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Katie Walker

A full-time researcher on the Rights Compass team, the first antislavery monitoring & evaluation (M&E) platform. The project explores current practice of M&E and impact assessment (IA) in the antislavery context with the goal of guiding and improving practice for more impactful and successful work across all sectors. Katie will be contributing to this with in-depth M&E research, the development of a database of antislavery interventions and tools and methodologies for M&E and IA. 

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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 Economic Dividend

Rather than having to end poverty to end slavery, can we end slavery to help end poverty? We are completing the first extended analysis of contemporary slavery’s political economy.  While there are studies analysing labour markets, systematic studies on the economic incentives of contemporary slavery are missing. Our work includes an analysis of the economic incentives for using slave labour, and an analysis of factors that determine the vulnerability of a person. This enables deeper investigations of markets for different types of enslaved labour. We are also demontrating how slavery impacts the economy and development of a country, and measuring the dividend that comes with liberation. Here we statistically model and measure the economic benefits of ending slavery. We aim to show the theoretical benefits of eradicating modern slavery on the wider economy, and provide a solid scientific basis for encouraging countries to prioritise antislavery efforts.

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Measuring Slavery

Only by measuring and understanding the scale of slavery can we effectively tackle it. Since 2013, the Walk Free Foundation has published the annual Global Slavery Index (GSI). The world’s only big data intervention into contemporary slavery, the GSI is a country by country estimation of slavery’s prevalence and the adequacy of response in 167 countries. The most recent edition covered 99% of the world’s population.   We help to refine the GSI's global metrics, further develop the data collection and analysis methodology to bring greater validity and reliability, incorporate new data on factors that make people vulnerable to enslavement, and develop new methodologies for particularly challenging countries that build on current methods.  We also dig deep into the GSI's unanalysed data to conduct in-depth analysis around key themes, for example the relationship between slavery’s prevalence and internal conflict, or between women’s physical integrity and rates of enslavement.