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The Rights Compass

The extensive growth in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) methodologies for development work worldwide has not been replicated for the work of slavery liberation and reintegration. With some exceptions, the handful of groups that have assembled best practice guidelines have had limited success because these are not yet built on rigorous, large-scale M&E research.  We are therefore pioneering an extended antislavery M&E platform. This compass for antislavery work navigates us between the cardinal points of enslaved and free. We are collating a large database on current and recent antislavery interventions around the world, which we use to conduct systematic analysis on their relative success and failure. Alongside the database we are completing a publicly available social network analysis of the various agencies, organisations, research units and other extragovernmental bodies engaged in antislavery work, in order to track involvement, influence and impact within the movement. These two resources underpin our new Antislavery Impact Assessment and Evaluation Framework. This will evaluate ongoing interventions to identify the degree to which they have had an impact on reducing the prevalence of slavery. It will help us to pilot, validate, disseminate and support the adoption of standardised M&E tools across the antislavery movement with our NGO partners.

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The Antislavery Ecosystem

We are demonstrating the tight connection between ending slavery and reducing environmental destruction. Our preliminary research shows that if slavery were a country, it would have a population of some 46 million people and the gross domestic product of Angola (in global terms a small and poor nation), yet would be the third largest emitter of CO2 (2.54 billion tons per year) in the world after China (7.39 billion tons) and the United States (5.58 billion tons). Responding to this, we are completing the world’s largest study on the relationship between slavery and ecosystems. This work will: Compile, synthesise and integrate spatial data on the landscape changes that result from slavery activities and calculate the environmental costs of these activities and the potential gains that stem from curtailing slavery, with a focus on carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services. Explore the values associated with environmental gains, their capacity to be captured in environmental markets, and their ability to help fund slavery prevention and abolition efforts. Explore links between ecological resilience and human vulnerability as a precondition to enslavement.

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The Slavery Observatory

We are home to the world’s first Geospatial Slavery Observatory. The majority of today’s slaves live in developing countries where many slave-based activities are visible in satellite imagery (for example brick kilns, mines, fisheries and farms). By identifying slavery locations using geospatial intelligence, we answer the demand within the development and human rights communities for scientific data that can underpin policy formation and humanitarian operations. Our process is to: • Compile, synthesise and integrate spatial data to detect and eventually prevent slavery. • Develop (automated) methods with as much data as possible at as low as possible cost, with known levels of uncertainty. • Act as a conduit for all observations of slavery activity. Employing state-of-the-art techniques from geoinformatics and data modelling, geospatial intelligence, and location-based services, we conduct comparison and cross-corroboration of archival satellite imagery with various open source data, and use imagery analysis methodologies. We also use our expertise on volunteered geographic information to enable quality crowd-sourcing, and are applying machine-learning techniques that automate identification via a prototype feature extraction algorithm.Our work was featured in a Telegraph article in October 2016. We are now developing new pilots in Ghana (fishing), India, Nepal and Pakistan (brick kilns), Thailand (fishing), Brazil (charcoal camps) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (mining).

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Measuring Slavery

Only by measuring and understanding the scale of slavery can we effectively tackle it. We use Multiple Systems Estimation (MSE) and other methodologies to estimate slavery prevelance in the UK and around the world. We do this in combination with our use of mobile phone, population and behavioural data, in order to better monitor prorgress to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 (ending slavery by 2030).We also conduct in-depth analysis around key intersecting issues for example the relationship between slavery data and data on conflict, democracy, governance, and women's rights, so we can better understand the potential root causes of enslavement. You can read a recent report by our researcher, Professor Bernard Silverman, here: "The R package modslavmse for multiple systems analysis". This accompanies Bernard's R package of programs for MSE for modern slavery prevalence.