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The Slavery Research Bulletin: Issue 45, May 2019

May 15, 2019

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.

The garment industry is given a C+ grade

Baptist World Aid’s annual Ethical Fashion Report sheds light on what fashion companies are doing to address forced labour, child labour and exploitation. The 2019 report found positive improvements in 49 of the 130 companies assessed. However, significant gaps remain, as only 5 percent of companies were paying a living wage to all workers.

Aggressive purchasing practices leading to abuse in apparel factories

A report by Human Rights Watch argues that fashion brands’ poor sourcing and purchasing practices are leading to rampant labour abuses in apparel factories, undercutting efforts to hold suppliers accountable for their abusive practices. While many brands demand their suppliers respect workers’ rights, in practice factories are financially incentivised to do the opposite.

Extreme exploitation of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon

Lebanon is home to over 250,000 migrant domestic workers who work in private households. Based on interviews with 32 women migrant domestic workers, Amnesty International uncovered a significant and consistent pattern of abuse, such as employers forcing them to work long hours, withholding their pay and depriving them of food and proper accommodation.

Designing technology for vulnerable migrant workers

A paper by United Nations University describes the design process for Apprise, a mobile app to support the identification of human trafficking victims on Thai fishing vessels. A number of features in the app were developed specifically for marginalised, low-literacy workers to seek help while protecting their privacy and safety.

Shutting down Backpage changed the U.S. commercial sex industry reviews the online disruption following last year’s shutdown of Backpage, the dominant online commercial sex marketplace in the United States which is thought to be fuelling sex trafficking. It finds that as a consequence of the shutdown, there are signals that suggest demand and supply for commercial sex may be falling.

Read on…

  • An article in BMC Medicine explores the relationship between child marriage and undernutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • A special issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review focusses on sex workers, examining the effects of anti-trafficking policies on sex worker communities.
  • A report by the International Labour Organization summarises the third-party monitoring of child and forced labour in Uzbekistan’s 2018 cotton harvest.

And finally…

In five years, the Freedom Fund and our partners have directly impacted over half a million lives. Explore this data in or our latest Annual Impact Report.

News & updates

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

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Written by
The Freedom Fund