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Bethany Jackson

Rights Lab PhD Student in the School of Geography

Thesis Title

  • Slavery from Space: An Analysis of the Asian Brick Kiln Industry using Remotely Sensed Imagery

My Rights Lab-funded research focuses on finding innovative ways to use geospatial technology to help combat the issue of contemporary slavery. I am a team member with the Slavery Observatory project.

The fourth anti-slavery movement had developed over the past couple of decades, as has the advancement of satellite technology and remote sensing practices. The increased availability of imagery over time, as well as the increases in resolution and spectral capacity mean that this powerful tool – the ‘eyes in the sky’ – may be used to help the anti-slavery movement discover the location of brick kilns and the scale that this industry operates on. Additionally, the imagery will help to establish the impacts these kilns may be having on the people working within them and environment in which they are situated. This is hugely important as the brick kiln industry is one of the largest sectors to employ the use of slave labour.

My aim is to combine a geospatial practice that has primarily been used for environmental studies, and demonstrate how a wide variety of satellite images and traditional techniques can also be used to help provide answers to the very social problem of contemporary slavery.