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The Slavery Research Bulletin: Issue 18, February 2017

February 15, 2017

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.

High rates of mental health problems amongst bonded labourers

A Freedom Fund-commissioned survey of 90 agricultural bonded labourers in south-eastern Nepal finds that 61% reported symptoms suggesting clinical depression and 47% reported some level of suicidal intentions. The report calls for improving livelihood and lending options, mental health awareness and collective action in bonded labourer communities.

The devastating human and environmental costs behind brick making

A systematic review by the ILO highlights the growing scale and devastating effects of the brick kiln industry, driven by urbanisation and the global construction boom. In South Asia alone, the sector employs roughly 4 million adults and 1 million children, with an estimated two-thirds in bonded or forced labour.

Homelessness organisations crucial for identifying victims of slavery

A survey of 61 homelessness organisations in England by The Passage concludes that referral procedures between NGOs and government agencies are insufficient. Despite proven links between slavery and homelessness, only half of the surveyed organisations have referred suspected cases to the police.

Early marriage causes intergenerational educational inequality

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and University of Surrey explain how, in Sub-Saharan Africa, children born to child brides are 5-11% less likely to ever attend school. For children that do attend, they are on average 2-6% less likely to complete primary education.

The promise of FDI sees a ‘race to the bottom’ in labour practices

Academics from the University College Dublin used data from 148 developing countries to assess the link between foreign direct investment (FDI) and labour standards. They conclude that competition for FDI among developing economies tends to drive down labour practices, not only in the recipient country but also in neighbouring countries.

Read on…

  • A study by Praxis and Partners in Change finds high prevalence of child labour in Rajasthan, India, particularly in brick kilns, small factories, agriculture and stone quarries.
  • An article in the Journal of International Women’s Studies argues that women’s rights in Bangladesh are violated due to the near absence of trade unions.
  • Research by Mzumbe University in Tanzania shows how harmful cultural practices continue to undermine anti-trafficking laws and governmental actions in African countries.

And finally…

The Anti-Trafficking Review calls for papers for a themed issue entitled ‘Life after Trafficking’. Submit by 9 July 2017.

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Written by
The Freedom Fund