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Slavery Research Bulletin: 15 February 2023

February 15, 2023

Welcome to the Freedom Fund’s monthly bulletin designed to bring you new and compelling research from the global anti-slavery movement.

Institutional barriers preventing US survivors from healing and thriving

Polaris presents the findings of the first National Survivor Study, based on 457 survey responses from self-identified survivors of trafficking. The study highlights the exclusion of survivors by the judicial and financial systems, hindering their pursuit of independence. Family courts frequently ruled against survivors in child custody decisions, with 51 percent of respondents who pursued this route losing their case. Mainstream financial systems also posed barriers for survivors, with 10 percent of respondents unable to open a bank account, twice as high as compared to the general US population.

Lack of legal advice and its subsequent effects on survivors

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law and Unseen UK reports on the damaging effects of a lack of access to quality legal advice for survivors of modern slavery in the UK. Drawing on consultations with survivors plus inputs from over 60 other stakeholders, the study explores how timely, trauma-informed legal advice can reduce the number of costly appeals and improve legal outcomes for survivors in immigration, asylum, formal identification and referral procedures.

A worrying decline in victim identification

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) issues its latest Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Using official statistics from 141 countries and summaries of 800 court cases, it reveals a 11 percent decline in the number of detected victims, the first drop in 20 years. Rather than reflecting a real reduction in victimisation, it suggests that covid-19 has potentially pushed trafficking further underground while constraining law enforcement efforts.  As new forms of exploitation emerge, boys and men now make up a growing share (40 percent) of detected victims.

Labour intermediaries in Nepal’s adult entertainment sector

The Institute of Development Studies investigates Nepal’s adult entertainment sector (AES) through the perspectives of labour intermediaries. Through observations of activities in AES areas plus 90 interviews, the study argues that indiscriminately labelling these venues as ‘adult entertainment’ and as sites of trafficking leads to marginalisation of these venue owners, workers and labour intermediaries. Instead, it recommends greater inclusion of these parties into the regulated economy and to work constructively with them to promote decent work.

Practical guidance for frontline responders in the ASEAN region

The ASEAN-Australia Counter Trafficking program releases a guide for frontline responders in the region who are involved in assisting and protecting victims of trafficking. Drawing on contributions from 263 experts, the guide emphasises the principle of “do no harm” and respecting survivor’s own assessment of benefits and risks when deciding if and what form of assistance is needed. It also stresses the use of non-coercive practices, such as making access to support not contingent on survivor’s willingness to participate in legal proceedings.

Read on

Justice and Care examines the intricate linkages between large-scale migration and trafficking, and the increasing effects of armed conflict and climate change.

Fairtrade launches a new tool to help retailers and suppliers identify potential human rights violations and environmental harm across their global supply chains.

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development critiques the growing trend of Gender Impact Investing (GII), estimated to raise roughly US$ 6 billion per year.

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Research library

Visit our Slavery Research Library to access anti-slavery resources from across the globe.


Our team would love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].

The Slavery Research Bulletin is produced monthly by the Freedom Fund, a global fund with the sole aim of helping end modern slavery.

Research being featured in this bulletin does not equal endorsement by the Freedom Fund.

Written by
The Freedom Fund