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Slavery Research Bulletin: 15 January 2021

January 15, 2021

Welcome to the Slavery Research Bulletin, the Freedom Fund’s monthly brief designed to bring you new & compelling research from the global anti-slavery movement.

Uncovering forced labour in the fishing industry using satellite data

A study by the University of California uses satellite data to identify forced labour in the fishing industry. Combining satellite fishing vessel monitoring data with case histories of forced labour, the study found ships with reports of forced labour moved in ways systematically different to other vessels. From this, machine learning was used to build a model of vessel behaviour indicating a high risk of forced labour. When this model was applied to a sample of over 16,000 vessels, 14 to 26 percent of ships demonstrated behaviour associated with a high risk of forced labour.

Developing national action plans on forced labour

The International Labour Organization released a toolkit on developing national action plans to combat forced labour. Aimed at policy makers, civil society and stakeholders, the toolkit provides a roadmap and examples of how to build on existing frameworks to formulate national action plans. The toolkit also covers key forced labour definitions, how to mainstream forced labour topics and how to build an effective evidence base for national action plans.

Prosecuting women and girls who are both victims and perpetrators

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports on the prosecution of victims and survivors of trafficking who are also alleged perpetrators. The report analysed criminal justice law from 53 trafficking legal cases internationally between 2006 and 2020 to understand the treatment of female victims and survivors accused of trafficking offences. Victims were often used by traffickers to commit further crime, including recruiting new individuals, maintaining control of other trafficked individuals and collecting the proceeds from exploitation. In 25 percent of cases, the victim being prosecuted was concurrently experiencing gender-based violence themselves.

Covid-19 and building cross-sectoral support for workers

A new report from Resonance and USAID explores opportunities to “build back better” protection for workers following covid-19. As the pandemic has increased vulnerabilities globally to trafficking and exploitation, the report examines the supply chain pressures undermining workers’ rights, the challenges in detecting exploitation and how to address these issues through cross-sectoral initiatives. The report highlights collaboration opportunities between businesses to build back more equitable supply chains.

Employing survivors of human trafficking

The Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking provides a guide on employing survivors of exploitation. It describes the experiences and needs of survivors, the impetus for businesses to engage survivors in employment, actions that facilitate safe and empowering working conditions and how best to integrate survivors with larger workforces. Examples of survivor employment programs and organisations supporting survivors are highlighted in the report.

Read on…

  • The Australian Government released their five year national action plan to combat modern slavery
  • An Oxford University study highlights the impact of covid-19 on female garment workers in Ethiopia.
  • An assessment by Laudes Foundation on improving transparency in supply chains for the Bangladesh apparel sector.

And finally…

Watch our video about Freedom Rising, the Freedom Fund’s newly launched effort to build an anti-trafficking movement led by women and survivors.

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News & updates

For more news and updates about the Freedom Fund, visit our Newsroom. You can also view archived issues of our bulletin here.

Written by
Nuri Weitzman