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Slavery Research Bulletin: 15 June 2021

June 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.

A norms campaign to reduce sexual exploitation of minors in Nepal

The University of Hong Kong evaluates a media campaign implemented as part of the Freedom Fund’s central Nepal program. The campaign, 18minus, targeted male customers who frequent adult entertainment venues in Kathmandu, where sexual exploitation of children is known to take place. Based on surveys with 1,204 customers between baseline and endline, the evaluation found the campaign raised awareness of exploitation in venues but had less effect on wider norms that lead to the sexualisation of young girls.

Global trends in child labour

UNICEF and the International Labour Organization released their annual global report on child labour. Using 106 national datasets, covering nearly two thirds of the global population of 5 to 17 year olds, the report estimates that 160 million children are in child labour globally, with 79 million involved in hazardous work. As a result of the covid-19 pandemic, 9 million more children are predicted to be in child labour by the end of 2022.

International brands and forced labour in southern India

SOMO and Arisa investigate the pervasiveness of forced labour in Tamil Nadu’s spinning mills. Interviewing 725 workers across 29 spinning mills, the researchers found indicators of forced labour in all mills studied, including deceptive recruitment, wage theft, abusive working conditions and forced overtime. Ten international garment brands were directly linked to the 29 mills where conditions of forced labour were evident.

Forced labour among Indonesian migrant fishers

Greenpeace and Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia document abuse of Indonesian migrant workers in the fishing industry. Focusing on 62 complaints filed from 2019 to 2020, the research linked these cases to 45 vessels belonging to companies from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Cote d’Ivoire and Nauru. Of the cases studied, 82 percent reported abusive living and working conditions, 87 percent reported withholding of wages and 80 percent reported deceptive recruitment.

Local-global partnerships for strategic anti-slavery litigation

The Remedy Foundation and the Freedom Fund highlight opportunities and barriers to local participation in anti-slavery litigation. Based on interviews with stakeholders in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, the study examined the vital role of local groups working with international actors on litigation for corporate accountability. Despite landmark cases in these countries, local organisations still had few pathways to connect with actors from the Global North. Interviewees also emphasised the risks of violence and harassment faced by local groups seeking litigation.

Read on…

  • Walk Free reports on using machine learning to analyse modern slavery statements.
  • The NEXUS Institute publishes a practitioner guide for identifying victims of trafficking.
  • Know The Chain’s 2021 benchmark report on forced labour in apparel and footwear.

And finally…

Our CEO Nick Grono spoke with Denver Frederick in the Business of Giving podcast about why modern slavery is so pervasive and what is being done to address it.

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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