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Fighting slavery from every angle

The Rights Lab was created in response to target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): to end slavery in every corner of the world by 2030.

The Rights Lab is supporting this mission through social science: its data-driven research is informing the robust, evidence-based strategies that governments need to deliver abolition, and secure a humane, productive future for the liberated.

Rights Lab experts have also advised the UN on how the global community can better share knowledge. Its scholars - sociologists, political scientists, geographers and historians, mathematicians and statisticians, experts in law, business and education - are fighting slavery from every angle: whether exposing it in developed countries through scrutiny of supply chains, or mapping slavery from space in countries with fish farms, brick-making kilns or deforestation camps.

"The University of Nottingham will play a key role in ending slavery."
Professor Zoe Trodd

Closer to home, the Rights Lab examines slavery as an issue on our doorstep and is working with police, businesses and the community to establish Nottingham as the UK’s first slavery-free city.

The University also leads the world by putting survivors’ voices at the heart of the antislavery movement. The Rights Lab has assembled an unprecedented database of contemporary slave testimonies; this informs policymakers and increases understanding of why and where slavery persists. It is incubating the Survivor Alliance, an NGO empowering survivors of modern slavery around the world to play an active role as community leaders and experts in a range of fields, as well as shaping antislavery programmes.

Professor Zoe Trodd, Director of the Rights Lab, said: “To help achieve UN SDG target 8.7, we are working as part of a global community of policymakers, civil society actors and businesses with a shared vision of ending slavery in our lifetime. I am proud that the University of Nottingham will play a key role in ending slavery.


40.3 million people enslaved around the world

15.4 million in forced marriage

24.9 million in forced labour

$354 billion dollars of imports by G20 countries ‘at risk’ of links to slavery. Source: 2018 Global Slavery Index

4 Rights Lab researchers in top 100 2018 UK modern slavery influencers

1.2 billion audience reach for the Rights Lab print, online, broadcast and media coverage in 2017/18

200+ local, national and international individuals or organisations in the Rights Lab partner network

The Rights Lab

The Rights Lab is one of the University of Nottingham’s Beacons of Excellence: mission-driven research programmes that focus on global challenges including green transport, food security, securing low-carbon economies, smart manufacturing and precision medical imaging.

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