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Pathways to justice: How grassroots organisations are harnessing the law to tackle modern slavery

May 23, 2019

In 2016 approximately 40 million people were living in situations of modern slavery. Yet in the same year, fewer than 10,000 perpetrators of modern slavery crimes were convicted. The gulf between these two figures highlights the immense challenges faced by the global movement to end modern slavery.

To date, governments and private donors have concentrated their assistance on criminal justice efforts to bridge this gap. Anti-slavery initiatives have therefore focused on improving law enforcement and judicial responses. These efforts are critical to tackling modern slavery by remedying rights violations and creating a deterrence effect for would-be traffickers.

However, criminal justice is only one element of the fight against modern slavery. A new report, “Pathways to Justice: How frontline organisations are harnessing the law to tackle modern slavery, highlights alternative legal interventions that have attracted less attention and fewer resources from the global anti-slavery community, yet have a crucial role in combatting this scourge. Drawing from the legal work being carried out by the Freedom Fund’s NGO partners, the report documents some of the lessons learned from their interventions, with the aim of broadening understanding of the need to consider legal solutions beyond criminal justice.

Photo credit: Alice Smeets, © Legatum Limited 2019

Written by
The Freedom Fund