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Slavery Research Bulletin: 16 May 2022

May 16, 2022

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

Ukrainian refugees’ face growing risk of human trafficking

The Freedom Fund and La Strada International publishes a rapid assessment on current gaps in anti-trafficking response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Drawing on desk research plus interviews with over 50 experts, frontline volunteers and refugees, the study calls for urgent investments into national referral mechanisms, stronger vetting of organisations and people who are offering assistance, and official websites that promote verified job opportunities for refugees to reduce risks of labour exploitation.

Laundering of conflict minerals through due diligence schemes

Global Witness shares evidence on how the International Tin Supply Chain Initiative (ITSCI)—which allegedly ensures the traceability of minerals from inspected mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo—has actually been used to launder minerals from sites where exploitation takes place. Through field research covering ten mining areas, including interviews with over 90 individuals and video records, the investigation shows how minerals from mines linked to human rights abuses enter the Initiative’s supply chain.

Gender bias in Brazilian anti-slavery efforts

Research led by the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro examines the underrepresentation of women and girls amongst identified victims in Brazil. Based on a secondary analysis of three government datasets, in Brazil women and girls represent only five percent of identified victims, in contrast to global statistics where females makeup between 65 and 73 percent of modern slavery victims. The authors assert that the Brazilian government’s narrow focus on labour exploitation is leading to a biased anti-slavery response that favours male over female victims.

Ongoing impact of covid-19 on Indian fashion supply chains

A report by University of Leeds and Goa Institute of Management, India assesses the ongoing impact of covid-19 on modern slavery risks across Indian fashion supply chains. Based on interviews with 41 suppliers and 15 fashion brands conducted before and during the pandemic, the study reveals an improvement in brand-supplier relationships, with brands more committed to ethical trading and modern slavery reporting. Developing fairer commercial terms for suppliers and strengthening workers’ voices were highlighted as key recommendations.

Analysis of modern slavery statements by Australian companies

International Justice Mission reports findings from an analysis of 404 modern slavery statements produced by Australian businesses. The study reveals that 72 percent of companies did not report risks beyond first tier suppliers and only 41 percent described having a remedial process for workers in their supply chain. Recommendations include engaging stakeholders from affected communities and partnering with governments in high-risk source regions to improve judicial responses.

Read on…

  • Report by UN Women outlines the role of feminist and women’s movements in ending violence against women and girls.
  • Researchers from Stanford University reveal global risks associated with labour abuse on fishing vessels involved in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
  • A team from University of Washington identifies factors that led to children in Namibia disclosing and seeking help for sexual and physical violence.

And finally

The Freedom Fund has published our latest 2021 Annual Impact Report. With our support, frontline partners have positively affected over 1.2 million lives. Read here.

News & updates

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


Our team would love to hear from you. Please email: [email protected]

Photo: Logan Abassi / UN Photo

Written by
The Freedom Fund