to identify promising new approaches. 

 
 

The Community Liberation Initiative Toolkit: Resilience in response to Covid-19 

Communities

Rights Lab project lead: Phil Northall  
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 
Duration: May-August 2021  
Programme: Communities and Society

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We completed an in-country needs evaluation of the Free the Slaves community liberation initiative toolkit, using a resilience framework developed by the Rights Lab to enable the toolkit to be utilised by grassroots development organisations to increase resilience during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. Structured evaluation of the toolkit with potential users and grassroots community development organisations enabled it to be localised for each context and tailored to their needs. This enhanced the community liberation model for the pandemic context, and operationalised the Rights Lab’s own community resilience framework.

 
 

Male and Trans Forced Sexual Exploitation

LGBT

 

Rights Lab project lead: Andrea Nicholson
Funder: University of Nottingham School of Politics and International Relations  
Duration: April-July 2021  
Programme: Law and Policy 

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Completed in collaboration with a placement student, this project reviewed existing evidence and literature on male and trans forced sexual exploitation. The project is the first step in a larger project to determine the degree to which male and trans individuals are generally excluded from the discourse on sex trafficking/modern slavery, and identify the challenges for these individuals in reaching appropriate support.

 
 

Brexit and Modern Slavery

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Rights Lab project lead: Katarina Schwarz
Funder: University of Nottingham School of Politics and International Relations  
Duration: April-July 2021  
Programme: Law and Policy 

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Completed in collaboration with a placement student, this project analysed the impacts of Brexit on modern slavery in five key areas: support for survivors; vulnerabilities of migrant workers; supply chain transparency; criminal justice; and international cooperation. The project mapped current evidence on the impacts of Brexit on modern slavery and synthesised policy recommendations, to produce outputs including a database and policy report.

 
 

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Trafficking in Sport 

Football boots

Rights Lab project lead: Akilah Jardine
Funder: University of Nottingham School of Politics and International Relations 
Duration: April-July 2021  
Programme: Communities and Society 

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Completed in collaboration with a placement student, this project mapped current evidence on the trafficking of people into sports to set priorities for future investigation and action. This included collating evidence on the types of sporting activities people are trafficked into and at-risk destination countries. The final report focused on identifying high-risk sporting activities, migration patterns, the nature of exploitation and recruitment, and gave recommendations for future investigation and policy action.
 
 

The Intersectionality of Undocumented Workers and Unregulated Labour Markets among Venezuelan Migrants in Chile During Covid-19 

Venuzuelan family

Rights Lab project lead: Oana Burcu   
Funder: Universitas 21 
Duration: December 2020-July 2021   
Programme: Communities and Society 

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Covid-19 has highlighted the already precarious living conditions of Venezuelan migrants in Chile. The Chilean visa system leaves many migrants undocumented and unable to access safe jobs and state support. Forced to enter the unregulated labour market, migrants have started microenterprises to support their families. This has helped them build independence and a higher income but has also increased their vulnerability to Covid due to direct customer contact, and increased their risk to criminalization by police, the right-wing media and the populist government. In this context, a Chilean Non-Governmental Organisation, began a novel pilot programme to support Venezuelan migrants by strengthening their business skills and offering financial aid to start their micro-enterprise. We are exploring these undocumented entrepreneurs’ vulnerability to modern slavery through an interdisciplinary framework based on the intersection between an infectious disease, undocumented migration and an unregulated labour market.  

 
 

Implications of Covid-19 for Modern Slavery Challenges in Supply Chain Management

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims.  In collaboration with the University of Liverpool, the Ethical Trading Initiative, Fifty-Eight and the Crown Commercial Service.  
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Duration: January 2021-May 2021
Programme: Business and Economies 

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This project examines the tensions faced by firms in light of Covid-19 to identify patterns of risks for addressing modern slavery in corporate supply chains. Insight into (de)prioritisation of modern slavery will provide vital evidence on whether existing progress is being undermined. Our collaboration with government departments, non-government organisations, social enterprises, and professional bodies ensures that we are extensively connected to policy makers and practitioners seeking to combat modern slavery. Objective 1: To investigate the impact of Covid-19 on firms' prioritisation of addressing modern slavery in their supply chains. Objective 2: To identify effective methods for building commitment to addressing modern slavery when other commercial priorities predominate sourcing decisions.
 
 

 

Covid-19 and Child Criminal Exploitation: Closing Urgent Knowledge and Data Gaps on the Implications of Pandemic for County Lines 

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Rights Lab project lead: Ben Brewster. In collaboration with the National Crime Agency’s National County Lines Coordination Centre, Barnardo’s, and Nottinghamshire Police.
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: June 2020-August 2021
Programme: Communities and Society

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The Impacts of Covid-19 on Modern Slavery in Transition: A Case Study of Sudan 

Compass

Rights Lab project lead:  Katarina Schwarz. In collaboration with Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, and Global Partners Governance.
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Duration: January 2021-March 2021
Programme: Law and Policy

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Building Local Resilience to Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking after Covid-19: Action-Research in Senegal and Kenya 

Additional 1

Rights Lab project lead:  Alison Gardner. In collaboration with Free the Slaves. 
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: October 2020-March 2021
Programme: Communities and Society

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Reducing the Risks of Exploitation for Romanian and Bulgarian Labour Migrants after Covid-19 

farmers

Rights Lab project lead:  Oana Burcu. In collaboration with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Greencore, Fresca and Justice and Care. 
Funder:  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration:  December 2020-March 2021
Programme: Communities and Society

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Understanding the Hindering Factors for Effective Prosecution of Modern Slavery and Sexual Gender-Based Violence Crimes in Ireland and the UK

man and woman

Rights Lab project lead: Ana Valverde-Cano. In collaboration with University College Dublin.
Funder: Universitas 21
Duration: January-December 2021
Programme: Law and Policy

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We are exploring the factors that hinder effective prosecution of modern slavery and sexual gender-based violence crimes (SGBV), including sexual offences and gender-based hate crimes, by law enforcement agencies in Ireland and the UK, with a view to providing evidence-based and targeted recommendations adopting a victim/survivor centred approach. The project includes a literature review on the criminological aspects of modern slavery and SGBV offences, a qualitative study aimed at frontline officers to explore the hampering or facilitating factors, and further qualitative analysis aimed at key stakeholders to assess the impact of law enforcement approaches/decisions on survivors' ability to collaborate.

 
 

Modern Slavery Training for the US Military 

soldiers

Rights Lab project lead: Kevin Bales
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)  
Duration: August-December 2021   
Programme: Law and Policy

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This project is developing training materials on modern slavery and human trafficking within and after armed conflict. US Army Civil Affairs (CA) Officers are deployed to all countries with a US Army presence. This training will help with their key assignment: to build stability, support peace, further human rights, and create opportunity for growth and education. The project will support the CA to achieve stabilisation and the rule of law in post-conflict societies.   

 
 

The Antislavery Knowledge Network

Survivors1

Rights Lab project lead: Zoe Trodd. In collaboration with the University of Liverpool, the University of Hull, and the University of Ghana.
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: October 2017-September 2021
Programme: Communities and Society 

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The Antislavery Knowledge Network offered the first extended effort to address modern slavery as a core development challenge in sub-Saharan Africa via innovative approaches from the arts and humanities that deliver community-engaged antislavery work. The project demonstrated that participatory arts-based strategies, rooted in heritage, can empower Global South communities to play a central role in tackling contemporary slavery. The project began with a programme of three pilots in African countries shaped by historical slavery that are also sites of contemporary enslavement (Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), then moved to a structured commissioning phase that invited new projects to continue pioneering new participatory approaches to knowledge partnership that use arts and humanities methods.

 

 
 

The Multi-Directional Relationships Between Climatic/Environmental Change and Modern Slavery

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Rights Lab project lead:Jessica Sparks. In collaboration with Tufts University.
Funder: World Wildlife Fund
Duration: February-August 2021
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment

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We are delivering a proof-of-concept case study using life cycle assessment for the first time to carbon footprint the invisibilized greenhouse gas emissions generated under modern slavery. Our case study focuses on Brazil and the intersection of agricultural and forestry supply chains. We are gathering and synthesizing disparate environment, labour, modern slavery, and trade data sets to calculate the global warming potential produced under conditions of modern slavery. The analysis will represent a replicable strategy for integrating modern slavery into carbon footprints and thus improving carbon estimations by accounting for a previously unknown factor.

 

 
 

 

Overcoming Barriers to Understanding and Responding to Exploitation

boy in a hoody

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner
Funder: Borough Council
Duration: April-July 2021 
Programme: Communities and Society

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We will review and understand evidence of criminality and exploitation amongst individuals in a local community, including the types of intelligence being gathered by local agencies, gaps in information, and barriers to developing effective evidence-based responses. We also are drawing on wider research undertaken on criminal exploitation and with anti-slavery partnerships across the UK to suggest different types of organisational models for gathering and sharing intelligence on potential cases of exploitation, and to enable a multi-agency response.

 
 

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A Moral Capability Assessment Tool (MCAT) for Women’s Rights in Fragile Contexts

girl in shadows

Rights Lab project lead: Lara Bianchi
Funder: Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)
Duration: November 2020-July 2021
Programme: Communities and Society 

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We are pioneering a Moral Capability Assessment Tool (MCAT) that puts women’s voice and agency at the centre of sustainable peace and development. We blend together digital technologies, social sciences and mental health studies in order to understand what works in the advancement of women’s rights and development in fragile contexts, and uncover the relationship between women’s awareness of their rights and women’s vulnerability to modern slavery and extreme forms of exploitation. The new toolkit assesses how the intersection between gender inequality and context fragility influences women’s awareness of being holder of rights, and so their agency.

 
 

 

Developing Standards on Organisational Responses against Modern Slavery

Business and Economies programme

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims. In collaboration with the British Standards Institution (BSI)
Funder:  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration:  August 2020-July 2021
Programme: Business and Economies

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Risk Analysis of Human Trafficking, Forced Labour, and Child Labour in Public Works and Government Services Canada’s Procurement Supply Chains

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims. In collaboration with the University of Greenwich.
Funder: Public Works and Government Services Canada
Duration: January-June 2021
Programme: Business and Economies

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To complete a risk analysis of the Public Works and Government Services Canada’s procurement supply chains, we first are analysing the human trafficking, forced labour and child labour risk in the goods procured. Then based on this analysis and the identification of goods with a high risk of human trafficking, forced labour and child labour, we will analyse the suppliers of the high-risk goods. Finally, in order to develop a series of recommendations, we will apply our prioritisation framework to the data.

 
 

The EU Legal Framework on Mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence

Law and Policy project

Rights Lab project lead: Oana Burcu
Funder: Anti-Slavery International 
Duration: March-June 2021
Programme: Law and Policy

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The proposed EU Mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (mHREDD) framework provides opportunities to improve transparency and increase engagement from businesses in the fight against modern slavery. We are extracting the essential and structural needs of civil society actors to better enable their access to mHREDD debates, and will propose specific factors that Anti-Slavery International and its partners can prioritise in advocacy work in this field. This work includes a focus on the legal and policy frameworks on human rights and environmental protection in India and Brazil, and semi-structured interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders in the two producing countries.

 
 

Workers' Rights and Labour Exploitation

additional 6a

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner
Funder: Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority  
Duration: November 2020-April 2021  
Programme: Communities and Society

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Following the success of a project with Boston College to embed the subject of modern slavery and labour exploitation across its range of academic and vocational courses, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority is now taking forward the next stage of this programme of work. The Rights Lab will evaluate a new Level 1 Award in Workers’ Rights and Labour Exploitation, including surveys of students and a final report.  

 
 

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Identifying Patterns and Indicators of Human Rights Abuse from Space

earth

Rights Lab project lead: Chloe Brown
Funder: Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
Duration:October 2020-March 2021
Programme: Data and Measurement

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We developed a geospatial approach to assessing exploitation in cotton, then designed and trialled a cotton supplier risk model in order demonstrate the potential of a geospatial approach to risk assessment for buyers sourcing cotton products. Our research review flagged evidence of exploitation to build a suite of indicators, extracted from satellite and geospatial data, into a multi-criteria risk evaluation. The multi-criteria risk evaluation was run over a case study area to trail the cotton supplier risk model, and outputs were evaluated and assessed for future model application. Our stakeholder analysis revealed the current perception of exploitation in cotton and built engagement with businesses.

 
 

Antislavery Using Satellite Technology for Uganda’s Sustainability (ASTUS)

Earth-UK-Space-Agency-grant

Rights Lab project lead:  Doreen Boyd. In collaboration with Hope for Justice, AIRBUS Intelligence (Defence and Space) and Makerere University (Uganda).
Funder:  UK Space Agency
Duration:  July 2020-March 2021
Programme: Data and Measurement

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Building the Evidence-Base for Effective Antislavery Governance in the UK and UK Source Countries 

lawandpolicy

Rights Lab project lead:  Katarina Schwarz. In collaboration with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. 
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Duration: June 2020-February 2021
Programme: Law and Policy

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Understanding the Working Conditions of Western, Central Pacific Ocean Fisheries Observers: A Baseline Survey 

Ecosystems and the Environment

Rights Lab project lead:  Jessica Sparks. In collaboration with Human Rights at Sea.
Funder: University of Nottingham Research Fellowship fund
Duration:  August 2020-August 2021
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment

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Slavery-Free Communities Network

communities 1000x666

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner. In collaboration with the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Funder:  Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)
Duration: August 2019-July 2021
Programme: Communities and Society 

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The objectives of this project are: to create a two-year programme of knowledge-exchange connecting academic partners, law enforcement, local government, NGOs and faith organisations working at city level, with the aim of building and improving place-based antislavery interventions; to establish the infrastructure for a wider global slavery-free cities network; to develop and test a slavery-free communities audit tool, which will assist in reviewing and comparing resilience against slavery on a locality basis; to build an interactive online platform, that will facilitate the sharing of information, policy and practice between local policymakers and practitioners in the network; to review local policy and practice in at least four participating cities, with the aim of promoting the prevention of slavery, facilitating discovery of victims, improving opportunities for respite and recovery, and creating strategies to promote long-term resilience; to improve capacity for engaging communities as co-producers of slavery-free cities, through action-research and improved use of social media (working alongside Freedom United); to develop future research and wider network-development to underpin the concept and practice of slavery-free communities as a lever for sustainable development and improving personal and community security.
 
 

Brick Kilns of the South Asia Brick Belt: Optimising a Research and Impact Platform to Address Objects of UN SDG Intersectionality 

brick kilns

Rights Lab project lead: Doreen Boyd. In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and Volunteers for Social Justice-India (VSJ).
Funder:  Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)
Duration: November 2020-July 2021
Programme: Data and Measurement 

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Bull’s Trench brick kilns occur across the so-called Brick Belt region of south Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh). They have never before been mapped, yet are objects of material risk for a number of United Nations SDG Targets (3 (Health), 5 (Gender), 8 (Decent Work), 15 (Life on Land) and 16 (Peace)). Our research has previously used satellite Earth observation data to map every single kiln across the Brick Belt, revealing the location of ~66, 000 kilns. Of these ~28, 000 were in northern India. This mapping was used by UNDP India to develop a mobile app (GeoAI) which is being used by the Indian Environmental Inspectorate to visit kilns for the purpose of environmental compliance. The mapping is also being used by VSJ (a NGO) to increase operational efficiency in the organisation for interventions aimed at supporting exploited workers. This project builds on our existing partnership UNDP India Accelerator Lab and the VSJ to now deploy our data fully to address the exploitative labour practices commonplace in these kilns.  
 
 

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Understanding the Prevalence of Moldovan Nationals in the UK National Referral Mechanism

Identity

Rights Lab project lead: Ben Brewster. In collaboration with the Home Office.
Funder:  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: July 2021-November 2021
Programme: Communities and Society 

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This project will develop an understanding of to what extent, and why certain nationalities (in this case Moldovans) are under- and mis- represented in the UK’s National Referral Mechanism, and to explore how authorities can identify pockets of diaspora from countries where under- and mis- representation commonly occurs. The newly created knowledge resulting from the research will help to inform future government anti-slavery programming in both the UK and Moldova, enabling interventions that aid prevention, identification, investigation, prosecution, respite, recovery, victim return and reintegration and collaboration between both UK and Moldovan authorities and relevant NGOs. 
 
 

 

 Access to Work for Victims of Slavery and Trafficking

girl in shadows

Rights Lab project lead: Kate Garbers.  In collaboration with the Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
Funder:  Research England
Duration: November 2020-March 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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This project will deliver an evidence review on the benefits of work and harm caused by not working, for victims of modern slavery and trafficking. Many victims are facing unacceptably long delays for decisions about their trafficking status. Those claiming asylum then face a further wait. Many are prevented from working by immigration bail and structured employment opportunities are dependent on immigration status. Organisations supporting these individuals have expressed concerns about the impact this has on individuals and their ability to achieve sustainable independence. For those that have previously worked, there are concerns that they may become de-skilled and de-motivated. For others who have no previous work experience, more needs to be done to improve their employability. Without the ability to access legitimate employment, the system risks unintentionally pushing victims into illegal or precarious work to meet their financial needs, especially where they have debts or a need to support dependent family members. The review will focus primarily on the benefits of work to an individual’s wellbeing, however, broader economic and societal benefits will be considered. The review may include mental health and research on other vulnerable populations, will focus on victims of modern slavery and survey the broader literature on vulnerability to modern slavery, where lack of access to work may be a contributing factor. The review aims to inform the response of the sector and improve longer term outcomes for victims. 
 
 

 

Modern Slavery Risks in Road Freight Transport and Warehousing

truck

Rights Lab project lead: Akilah Jardine. In collaboration with the Chartered Institute for Logistics Transport and Supply.
Funder:  Chartered Institute for Logistics Transport and Supply
Duration: January 2020-February 2021
Programme: Business and Economies 

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We are seeking to understand labour abuse risks in the road freight transport (RFT) and warehousing sectors in the UK, focusing on the East Midlands as a key location for transport and logistics. The research is identifying and analysing risks related to business models and labour and employment practices. While RFT and warehousing make a significant contribution to the UK economy, investigations have identified these sectors as vulnerable to unlawful working practices. We will analyse health, safety and work conditions and key trends that contribute to exploitative labour and employment practices. The project includes wide-ranging and detailed semi-structured interviews and questionnaires for HGV drivers and warehouse operators. We will identify potential solutions that companies can implement for the effective prevention of labour exploitation. 
 
 

 

Tackling Modern Slavery in Malaysian Medical Gloves Factories Using a Whole-Systems Approach to the Supply Chain

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims. In collaboration with the University of Newcastle and the Brighton and Sussex Uni Hosp NHS Trust. 
Funder:  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Duration: October 2020-March 2021
Programme: Business and Economies

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This project will identify and implement mechanisms to prevent and remediate modern slavery in the recruitment and employment of workers in the medical gloves sector in Malaysia, where demand for gloves has more than doubled during the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst endemic abuse of worker rights has either continued or become worse.In 2019 Malaysia was the source of two-thirds of gloves supplied to the world by volume, and also the main source of gloves to the UK's National Health Service (NHS). The UK NHS Supply Chain is the single largest purchaser of gloves in the world, responsible for procuring up to 80% of medical goods in England and Wales. The research will employ a whole-systems approach to understand structures and processes affecting workers and modern slavery in the Malaysian gloves sector during the pandemic. Through interviews with actors at all tiers in the supply chain, we aim to identify pathways of change and communicate these so that procurement policy can be made sensitive to the realities of global supply chain issues, including providing appropriate logistical support, commercial and contractual terms, and pricing to enable the changes needed, and incorporating mechanisms to enable real and sustained worker voice and representation. Most importantly, the project will support demonstrable outcomes for the victims and survivors of modern slavery in the Malaysian gloves sector, including education and the reimbursement of recruitment fees, and will produce recommendations for policy-makers and NHS procurement on incentivising and implementing improvement. 
 
 

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Guidelines for Public Sector Construction Procurement

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Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims. In collaboration with Action Sustainability and the Local Government Association.
Funder: Research England 
Duration: October 2020-March 2021
Programme: Business and Economies

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We developed antislavery guidelines for public sector construction procurement, for distribution by the Local Government Association and embedding in all local councils’ procurement processes. This project built on our past work with Action Sustainability to develop antislavery procurement guidelines for the construction sector, and responds to the Government’s announcement in 2020 that the terms of the Modern Slavery Act now apply to the public sector.  

 
 

Review of the Co-op’s Campaign Against Modern Slavery

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Akilah Jardine
Funder:The Co-op
Duration: October 2020-February 2021
Programme: Business and Economies

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We completed an independent review of the Co-op's Modern Slavery Campaign activities that took place from 2017-2020, to summarise the achievements, determine impacts and reflect on the learnings. The review covered multiple aspects of the Co-op's campaign, including its Bright Future Programme and its legislative lobbying. It set the Co-op's work in the context of an asset-based approach and used the concept of the Freedom Dividend to understand the campaign's importance and success.

 
 

Modern Slavery Guidelines for Procurement in UK Construction

Additional 3

Rights Lab project lead: Akilah Jardine. In collaboration with Action Sustainability and the Local Government Association.
Funder:  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: July 2020-January 2021
Programme: Business and Economies 

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The project evaluated the impact of modern slavery guidelines on the policies and practices of a selection of UK construction businesses. It identified the unfulfilled needs that UK construction businesses are still facing in their responses to modern slavery and created an advanced agenda on modern slavery for the UK construction sector. In its second stage, it is adapting and rolling out the guidelines for the UK’s local councils, including mapping out necessary amendments of private sector guidelines to fit the local authority context, identifying relevant processes within the local authority construction procurement process and modern slavery measures, and identifying learning material to support local authority construction buyers.
 
 

 

Survivor-Led Empowerment through Ethical Story-Telling and Image Creation

Survivors1

Rights Lab project lead: Helen McCabe. In collaboration with HAART Kenya.
Funder:  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: January 2020-February 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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The power of this project comes from the exciting, new, and powerful platform it will create for survivors, and the lessons which can be learned for future antislavery work with survivors. Trafficking denied these women a voice: this project will give them multiple ways to speak and be heard around the world. The stories of women who have experienced modern slavery and forced marriage in sub-Saharan Africa are often not heard. Although governments are concerned with modern slavery, important stories are being lost, alienating survivors from participating in anti-slavery efforts. Where survivor stories are used, this is often for a ‘shock-factor’, which risks re-traumatisation or otherwise exploiting survivors. Yet survivor voices belong at the heart of the antislavery project: the goal, then, is to create impact for these voices via ethical means. This project will build on work being done by HAART Kenya to empower survivors to express their experiences via a process of ethical storytelling and participatory photography. By partnering with World Reader, who provide a platform for digital reading materials, the Rights Lab will work with HAART Kenya to create a new way of disseminating ethically-produced narratives and imagery. Through a series of supported workshops with survivors, we will explore ethical story-telling and image-making techniques to encourage survivors to tell their own stories in their own ways. Through World Reader’s digital platform, photographic exhibitions, and co-authored publications, we will bring these stories to a global audience. Analysis of uptake will measure the impact of ethical storytelling and image-creation. 
 
 

Examining the Reality of Liberation for Individuals Receiving Support Provisions in India and Ethiopia 

Liberation for individuals

Rights Lab project lead: Andrea Nicholson. In collaboration with the Freedom Fund.
Funder:  The Freedom Fund
Duration: May 2019-August 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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The overarching objective for this project is to understand how sustained liberation can best be fostered among survivors of slavery in India and Ethiopia. A key output will revolve around the development of a framework for conceptualising survivors’ reintegration journeys, based on the diverse experiences of approximately 100 survivors in each country. In mapping the major successes and challenges experienced in survivor journeys, the purpose of this framework will be to highlight the points of significance that mark the difference between liberation and return to exploitation.
 
 

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Mapping Routes to Legal Support for Those Navigating the NRM

hammer-719066_1280

Rights Lab project lead: Katy Ferris. In collaboration with the University of Liverpool, the British Red Cross, and the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit.
Funder:  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Duration: August 2020-March 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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We will interrogate identified deficiencies in the provision of legal advice and support for victims of modern slavery, explore the causes and consequences of these failures, situate access to legal services within the context of the UK’s international obligations, and investigate the impact of representation by qualified legal practitioners on outcomes for victims. In its efforts to develop a needs-based system for survivor support, this project will assist the Home Office in understanding the legal support needs of survivors, and support better decision making by the Legal Aid Authority. 
 
 

Measuring Effective Antislavery Law: Developing New Indicators to Track Legislative Progress on SDG 8.7 

balance

Rights Lab project lead: Katarina Schwarz. In collaboration with Anti-Slavery International, Walk Free and Delta 8.7.
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: August 2020-July 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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In 2015, States made a global commitment to take immediate and effective measures to end modern slavery by 2030 (SDG8.7). States are increasingly reforming domestic laws in the hopes of meeting this goal. Yet, exactly what SDG8.7 requires of them remains unclear. International stakeholders have highlighted the critical need for a new framework to overcome these challenges, engaging the Rights Lab in a global conversation around measuring progress in the fight against modern slavery. Working with strategic global partners, this project will translate the Rights Lab’s world-leading research mapping antislavery legislation into a new roadmap for effective antislavery governance. 
 
 

CSE Policy and Practices Research Study

Child slave

Rights Lab project lead: Deanna Davy
Funder:  Global Fund to End Modern Slavery
Duration:  August 2020-March 2021
Programme: Law and Policy

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This project focuses on CSE in India and Bangladesh. It involves:

  1. (1) an extensive literature review;
  2. (2) an analysis of the law and policy frameworks in the target countries, including cross-border mechanisms;
  3. (3) structured interviews with representatives of NGOs, government agencies, and UN agencies in Maharashtra, and West Bengal (India) and other locations, and providing research support to Justice and Care (Bangladesh). 

The study adopts a qualitative approach, which is the most appropriate approach for answering the following key research questions.

Rehabilitation:

  • What are evidence-based practices in trauma-informed care and rehabilitation, related specifically to victims of trafficking and CSE?
  • To what extent are and can these practices be used in intervention areas?
  • How is effectiveness/success evaluated?
  • What are specific barriers to the practical/actual use of these practices?
  • What type of changes in management techniques would be useful in implementing and sustaining these practices in organizations with limited capacity?
  • What tools exist to measure improvement and how effective are they?

Livelihoods:

  • What core/soft skills are needed prior to survivors seeking employment?
  • Are certain skills particularly challenging for survivors (e.g. managing trauma triggers)?
  • How are these skills best taught to survivors?
  • What tools exist—or could be developed—to measure the readiness (of the survivors) and how effective are these?

Cross border repatriation:

  • What are the steps involved in facilitating cross border repatriation and where are the greatest challenges/bottlenecks?
  • What are potential options and ways to mitigate the challenges?
  • Which factors during the repatriation process have the greatest effect (positive or negative) on a survivor’s rehabilitation (e.g. a single case worker supporting the survivor throughout, trauma informed training for institutional stakeholders, etc.).
 
 

 

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The Contemporary Slavery in Armed Conflict (CSAC) Dataset

soldiers

Rights Lab project lead: Kevin Bales. In collaboration with the University of Richmond.
Funder:  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: September 2016-December 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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The CSAC dataset measures incidents of enslavement, human trafficking, forced labour, forced marriage, and related violations committed by armed actors during the years 1989-2016. This research project has identified that slavery and human trafficking are present in 90% of modern wars. The most common type of enslavement in war zones was the use of child soldiers, occurring in 87% of armed conflicts, sexual exploitation and/or forced marriage was present in a third (32%) of modern wars; 21% included forced labour; and 14% saw instances of human trafficking. The project is now going back to 1946 and forward to 2020.
 
 

Mental Health Recovery for Survivors of Modern Slavery

symposium-header

Rights Lab project lead: Nicola Wright. In collaboration with Survivor Alliance.
Funder:  National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Duration: July 2019-January 2021
Programme:  Communities and Society 

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This project developed a theoretically informed understanding of what mental health recovery means to modern slavery survivors within the UK. We explored with modern slavery survivors the concept of mental health recovery; what it means to them; and how it could be promoted, then constructed a theoretically informed framework for mental health recovery based on the experiences of modern slavery survivors which can inform a future intervention. The project provided the first theoretically informed understanding of mental health recovery based on the experiences of modern slavery survivors.
 
 

Survivor Voices and the Sustainable Development Goals 

Voices

Rights Lab project lead: Andrea Nicholson
Funder:  University of Nottingham (Research Fellowship)
Duration: September 2019-December 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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We are mapping thousands of survivor narratives—over 2 million words of testimony—from our VOICES database against the 169 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets. This shows the possibilities for a systematic design of new antislavery strategies based on the accounts of formerly enslaved people. The results will let us answer a key question from the point of view of survivors themselves: which SDG target achievements (beyond 8.7 on slavery and 5.3 on forced marriage) are more likely to prevent or end enslavement? Our coding for risk factors that led to the initial experience of enslavement or perpetuated slavery includes environmental destruction, gender, ethnic or cultural discrimination, family debt, lack of access to financial services, moderate or severe food insecurity, lack of birth registration, local corruption and organised crime, loss of family members due to poor health, lack of access to education, and poorly managed migration processes. We have matched risk factors with the 169 SDG targets. Most narratives reveal at least three primary SDG targets and some as many as five. So far our most common SDG codings against 8.7/5.3 include 4.5 (eliminate gender disparities in education); 5.1 (end discrimination against women); 8.8 (protect labour rights); 10.2 (promote social inclusion); and 11.1 (safe housing for all).
 
 

Antislavery Data Lab

artificial-intelligence

Rights Lab project lead: James Goulding. In collaboration with Code 8.7.
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: April 2020-December 2021
Programme: Data and Measurement 

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As a member of Code 8.7, the initiative led by the United Nations, to combine AI and modern slavery research, the Rights Lab is working with Experian to develop a Code 8.7 Data Sandbox in Brazil. The Data Sandbox will house relevant policy-level and other information, and facilitate analysis through use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and will be used to identify effective measures to end modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour.
 
 

Policy Guides: “What Works” to Achieve SDG 8.7? 

Additional 2

Rights Lab project lead:  Katarina Schwarz. In collaboration with UNU-CPR / Delta 8.7.
Funder:  United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR)
Duration: May 2020-March 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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This project is a transparent drafting process that combines rigorous scientific review and evidence with policy acumen, to produce three “Policy Guides” that provide a snapshot of “what works” to achieve SDG 8.7. These Policy Guides will be published by March 2021, each seeking to identify the mix of multilateral and national policies needed to accelerate progress towards SDG 8.7 in one of three broad policy domains: Justice – including criminal and civil justice, survivor engagement and support, and the role of the health sector; Markets – including all aspects of economic, trade and financial policy, supply chains and development policy; Crisis – including conflict, humanitarian and crisis response, and migration. The Rights Lab is serving on the Steering Group, on all three of the working groups, and has provided three comprehensive literature reviews to underpin each policy guide. 
 
 

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Antislavery in Domestic Legislation Database 

Antislavery in Domestic Legislation Database

Rights Lab project lead: Katarina Schwarz
Funder:  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: August 2018-to date
Programme: Law and Policy 

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The database, corresponding report, and accompanying briefing (which includes recommendations for how different actors can benefit from using the database in their work) were launched at the UN in February. The database contains the domestic legislation and international obligations of all 193 UN Member States relating to slavery, servitude, institutions and practices similar to slavery, forced labour and human trafficking. For each of the 193 countries, this includes: dates of ratification for a range of relevant international treaties; a set of relevant descriptive variables on each country (e.g. type of legal system, geographic region, membership in relevant international organisations, membership in human rights courts, Global Slavery Index rankings over time, and US State Department TIP rankings over time); the country’s domestic legislative provisions relating to each of the different forms of exploitation; the full text of each statute; and a summary of the country’s compliance with its international obligations. The database has already revealed, for example, that nearly half of all countries have no provisions criminalising slavery or the slave trade in any form. 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. We will now begin to expand the database to include new areas of law, national policies, international and regional frameworks, and information on implementation.
 
 

Review of Modern Slavery Laws in Southeast Asia 

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Rights Lab project lead: Katarina Schwarz. In collaboration with the Global Pro Bono Bar Association.
Funder:  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: August 2019-January 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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We completed a review of laws relating to modern slavery, decent work, labour migration, online sexual exploitation, money laundering, criminal procedure, victim compensation, and social service minimum standards in six Southeast Asian countries: Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, and China. We synthesised these findings, conducting comparative qualitative and quantitative analysis across the jurisdictions. This work sits within a larger research programme to support the International Justice Mission’s programming, including reviews of the effectiveness of justice systems, international agreements, and transnational collaborations, as well as the development of a network of pro bono lawyers to support survivors in the region. 
 
 

Antislavery Model Legislation

balance

Rights Lab project lead:  Katarina Schwarz. In collaboration with Anti-Slavery International.
Funder:  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: January 2019-July 2021
Programme: Law and Policy 

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This was developed to assist States in giving effect to their international obligations to prohibit slavery, the slave trade, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, and institutions and practice similar to slavery. The Model Legislation fills a gap in existing domestic legal frameworks not covered by States’ current legislation: a guide meant to facilitate the process of reviewing and amending existing domestic legislation, or adopting new legislation, to ensure the internationally recognised requirement of effectivité. The Model Legislation is designed to ensure ease of adaptability to the legislative requirements of a State, whatever its legal tradition, geographical region, or social or economic condition. In ensuring that domestic legislation is effectively implemented, the Model Legislation is supplemented by a number of Guiding Principles for Antislavery Legislation to assist in ensuring that legislative action undertaken is consistent with a State’s current domestic law and with its international obligations.
 
 

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Working Conditions in the Chilean Fishing Sector: An Assessment of Risk Factors

slavery in fisheries

Rights Lab project lead: Jessica Sparks
Funder: University of Nottingham (Research Fellowship)
Duration: October 2020-October 2021
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment 

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Recent research indicates that forced labour and human trafficking in the fisheries sector are a severe problem. Reports suggests that fishers may be vulnerable to severe forms of human rights abuse on board fishing vessels. Migrant workers are vulnerable to being deceived and coerced by brokers and recruitment agencies and forced to work on board vessels. Fishers may be forced to work for long hours at very low pay, and the work is intense, hazardous and difficult. However, and unlike other labour issues, slavery is universally illegal, with prohibitions enshrined in global agreements including the 1926 Slavery Convention and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This project aims to identify the modern slavery risk factors in the Chilean fishing sector and develop mitigation strategies. 
 
 

Developing Stage-Matched Anti-Slavery Guidance for SME Business Leaders

Additional 3

Rights Lab project lead: Akilah Jardine
Funder:Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS)
Duration:February-November 2021   
Programme: Communities and Societies

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We are designing behavioural change resources for SME business leaders to move them through a phased process of awareness-building towards practical and achievable action to tackle modern slavery. This work will provide appropriate guidance for CHAS to offer to their 35,000 members, many of who are SMEs working in the construction and manufacturing sectors—recognised high-risk sectors for labour exploitation and modern slavery. 

 
 

Risk Prediction for Women's Health and Rights in Tanzania: Novel Statistical Methodology to Target Effective Interventions

Measuring

Rights Lab project lead: James Goulding. In collaboration with Hope for Girls and Women and the Tanzania Development Trust.
Funder:  Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Duration: October 2019-September 2021  
Programme: Data and Measurement

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We extended novel advances in mathematical sciences to identify, measure and rectify human rights violations including forced marriage as a form of modern slavery. The innovations supported health and education interventions in Tanzania. We developed a methodology for probabilistic data assembly, made key extensions to Object Oriented and Topological Data Analysis that handle multi-view and temporally unaligned datasets, then integrated these developments into full predictive models. We deployed the models in educational interventions led by Hope for Girls and Women and the Tanzania Development Trust.

 
 

UK Fisheries Sector Human Rights and Social Welfare Baseline Project

Ecosystems and the Environment

Rights Lab project lead: Bethany Jackson. In collaboration with Human Rights at Sea
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: August 2020-July 2021 
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment

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The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) new c.188 guidelines went into force in the UK on January 8th 2020. However, there is no baseline data to measure its efficacy. In order to understand the scope of knowledge around fishers rights and exploitation within UK fisheries a mix-methods approach will be undertaken with our partner organisation Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) to provide a nationwide baseline needs assessment for the UK fisheries sector. Geospatial satellite data will be used to provide context and analysis of surveyed port locations around the UK and boat activity occurring in UK waters. 
 
 

 

The Buddying Scheme

Buddy

Rights Lab project lead: Vicky Brotherton. In collaboration with the UK Home Office Modern Slavery Unit.
Funder: Research England 
Duration:April 2020-March 2021
Programme: Law and Policy

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We piloted a ‘buddying scheme’ (April-October 2020) that paired Rights Lab researchers with civil servants in the Home Office Modern Slavery Unit and the Department for International Development. The pairs were matched based on their areas of research/policy interest. The scheme sought to transform policy officials’ understanding of how to work with academia and make best use of research, and to provide researchers with an understanding of the policy environment and how best to craft and pitch research papers for use by Government. Our evaluation of the scheme, published in March 2021, found clear and tangible benefits to allowing researchers and policy officials to connect and learn from each other. We are now taking forward these recommendations into our ‘buddying’ initiative, and intend that the findings from this pilot will be of use to others looking to implement similar schemes.

 
 

The Risk of Modern Slavery in Forecourt Hand Car Washes

carwash

Rights Lab project lead: Akilah Jardine. In collaboration with the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).
Funder:  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: January 2020-February 2021
Programme: Business and Economies 

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The project evaluated and documented the impact of our academic work on labour practices in hand car washes in the UK and on related law enforcement and business conduct in this sector. The Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) used our findings to engage with UK supermarkets on the risk of modern slavery in hand car washes operating in their forecourts. This resulted in reviews and execution of company policies and the closure of some high-risk businesses. The project included work with GLAA to further the impact of this supermarket engagement in ways that lead to improved enforcement and outcomes for currently exploited workers. 
 
 

What is Freedom from Slavery? 

Additional 5

Rights Lab project lead: Juliana Semione
Funder: University of Nottingham PhD Studentship
Duration: October 2017-January 2021
Programme: Communities and Society 

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This PhD project used Q methodology to answer the question, “What is freedom from slavery?” The project was based on the notion that the logical end of extensive antislavery efforts around the world is a growing number of people stepping into freedom, yet the antislavery field does not have a shared conception of freedom. It aims to help unite the field around  an understanding of freedom for the good of survivors. 
 
 

Wellbeing in Our Own Words: Survivors of Slavery Defining Wellbeing

Voices

Rights Lab project lead: Minh Dang
Funder: University of Nottingham PhD Studentship
Duration: October 2017-January 2021

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This PhD project aimed to reveal whether survivors’ lived experience of wellbeing match current measures of wellbeing.  It elevated the knowledge and expertise of survivors of slavery. Because survivors lived without freedom, they possess understanding about the phenomena of slavery and freedom that is inherently unavailable to non-survivors. The project gathered data about the lived experiences of survivors in order to inform definitions of slavery and freedom, and provided a survivor-informed definition of well-being that can guide antislavery policies and help ensure that public resources are directed to improving the lives of survivors. 
 
 

Contemporary Slavery and International Trade: Theory and Evidence

additional8cropped

Rights Lab project lead: Facundo Albornoz Crespo
Funder: British Academy
Duration: September 2018-August 2020  
Programme: Business and Economies

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This project responded the fact there is very little economic literature investigating the likely effects of commonly proposed anti-slavery policies and whether the incidence of slavery is affected by trade globalization. We filled this gap by studying the effect of anti-slavery policies and international trade both theoretically and empirically. The first part of the project looked at several anti-slavery policies in a general equilibrium framework for a given level of trade openness. The second part of the project provided a systematic theoretical and empirical analysis of the link between international trade liberalization and modern slavery.

 
 

Interactive Workshops for Regional Partnerships

Communities and Society programme

Rights Lab project lead: Phil Northall. In collaboration with the University of Hull, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), and Fresca
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: March-October 2020 
Programme: Communities and Society

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We developed a range of workshops on modern slavery for the UK's local modern slavery partnerships. The workshops and accompanying materials addressed current gaps and shortfalls in provision, and aimed to improve prevention and victim care. They equipped modern slavery partnerships with the tools they needed to be able to run successful and impactful exercises for a range of organisations associated with their partnerships: businesses, recruitment agencies, police, adult and child safeguarding teams, housing teams, fire and rescue, health services and local support charities. The workshops included innovative learning and training tools, enabling communities of practice to share knowledge and experience, and identify gaps in provision relating to various aspects of modern slavery.

 
 

The Antislavery Partnership Toolkit

Communities

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner. In collaboration with the Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
Funder:  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and University of Nottingham
Duration: October 2017-October 2020
Programme: Communities and Society

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Partnership is essential to effective action against modern slavery. Throughout the UK many different organisations are working hard to prevent slavery, promote identification of victims, provide support services to survivors, and ensure that slavery cannot flourish. In 2017 research from the Rights Lab and Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner demonstrated that although multi-agency anti-slavery partnership work was developing across the UK, it lacked consistency and resources.  In October 2020, an updated report showed progress to date. In addition, very little monitoring and evaluation of partnership activity was occurring by 2017, and it was unclear what constituted ‘good’ practice. The toolkit is an attempt to fill that gap, by providing a checklist to assist in reviewing partnership activity, a governance library to improve accountability and performance, access to the UK Training Library, plus a range of information, web-links and case studies to assist with other important aspects of anti-slavery activity. 
 
 

Analysis of Data on Domestic Workers in India

Child slave

Rights Lab project lead: James Goulding. In collaboration the Centre for Development Initiatives, Don Bosco Mondo and All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam. 
Funder: Arise Foundation
Duration: October 2019-August 2020
Programme: Data and Measurement

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We analysed 12,000 surveys with domestic workers across India completed during a 4-year period by a network of Sisters, to quantify the proportion of workers who are in decent vs. poor quality employment and geospatially map the distribution of individuals. The analysis revealed key factors associated with decent and poor working conditions, including geography, demographic characteristics (such as age, gender, and educational status), and cultural factors (such as caste, religion and ethnic background). We estimated and mapped the prevalence of child labour in the sample, analysed how gender and ethnicity shape this form of labour, and revealed indicators for vulnerability. The next stage of the project will work with the Sisters on new survey instruments. 
 
 

Tackling Forced Labour in the Strawberry Industry of Greece

Economic

Rights Lab project lead:  Doreen Boyd. In collaboration with the Greek Office of the National Rapporteur and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: September 2019-July 2020
Programme: Data and Measurement 

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This project developed an identification tool for slavery in a specific industry. Around 90% of Greek strawberries are produced in Nea Manolada, Greece. The industry has expanded ten-fold since the European migrant crisis of 2015 onward. Using satellite imagery, we located hundreds of forced labour camps. We completed field visits and interviews with victims of forced labour in the camps in order to establish the number of people residing in camps, health and safety conditions, and the reintegration needs of victims. The monitoring tool is enabling the observation of new camps that appear in the region and estimations of migrant workers in the area. 
 
 

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Modern Slavery Evidence Synthesis Scope: Covid-19

Child slavery2

Rights Lab project lead: Laoise Ní Bhriain. In collaboration with IMC, commissioned by DFID.
Funder: Department for International Development (DFID)
Duration: April-June 2020
Programme: Communities and Society 

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This project delivered a rapid learning synthesis on the impact of Covid-19 on modern slavery over a two-month period during the crisis itself. As part of this we delivered a rapid learning synthesis on the impact of Covid-19 across three sectors (the ready-made garment sector, overseas labour recruitment and commercial sexual exploitation of children) and a deep dive focus on two countries (India and Bangladesh). It synthesised and analysed emerging immediate impacts and responses to Covid-19 across key stakeholder groups in India and Bangladesh within the three priority sectors; identify potential longer-term risk and resilience impacts of Covid-19 for vulnerable groups and possible key stakeholder responses; and generate useful evidence-informed learning and recommendations for policy and programming activities to respond to the immediate and longer-term impacts of Covid-19. 
 
 

Gender-Specific Risks and Responses to Labour Exploitation in Textile Supply Chains: The Challenge of Transferability

forced labour

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims. In collaboration with the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (Indonesia).
Funder:  Academy of Medical Sciences
Duration: September 2019-December 2020
Programme: Business and Economies 

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Forced labour has been found in textile supply chains all over the world. Despite these supply chains operating in different jurisdictions, cultural settings and supply chain structures, a high risk for exploitation – particularly of women workers - is a common feature whether in developing countries or in the UK. This project created a network of researchers from four developing countries (Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia and Pakistan) with significant textile sectors and the UK. In each partner country we identified an NGO initiative that has successfully worked against labour exploitation in the textile supply chain and map all relevant actors in and around their initiatives. We then identified commonalities and differences between them. These provided the basis for simulation studies on the initiatives' transferability into other settings and provide knowledge about the actors and institutions that must be in place for an initiative to be effective. This knowledge is a crucial enabler for the transfer and upscaling of solutions against labour exploitation. The project also strengthened research capacity on labour exploitation in key developing countries and provided a basis for larger scale investigations into other supply chains and effective initiatives against labour exploitation in them. 
 
 

Analysis of Bradford City Council’s Procurement Portfolio for Modern Slavery Risk. 

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Rights Lab project lead: Selim Cakir
Funder:  University of Nottingham
Duration:  February-June 2020
Programme: Business and Economies

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Councils have the opportunity to provide guidance to local businesses about modern slavery and how they might manage it, and should also take responsibility for eliminating modern slavery in its own supply chains. Accordingly, this project presents an initial modern slavery risk assessment of Bradford City Council to support them in meeting such goals. It is a preliminary, independent analysis of the modern slavery risks that the Council may be exposed to in its tier 1 suppliers. The analysis is based on an evaluation of the procurement portfolio of the Council’s spend from April-December 2019. It looks at the spend categories in detail, and breaks down and explains key modern slavery risks. The final report includes the steps that we advise any purchasing organisation to take in order to understand and address the risk of modern slavery in its business and supply chains. It includes recommendations for managing modern slavery in procurement, and makes a number of recommendations on next steps for the Council to consider in their journey towards addressing the risk of modern slavery in their supply chains. 
 
 

Social Progress and Responsible Business Practice: Outland Denim in Cambodia

sewing-machine

Rights Lab project lead:  Kevin Bales
Funder: Outland Denim
Duration: October 2019-October 2020
Programme: Business and Economies

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Outland Denim was founded as an avenue for the training, employment, and career progression for women who had experienced exploitation. As part of these efforts, Outland employs, at their cut and sew facility in Cambodia, a number of survivors of modern slavery as well as other people who have faced exploitation and severe adversity. The Rights Lab explored and tested the interface between the goals and outcomes of Outland Denim, between its intentions and ambitions, and how those ambitions are realised alongside existing and emerging operational realities. The findings show that offering basic human rights, job and life skills training, and access to medical and psychological care has a positive domino effect on both the individual and the surrounding society: The study’s participants showed measurable change in education, health, housing, socio-economic standing, low debt load and higher savings frequency. They also reported feeling more empowered and ambitious for their children, and had detailed plans for the future. 
 
 

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Evidence Review of Modern Slavery Perpetration 

Communities and Society programme

Rights Lab project lead: Ben Brewster
Funder:  Research England
Duration:  January-July 2020
Programme: Communities and Society

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This systematic review of existing knowledge around modern slavery perpetration in the UK identified evidence gaps and highlighted ongoing research needs. It looked across the available literature and data sets on perpetrator demographics, motives, methods of recruitment and communication between perpetrators and victims, including online communication. We combined knowledge from publicly available reports, existing academic outputs and previously untapped data-sources, including police case reports, arrest and conviction data, police interviews, survivor narratives and data collected by the NCA, Home Office and MSPTU. The review focused in particular on online communities and the role they play in facilitating modern slavery, including the interactions between potential victims and perpetrators that take place online. 
 
 

A Localised Multi-Agency ‘Problem Profile’ of Modern Slavery in Nottinghamshire

Robin Hood

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner. In collaboration with the Nottinghamshire Modern Slavery Partnership.
Funder:  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: January-May 2020
Programme: Communities and Society

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Organisations engaged in the Nottinghamshire anti-slavery partnership contributed to a multi-agency intelligence picture, revealing insights into previously untapped and ‘hard to reach’ communities, enabling them to identify new areas of vulnerability and specific sites of risk. This newly-collated knowledge resulting from the problem profile is informing local place-based responses across Nottinghamshire: interventions that aid prevention, discovery, respite, recovery and the development of sustainable resilience. The next stage of the project expands the method to other localities 
 
 

The Survivor Transport Initiative 

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Rights Lab project lead: Deanna Davy. In collaboration with Hestia and with support from Transport for London. 
Funder: The Salvation Army
Duration: December 2019-August 2020
Programme: Law and Policy

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We completed a pilot project to provide free travel to 100 survivors in London. The purpose of the project was to understand more about the travel needs of people in the NRM in London, and the benefits of funded travel for people in the NRM. The survivor participants could use the funding (£50/fortnight, for three months) to travel for any purpose on the Transport for London rail/bus/tram/and riverboat network. We conducted aggregate (total) analysis of the Oyster card travel data of all the study participants, including the average costs of study participants’ travel journeys, the time of day of journeys, the frequency of travel, methods of travel (e.g. bus, train), and the zones of travel. 
 
 

A Modern Slavery Strategic Communications Campaign for the LATAC Region

Satellites

Rights Lab project lead: Katarina Schwarz
Funder:  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
Duration:  January-July 2020
Programme: Law and Policy

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This project increased awareness of critical modern slavery issues amongst key stakeholders in eight target LATAC countries (Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Dominican Republic) in a contextually-responsive manner. Evidence and network review mapped the state of knowledge. We identified key actors at multiple levels, challenges and obstacles in modern slavery awareness and action, and gaps in knowledge and appropriate mechanisms for engagement with each of these groups. This provided the foundation for the development of targeted resources tailored specifically to the different audiences identified, and bespoke dissemination and engagement plans that capitalise on existing channels and modes of communication used by the stakeholder groups, to maximise project impact. By increasing awareness, engagement, and uptake, this project increased the capacity of key stakeholders to identify and respond to modern slavery. Creating a roadmap for awareness and advocacy built from local engagement, this project also provided the foundation for broader advocacy and awareness raising across the LATAC region, and highlighted lessons learned for antislavery globally. 
 
 

The Clewer Initiative: An Appreciative Inquiry

Communities

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner
Funder: Birmingham-Nottingham Strategic Collaboration Fund
Duration:  August 2017-June 2020
Programme: Communities and Society

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The Clewer Initiative was created to enable Church of England dioceses to respond to modern slavery, by stimulating faith and community-led action to address exploitation. The project was funded for an initial three-year term to raise awareness of all forms of modern slavery, to increase detection and reporting, and improve victim support and care in the UK. The project was founded on the belief that ‘the tools to end modern slavery already exist within the local community and that the Church, which is present in all communities and at the heart of many, has a primary responsibility in leading these efforts.’ This evaluation presented a summary of the impact of the first three years of the Clewer Initiative, set against the dynamic and rapidly-developing context of anti-slavery work in the UK. As funding has recently been extended to enable work for up to ten further years, the report also identifies a number of challenges and opportunities for the project to consider as it moves forward. The report unfolds some of the issues and challenges in ways that can enable Clewer's work to grow in reach and in appropriate response. 
 
 

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Survivor Alliance: An Appreciative Inquiry

Survivors1

Rights Lab project lead:Vicky Brotherton
Funder: Research England
Duration:September-December 2020
Programme: Law and Policy

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We evaluated if and how the survivor-led NGO Survivor Alliance has influenced its key stakeholders and partners, including whether stakeholders have made any changes to their organisational culture, policy and practice as a result of engagement with Survivor Alliance; if and how the working relationship with Survivor Alliance can be strengthened going forward; and organisational aspirations for becoming more survivor-informed and survivor-led. 19 individuals responded to our inquiry. The ways in which Survivor Alliance had worked with respondents ranged from collaborating on research design and delivery, programme design, advising on campaigns, delivering training to event planning. When asked whether they had benefited from engaging with Survivor Alliance, participants were united in their positive response, and described improved individual and organisational knowledge regarding survivor involvement and survivor leadership, and increased confidence in undertaking this work; improved research, projects and programme design as a result of Survivor Alliance input; access to timely resources and a trusted source of knowledge and support for the antislavery sector; increased credibility and buy-in from NGO partners and funders for specific projects and for survivor involvement more generally.

 
 

The Sustainable Freedom Support Structure at the Salvation Army

Additional 7

Rights Lab project lead: Juliana Semione. In collaboration with the Salvation  Army.
Funder: The Salvation Army
Duration: October 2018-December 2020
Programme: Communities and Society

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This study examined the impact of the Sustainable Freedom Support Structure - a programme developed by a Rights Lab PhD candidate in collaboration with the Salvation Army to support survivors of slavery. The programme supports survivors in their self-identified needs or goals related to sustained freedom and community integration as they exit NRM support.
 
 

Corporate Visuals and the Representation of Labour

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Anne Touboulic
Funder: University of Nottingham Student Experience Fund
Duration: May-July 2020 
Programme: Business and Economies

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Completed in collaboration with student interns, this research explored how discourses around the issue of labour are communicated and constructed by large corporations. It examined how companies in the fashion, food, cosmetics and electronics industries represent labour in their supply chains through their own visual material. It also considered the implications of this representation. The resulting report highlighted how the corporations seek to ‘other’ workers in the supply chain to justify poorer working conditions than workers in office spaces, or do not refer to the supply chain at all. The report pointed to an inconsistency between the corporations’ narratives on their labour practices and their actions, and showed how corporations attempt to construct their own identities as a business or brand through visual sources.  

 
 

PaCCS Placement: Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

Communities

Rights Lab project lead: Juliana Semione
Funder: Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (PaCCS), UK Research and Innovation
Duration: January-July 2020
Programme: Communities and Society

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We worked with Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner during a PhD student placement to undertake a review of research being carried out into slavery and trafficking to establish to what extent research has had an impact, and suggest ways to obtain more impact from research. The work included discussions with relevant stakeholders; scoping of academic and non-academic literature; and writing report that has been used by the Commissioner to inform policy thinking.

 
 

The Impact of Brexit on the UK’s Legal Frameworks for Tackling Modern Slavery in Supply Chains

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Arianne Griffith. In collaboration with Baroness Lola Young. 
Funder: Research England
Duration: September 2019-May 2020

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This report focused on the key elements of the UK’s legal framework to protect workers against labour exploitation that have derived from EU Law and examining the impact of Brexit on these measures. It showed that the UK’s domestic implementation of various EU directives that aim to reduce the vulnerability of workers to exploitative labour practices forms an important part of the domestic legal anti-slavery framework. These include legal protections for seasonal, part-time and agency workers who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. The report highlighted two key ways in which the legal framework in the UK will change post-Brexit. Firstly, the requirement under EU Law for the UK to maintain protections will lapse. Parliament will have the power to amend, repeal and replace the existing provisions, but weakening of the existing legal protections will leave workers more vulnerable to exploitation. And secondly, the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the Court of Justice of the European Union will not guarantee the same positive influence on rights protection in national courts. 
 
 

Telling Stories: What Competing Narratives of Exploitation Tell Us About Emancipation

Additional 6

Rights Lab project lead: Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick
Funder: Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, Yale University
Duration: March-April 2020
Programme: Data and Measurement

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This Faculty Fellowship focused on developing a book manuscript that compares new paired interviews with contemporary enslaved people and slaveholders to show how significant changes are experienced differently by parties at opposite ends of status hierarchies. This perpetrator-survivor dyad data is unique in scholarship on contemporary slavery and the book project aims to transform how we think about human rights violations and collective action struggles, and to shift public policy approaches to contemporary slavery and human trafficking.

 
 

A Malaysian Garment Factory Intervention

Conflict

Rights Lab project lead: Emily Wyman
Funder: Transparentem
Duration: January-May 2020
Programme: Data and Measurement 

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This project provided a quantitative analysis of Transparentem’s (TTEM) work with a group of garment production factories in Malaysia. In late 2016 and 2017, TTEM investigated and documented labour abuses across a number of Malaysian garment production factories. The investigations revealed that 23 global brands have direct or indirect business connections with these factories. Starting in April 2018, Primary Intelligence Notes (PINs) detailing the specific abuses uncovered, and sets of recommendations aimed at addressing them, were shared with those 23 brands, and shared in some form with the five factories at which the abuses had been documented. The unique aspect of this intervention, compared to ‘naming and shaming’ interventions that have been used to tackle labour abuses in other commercial settings, was the granting of a ‘grace period’ to PIN recipients: temporary nondisclosure agreements were intended to allow time for remediation by brands and factories to begin and to be reported back to TTEM. PIN recipients were informed that, after this grace period, details of their responses to the PINs would be presented to investors, regulators and journalists, highlighting the potential reputational and commercial consequences of failure to remediate. A Consolidated Intelligence Report (CIR) qualitatively detailing and summarising the responses of all brands and factories to the PINs, as well as written communications received by TTEM in response to them, was then shared with key stakeholders. In 2019, the CIR was shared with the Rights Lab in order to undertake a quantitative analysis to produce an overview of brand responsivity to TTEM’s intervention. The specific focus of the analysis was on which categories of recommendation, and which specific recommendations within those categories, elicited stronger vs. weaker responsivity. The analysis also facilitated a comparative assessment of which brands responded most strongly vs. most weakly to the intervention. The final report made series of key recommendations for future interventions and for evaluations of TTEM projects.
 
 

 

The Links Between Human Trafficking and Environmental Degradation Associated with Deforestation

Ecosystem

Rights Lab project lead: Doreen Boyd. In collaboration with Verité. 
Funder: Verité
Duration:  October 2019-April 2020
Programme: Data and Measurement

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This project completed an analysis of the relationship between trafficking and environmental degradation, in order to recommend interventions that will mitigate worker vulnerability to trafficking in contexts affected by deforestation. The project focused on Mozambique, used tree cover loss prediction mapping to calculate past tree loss/gains, and linked trends in tree to ground intelligence (a process of “satelligence”) to enhance evidence of what is occurring in two particular areas of interest in the country (Tete Province and Niassa Province). The next stage of this project will look at tree loss due to modern slavery in additional countries.
 
 
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Analysis of Procurement Data for the Risk of Trafficking in Human Beings

symposium-header

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims. In collaboration with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Funder: Research England 
Duration:October 2019-March 2020  
Programme: Business and Economies

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The OSCE commissioned the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab to undertake an independent analysis of Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) risks that the OSCE Mission to Serbia might have in its Tier 1 suppliers. It was the first time such an evaluation was undertaken for the procurement portfolio of an inter-governmental organisation and set a pioneering milestone for procurement in inter-governmental organisations. It was explicitly produced to provide a basis for further debate, analysis and action on procurement practices and how THB risks can be addressed, and provided recommendations for managing risks of THB in supply chains.

 
 

Survivor Involvement in Anti-Slavery Policy Making

Survivors1

Rights Lab project lead:Vicky Brotherton. In collaboration with Survivor Alliance.
Funder: Research England
Duration:January-March 2020
Programme: Law and Policy

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We produced guidance to support local and national policy makers in government, business and public services who wish to involve survivors of modern slavery in their work, whether  in developing policy, legislation and guidance, or shaping and delivering services. The guidance provides an overview of some of the key questions to consider before involving survivors, practical tips to ensure your consultation meetings with survivors run smoothly,  and ideas for consultation follow-up. It offers a useful starting point for policy makers to help them develop an anti-slavery response that is truly survivor-informed. Although the guidance was produced in the UK and has a UK focus, it is intended for adaptation and use in other country contexts.

 
 

Evaluation of the By-Law Component of Anti-Slavery International’s Tanzanian Child Domestic Workers Project

Child slave

Rights Lab project lead: Caroline Emberson
Funder: Anti-Slavery International 
Duration:September-December 2019
Programme: Business and Economies

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We reviewed and analysed the process of drafting and adoption of district level by-laws, related to Child Domestic Workers (CDW) in Mwanza, Tanzania, and the intervention’s scalability and impact. This included identifying the critical components of the process of district level by-law drafting and adoption, and the enablers and inhibitors that may affect its replication and scalability to other Tanzanian districts and states. We also assessed the impact of the by-law process on CDW in two districts in Mwanza, and its replication and scalability to other Tanzanian districts and states.

 
 

 

Human Rights Due Diligence

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Arianne Griffith
Funder: FLOCERT
Duration: November-December 2019  
Programme: Business and Economies

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We delivered training commissioned by one of the world’s leading social auditing and verification bodies and the global certifier for Fairtrade. The training included an introduction to business and human rights, a deep dive on human rights due diligence, legislative developments on corporate accountability, and specific issues and roles for businesses within the anti-slavery agenda.

 
 

Scoping the Anti-Slavery Landscape

global slavery

Rights Lab project lead:Emily Wyman
Funder: Anti-Slavery International 
Duration: August-October 2019
Programme: Law and Policy

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To inform the development of Anti-Slavery International's 2020-2025 strategy, we delivered research that identified the strategic challenges facing the global endeavour to end slavery; what needs to change to overcome those challenges; key actors already working or planning work to bring those changes about; key recommendations on which of the challenges Anti-Slavery International may wish to prioritise; and how Anti-Slavery International can add value as a global campaigning charity working in partnership with others

 
 

The Antislavery Usable Past

Slavery from the past

Rights Lab project lead: Kevin Bales. In collaboration with the University of Hull and Queens University Belfast.
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: September 2014-August 2019
Programme: Law and Policy

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This project provided the contemporary global antislavery movement with a usable past of history's antislavery examples and methods. We brought to the present the important lessons from antislavery movements and policies of the past, and helped translate those lessons into effective tools for policy makers, civil society, and citizens. We identified, theorised and embedded antislavery as a protest memory for contemporary abolitionism, focusing in particular on how antislavery organisations deploy survivors' voices and imagery.

 
 

Modern Slavery: Meaning and Measurement

modern-day-slavery-3

Rights Lab project lead: Kevin Bales. In collaboration with the University of Hull and Queens University Belfast.
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: September 2014-August 2019  
Programme: Data and Measurement

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The first project aim was to establish the meaning of modern slavery, bringing usability and clarity to the different needed types of definitions; specifically legal, operational, and popular definitions. We brought the perspectives and participation of contemporary survivors of slavery into the study through collecting survivor narratives first hand and introducing topics of definition into new interviews with survivors. The second project aim was to advance the measurement of modern slavery. We further tested the application of Multiple Systems Estimation techniques to the hidden population of slavery and trafficking victims, this time in the regional setting of Central Florida, USA, as a case study.

 
 

 

The Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

balance

Rights Lab project lead: Andrea Nicholson
Funder: Research England
Duration: November 2018-July 2019
Programme: Law and Policy

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We completed a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill proposed by Lord McColl that would extend support for modern slavery survivors from 45 days to one year. Launched in Parliament in July 2019, the CBA challenged assumptions that the Bill would impose costs. We found that if the Bill had been passed in 2017 there would have been a net overall benefit (direct and indirect) of between £10.4m and £25.1m. The CBA also helped to transform how the UK Government supports slavery victims. It was used by Duncan Lewis Solicitors in a judicial review claim that challenged the Home Office policy of limiting victim support to 45 days. Upon receipt of the evidence, the Home Office settled the challenge, conceded that the 45-day policy was incompatible with the European Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and agreed to introduce a needs-based system.

 
 

The Interaction of Law and Supply Chain Management in Cross-Judicial Supply Chains: Supply Chain Effectiveness of Modern Slavery Legislation

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims. In collaboration with the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), the Corporate Responsibility Coalition (CORE) and Repórter Brasil.
Funder: British Academy 
Duration: November 2017-March 2019 
Programme: Business and Economies

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We compared UK-Brazil supply chains in the timber and the beef sectors, in order to understand the impact of key differences on the implementation of anti-slavery measures: the fact that global business supply chains span over different countries with differing legal systems and distinct market features, and the fact that structures of supply chains vary drastically across sectors, as do their market characteristics. We found that where modern slavery legislation carries punitive sanctions, it is effective in incentivising companies to comply with anti-slavery rules. We also found that major market players’ leadership on the implementation of anti-slavery measures is crucial to the effective spread of these measures across the industry sector, as is commercial pressure from large UK buyers and the inclusion of social sustainability criteria in investment indices – rather than consumer pressure. Finally, we highlighted that features of the goods and the sectors, and whether the products are produced for lesser controlled domestic markets or foreign markets in a more transparent way, could fundamentally shape the overall implementation of anti-slavery policies.

 
 

Modern Slavery – Everyone’s Business?

Economic

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner 
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: October 2018-February 2019
Programme: Communities and Society

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We designed and delivered pilot workshops and associated training materials for SMEs, helping them to meet emerging obligations under the Modern Slavery Act. The project raised awareness of modern slavery and the role of SME businesses in addressing the issue, designed and tested a training offer to assist Nottinghamshire SMEs to support their customers’ compliance under the Modern Slavery Act, encouraged businesses to engage with local community anti-slavery initiatives beyond their basic compliance with the legislation, and provided a model for a knowledge exchange business network on modern slavery.

 
 

Prototype Development of a Risk Evaluation Tool for Modern Slavery in Supply Chains

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims
Funder: Hermes Fellowship  
Duration: January-July 2019 
Programme: Business and Economies

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We built and tested a new risk evaluation tool using private sector data as a part of a key industry collaboration. Our industry partner identified a market to provide their clients with evaluations of their exposure to modern slavery, and contributed data from their global risk databases. The prototype tool analysed risk exposure in operations and supply chains, as part of a wider management process that helps to prevent, mitigate against and respond to the risk of modern slavery.

 
 

Prototype Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Mechanism

Law and Policy project

Rights Lab project lead:  Katarina Schwarz. In collaboration with City Hearts.
Funder: Hermes Fellowship
Duration: January-April 2019  
Programme: Law and Policy

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We completed a pilot antislavery monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) project with sector input, tested our approach with our NGO partner, and delivered an overall antislavery MEL framework for future use. The work included framework design, test within an existing City Hearts project, and a final report on the intervention and MEL design. 

 
 

Assessment of Government Responses to Modern Slavery

ipad

Rights Lab project lead: Katarina Schwarz
Funder: Minderoo Foundation
Duration:December 2018-May 2019  
Programme:  Law and Policy

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We completed data collection and analysis for the Walk Free “Measurement, Action, Freedom” report, launched in July 2019 at the United Nations. This report analysed how governments from across the globe are responding to the problem of 40.3 million people living in modern slavery and is the world’s most comprehensive assessment of government action on the issue of modern slavery. The Rights Lab completed data collection for 159 countries across a large number of datapoints and against a conceptual framework. The research involved two stages: data collection through a recommended hierarchy of sources, and outreach to NGOs.

 
 

Develop 8.7: What We Know about the Impacts of Anti-Slavery Programming

Ecosystems and the Environment

Rights Lab project lead: Jessica Sparks  In collaboration with the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research.
Funder: Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
Duration: July-December 2019  
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment

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This project established a clear case for the global development community to prioritize anti-slavery and anti-trafficking in development programming and policies. The Rights Lab delivered research for a report by the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research that answers the question: how can fighting slavery contribute to sustainable development? This included a case study on the fisheries sector: slavery issues in the sector globally and how they relate to development challenges; development interventions to address modern slavery; and new ways to think about modern slavery in the fisheries sector from a development perspective, with the identification of possible development intervention points.

 
 

Develop 8.7: What We Know About the Impacts of Anti-Slavery Programming

Law and Policy project

Rights Lab project lead:Katarina Schwarz 
Funder: Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) 
Duration: July-December 2019 
Programme: Law and Policy

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This project established a clear case for the global development community to prioritize anti-slavery and anti-trafficking in development programming and policies. The Rights Lab delivered research for a report by the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research that answers the question: how can fighting slavery contribute to sustainable development? This included an evidence gap map, covering relevant grey and academic literature, showing what we know about the impacts of slavery and anti-slavery programming on public revenues; corruption; improved productivity; costs of capital; terms of trade; social protection; public health; and inequality.

 
 

Agriculture and Modern Slavery Act Reporting

Business and Economies programme

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims. In collaboration with the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
Funder: British Academy
Duration:July 2018-October 2019
Programme: Business and Economies

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The Rights Lab and the Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner analysed agricultural companies’ compliance with the Modern Slavery Act (MSA), and produced two reports: a baseline assessment in October 2018, and a follow-up and updated analysis of progress across the sector in October 2019. This research found poor reporting and low levels of action by the UK agricultural sector on modern slavery. For example, in 2018, only 50% of agricultural companies which should be reporting under the Act had done so one year after the requirements came into force. Only 38% of these statements were compliant with the requirements of the law, meaning overall only 19% of the agricultural sector was abiding by the terms of the Act. In 2019, 89% of agricultural companies had published a modern slavery statement, but only 46% of these statements were compliant with the requirements of the law, meaning overall only 41% of the agricultural sector was abiding by the terms of the Act. The quality of content in agricultural companies’ modern slavery statements declined from 2017 to 2018, and declined again in 2019. The reports included key recommendations for action from businesses and government.

 
 

Child Slavery 

Child slave

Rights Lab project lead: Andrea Nicholson
Funder:Office of the United High Commissioner for Human Rights 
Duration:April-July 2019   
Programme: Data and Measurement

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We analysed child slavery from a human rights perspective and provided practical measures for States and other stakeholders on how to end it. This research included definitions of child slavery, an analysis of its root causes and characteristics, an assessment of which countries and economic sectors child slavery continues to manifest itself and what action States haven taken to prevent and address it, a mapping of current initiatives against child slavery, an assessment of good practices and lessons learnt, and recommendations on how to end child slavery in policy and practice.

 
 

Measuring Modern Slavery

Measuring

Rights Lab project lead: Kevin Bales
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration:August 2018-July 2019  
Programme: Data and Measurement

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Funding from the ESRC Outstanding International Impact Prize for 2018 recognised Professor Bales' work to adapt and deploy Multiple Systems Estimation (MSE) to provide reliable estimates of modern slavery, including his further applications of MSE in a regional US context. The Impact Prize award enabled further development and validation of the MSE approach, producing estimates that can serve as the basis for a reconsideration of policy and enforcement in numerous countries.

 
 

 

Labour Exploitation Education and Awareness

additional 6a

Rights Lab project lead: Alison Gardner. In collaboration with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and Boston College.
Funder: University of Nottingham Student Experience Fund
Duration: January-June 2019
Programme: Communities and Society

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Completed in collaboration with a student intern, our evaluation of a GLAA project found it was an effective intervention. In 2018-19, Boston College was the first college in the UK to work with the GLAA in embedding the subject of modern slavery and labour exploitation across its range of academic and vocational courses. The year-long course saw all 1,500 college students given a tutorial on workers’ rights and a guide to spotting the signs of modern slavery. An Employment Rights and Responsibilities Week provided students with practical sessions designed to equip them with knowledge about how to protect themselves from exploitation. The intervention was effective in achieving the intended outcome of increasing awareness of labour exploitation. We also found that independent research and engagement in applied projects resulted in the strongest understanding of the mechanisms of labour exploitation, and that some students became advocates of fair treatment at work, and more aware of indicators of vulnerability in their community. Our report included recommendations for future development of the intervention, particularly in relation to course materials, teaching methods and content, and ensuring that students are supported to report potential labour abuses.

 
 

The Safe Car Wash App

iphone

Rights Lab project lead: Akilah Jardine. In collaboration with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and the Church of England Clewer Initiative. 
Funder: The British Academy
Duration:February 2018-April 2019
Programme: Business and Economies

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We analysed the data from a new app launched by the Church of England, after also helping to design and launch the app in June 2018. The app enables drivers to respond to a checklist of key factors that may suggest modern slavery or labour exploitation in hand car washes. Our research into the app's data, published in April 2019, looked at reports of potential cases from June-December 2018: there was 2271 completed entries using the app, and 41%, or 930 reports, revealed a likelihood of modern slavery at the hand car wash. Half of all reports showed that workers did not have access to suitable protective clothing, and one in 10 logged that children were working on site. We found that the Safe Car Wash app shows the potential value of using technology in raising public awareness and leveraging the insight of the community to gather the necessary intelligence for effective investigations.

 
 

Vulnerability of Child Labour in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh

Child slave

Rights Lab project lead: Doreen Boyd
Funder:The Freedom Fund 
Duration: November 2018-March 2019  
Programme: Data and Measurement

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We analysed predictive factors for child labour in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India. Different predictive geographical data were layered to identify priority areas and create a combined vulnerability score to map. This included work to identify predictors of child labour within a household survey, use proxy datasets for the predictors identified to create a map of child labour vulnerability, identify the significance of geographical differences in the prevalence of child labour, Identify village amenities that might predict child labour vulnerability. Results included that distances to the nearest drinking water and the nearest town are highly significant predictors. The project supported the Freedom Fund's scoping study for a renewal of its programme in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which began in 2014, in order to focus future interventions within targeted districts more effectively.

 

 
 

Slavery-Free Business Practice

Business and Economies programme

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims
Funder: Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) 
Duration: September-December 2018  
Programme: Business and Economies

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We completed a global scoping of the market for a new slavery risk assessment tool in countries that are about to, or have recently, legislated against modern slavery. We also sought insight into the potential uptake of our risk assessment tool with corporate partners. The project let us understand the applicability and utility of this tool for businesses, and how to support businesses to go beyond minimal compliance to become global leaders in slavery-free practice.

 
 

Labour Exploitation in Hand Car Washes

carwash

Rights Lab project lead:Akilah Jardine. In collaboration with the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
Funder: The British Academy
Duration: March-October 2018  
Programme: Business and Economies

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We examined true extent and nature of modern slavery and human trafficking in hand car washes in the UK. A research report provided a better understanding of the type and prevalence of labour exploitation in hand car washes and the challenges and approaches to tackling it. We used new surveys of police forces and other agencies in combination with an analysis of existing research and data. Among other findings, we identified that labour violations are widespread in hand car washes across the UK; conditions of work, accommodation and methods of control vary significantly; and stricter enforcement of current regulations are required.

 
 

Modern Slavery, Environmental Destruction and Climate Change

nature-2671900_1280

Rights Lab project lead: Doreen Boyd. In collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London, and the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
Funder:Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development
Duration: January-October 2018 
Programme: Ecosystems and the Environment

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We synthesised, reviewed and assessed the current state of research on the nexus between modern slavery, environmental destruction and climate change, and brought together previously disparate literature as part of a holistic framework. The research offered insight into existing trends in the extant literature and highlighted potential future research directions. We conceptualised a cyclical, two-way nexus between modern slavery, climate change and environmental destruction: modern slavery practices contribute to further multiscalar environmental destruction and perpetuate climate change, while the increasing environmental pressures associated with climate change in the Global South exacerbate existing vulnerabilities to exploitative labour practices. The nexus emerged in the literature sectorally and in relation to specific geographic locations and the review was accordingly structured around four main sectors: fisheries, fields, forests and factories. 

 
 

Modern Slavery Research: The UK Picture

UK

Rights Lab project lead:Sir Bernard Silverman. In collaboration with the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. 
Funder:Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration:March 2017-April 2018
Programme: Data and Measurement

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We examined what research is being undertaken about modern slavery in the UK and what research we still need. We released a call for submissions on recent and current research about slavery and slavery-related practices. The call focused on slavery in the UK and/or research by UK researchers. A report used the 59 submissions provided by researchers as well as additional desk-based research to map the UK’s current research landscape for modern slavery. It identified a significant evidence base in the areas of prevalence estimation, supply chains, and legislation, for example, and particular gaps in areas that included of risks and vulnerabilities, offenders, and international interventions. The project included a report and companion website.  

 
 

Slavery from Space

earth

Rights Lab project lead: Doreen Boyd. In collaboration with DigitalGlobe.
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration:October 2017-March 2018  
Programme: Data and Measurement

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A Rights Lab researcher was seconded with funding to work with the satellite data company DigitalGlobe on developing machine learning analytics of its imagery of brick kilns across Asia. This included research into crowdsourcing technologies and the integration of machine learning and crowd-sourcing approaches to the analysis of geospatial data, as well as establishing a training dataset for further machine learning development. 

 
 

Satellite Remote Sensing of Sites Associated with Slavery

brick kilns

Rights Lab project lead: Giles Foody
Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Duration:October 2017-March 2018  
Programme: Data and Measurement

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We produced maps of sites associated with modern slavery across a large area and estimates of the sites’ impact on atmospheric properties (aerosols/black soot and carbon that impact negatively on health and contribute to global warming). The pilot focused on kilns used in the manufacture of bricks in the Brick Belt area across Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh, and generated information on where slavery occurs and its impacts on atmospheric chemistry.

 

 

 

Remote Sensing to Inform Sustainable Development

Women carrying bricks

Rights Lab project lead: Giles Foody
Funder: British Academy 
Duration: July-December 2018  
Programme: Data and Measurement

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This British Academy Visiting Fellowship used a set of remote sensing imagery to map brick kilns, which are strongly associated with slavery, across the ‘Brick Belt’ of India. A key feature was the use of deep learning methods. First we mapped the location of brick kilns using Google Earth high spatial resolution satellite imagery. Then we calculated the age of each brick kiln using the time series of medium spatial resolution satellite imagery, and generated maps showing the spatial distribution of kilns over time.

 
 

 

Understanding and Tackling Slave Labour in Contemporary Supply Chains

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims
Funder: British Academy
Duration: April 2016-March 2018  
Programme: Business and Economies

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Slavery poses a challenge to strategic purchasing and supply chain management. Solutions for detecting and eliminating slavery within  supply chains must leverage capabilities on a firm, supply chain, and business-non-business partnership level, while accounting for institutional conditions related to the industry as well as socio-cultural, regulatory and geographic context. The length, complexity, and fragmented nature of international supply chains mean that conventional compliance-based approaches are unlikely to be effective. Developing knowledge and conceptual understanding of slavery in supply chains, this project used a two-step qualitative empirical research approach comprising three rounds of Delphi study and three focus groups. The results served decision-makers in business, politics and society.

 
 

Slavery Impact Assessment Tools for Industry

Supply chains

Rights Lab project lead: Alexander Trautrims
Funder: Hermes Fellowship  
Duration:October 2016-October 2017
Programme: Business and Economies

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Working with key industry collaborators, we scoped a range of risk assessment tools for businesses in the area of modern slavery risk, including mechanisms for establishing industry-wide approaches to eliminating slavery from consortium members’ supply chains. We then developed an initial concept for risk assessment aimed at supplier selection in particular, with multiple and weighted criteria. This formed the basis for different tailored versions of our risk assessment tool that we continue to deploy with a range of partners. 

 
 

 

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