This interview with Yuki Lo, the Freedom Fund’s senior research and evaluation officer, was originally published by Devex on 30 January 2018. Read the full article here.
BANGKOK — It’s becoming clear that certain interventions work better than others in the fight to end modern slavery, according to a recent report from the Freedom Fund.
The Freedom Fund was founded to drive a more ambitious research agenda to identify — and invest in — the most effective frontline efforts to eradicate abuses such as sex trafficking and bonded labor. Over the past four years, the fund has supported more than 100 partner NGOs to deliver a broad range of interventions to combat slavery in contexts with a prevalent number of cases, such as Northern India, Southeastern Nepal, Ethiopia, and Thailand.
The group’s focus on quantitative measurement allows it to more successfully target its programs, according to Yuki Lo, Freedom Fund senior research and evaluation officer.
“Traditionally, people start with small case studies, but we’re interested in understanding the experiences of the large cohort of victims, not just the worst cases. We want to know the proportion of workers who are owed money from their employer in back pay, for example,” Lo said of exploitative employers withholding employee wages.
Along the way, the private donor fund has recognized the disproportionate impact of trafficking on women. While slavery is not solely a female issue, of the 40 million people trapped in modern slavery today, about 70 percent of them are women and girls, according to 2017 research published by the International Labour Organization and the Walk Free Foundation.
The Freedom Fund’s recently released report, “Her freedom, her voice: Insights from the Freedom Fund’s work with women and girls,” draws on experiences from the fund’s last four years working with grassroots organizations as well as with both men and women in diverse trafficking hotspots around the world.
The group is continuing to fold the report’s lessons and recommendations into their own work and investment decisions, but wants to deliver on their goal of information sharing in the meantime, Lo said.
Devex caught up with Lo to find out what’s proving to work in the global fight to end modern slavery — and what’s not.
Photo credit: ILO