Welcome to the Slavery Research Bulletin, the Freedom Fund’s monthly brief designed to bring you new and compelling research from the global anti-slavery movement.
The International Organization for Migration, in collaboration with Microsoft Research, released a new synthetic dataset on human trafficking. This has been made possible through the development of an algorithm which builds an artificial dataset from sensitive victim case data. It is considered the largest public collection of human trafficking case data, representing data from over 156,000 victims and survivors of trafficking across 189 countries and territories while still protecting survivors’ and victims’ privacy rights.
The Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre funded a study which analysed consumers’ attitude towards modern slavery and effective ways of mobilising their behaviour to address this issue. Following a literature review of 39 relevant reports plus ten case studies, the authors recommend emphasising people’s responsibility both as a consumer and a citizen, appealing to self-benefits, and communicating clear pathways to action as key factors in increasing the effectiveness of anti-slavery campaigns.
The U.N. Development Programme assessed the linkages between corruption and contemporary forms of slavery. Following a literature review and interviews with 18 experts, the study highlighted how large-scale trafficking chains cannot exist without complicit officials. A lack of data to monitor progress on corruption in this field, and limited evidence about prosecutions of corrupt actors, emphasise the strong need for a global system to monitor incidences of corruption and its intersection with modern slavery.
A report by Verité analyses how enabling refugees to access fair and legal employment opportunities in supply chains can mitigate risks of forced labour and human trafficking. Through a combination of desk research and interviews with 25 stakeholders, the study suggests two interconnected pathways companies could take to reduce risks of forced labour among refugee populations: creating employment opportunities through direct engagement and hiring in key sourcing locations, and advocating for refugees’ right to work.
A paper in the Journal of Population Economics examines the causal effect of child marriage on infant mortality. Harnessing a natural experiment in Ethiopia that increased the legal age of marriage for women, the study estimates that a one-year delay in cohabitation during a girl’s teenage years reduces the probability of her first-born child dying during infancy by 38 percent. These results also suggest that laws that raise the legal age of marriage can decrease child marriage, even in settings where there is limited capacity to enforce the law.
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