The Freedom Fund partnered with a team of researchers led by Dr Cathy Zimmerman of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to outline the major evidence gaps in the field of “safe migration”. The findings of the formative work served as the basis for a convening of experts, that took place in November 2015, to discuss priorities for new research. The outcome of this work is this report, “Safer labour migration and community-based prevention of exploitation: The state of the evidence for programming.”
Existing reviews of evaluation and literature seem to suggest that few community-based interventions (e.g., awareness campaigns, knowledge-building, skills training) have been built on strong evidence of patterns of risk and potential protective mechanisms, or produced robust assessments of their impact. At the same time, the field of labour migration is receiving growing attention and interest; increasing efforts and resources are invested globally in trying to make labour migration outcomes positive for individuals and their communities, with the objective of ultimately decreasing and eliminating exploitation, trafficking and slavery.
The terms “high risk” and “safe” or “fair” migration have recently emerged to describe interventions aimed at preventing abuses related to low-skilled labour migration. Yet there is little evidence available to support what constitutes “high risk” or “safe” migration. While it is possible to recognise negative outcomes of migration, it is more difficult to determine what factors (e.g., knowledge levels, actions, routes) make migration in various contexts more risky than others.
Through this global initiative, the Freedom Fund is starting to address this gap. The Fund is committed to generating robust research findings on what puts people at most risk of exploitation and what interventions and strategies are most able to mitigate this risk.
Through a partnership with Dr Cathy Zimmerman, the Freedom Fund:
The report’s findings are intended to offer one of the most robust reviews to date on the state of current evidence for donors and practitioners to work towards the design of a future research agenda and prevention programming to address this highly prevalent and complex problem of migrant labour exploitation.
The literature review and convening will produce a set of ambitious research priorities to improve the evidence-base for programming. Support from investors will be sought to advance these priorities.