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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.


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).


Alison Gardner

Team Lead for the Rights Lab ‘Slavery-Free Communities’ initiative, working with statutory, business and voluntary-sector partners to develop policy and community-centred responses to modern slavery.


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.


Hannah Jeffery

“The Black Power movement represents a largely unchronicled epic in American history,” argues historian Peniel E. Joseph in his article “Rethinking the Black Power Era. This academic oversight catalysed a wave of Black Power studies in the 2000s, with scholars like Joseph and Paul Gardullo altering perceptions of the movement by expanding it from the parameters of the 1960s. This scholarship reconsiders the temporal, chronological and spatial frameworks that define the era, and my PhD will join this repertoire of Black Power scholarship by proposing the existence of a Long Black Power Movement.


Professor Zoe Trodd

Zoe Trodd is the Director of the Rights Lab, and an expert on antislavery past and present. Her focus is multidisciplinary strategies for ending slavery.


Hannah-Rose Murray

A research associate with the Rights Lab's Usable Past project, working on heritage and public history.