New weapon in the fight against modern slavery

January 16, 2017 by Emma Rayner, University of Nottingham
Credit: University of Nottingham

A powerful new partnership to super-charge global research on modern slavery and human trafficking has been announced by the University of Nottingham and the Walk Free Foundation.

The collaboration will bring together the Walk Free Foundation's huge data-set on modern slavery with the world's largest group of human rights and justice researchers who make up the University's Rights and Justice Research Priority Area.

With an estimated 45 million people around the world currently held in some form of modern slavery, the Walk Free Foundation's survey data will be a vital resource to inform new research to tackle this global 'hidden' problem. The resources include face to face interviews with more than 70,000 people in more than 50 countries and a year-on-year comparative data-base on worldwide government responses to modern slavery.

Professor Todd Landman, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham said: "As a hidden crime type, it is difficult to estimate the prevalence of modern forms of slavery. Nonetheless, like any crime type, data on prevalence, risk factors and responses is critical to enabling the development of effective interventions. We are therefore thrilled to forge this partnership with the Walk Free Foundation, including our new joint work on the Global Slavery Index. Together we hope to incorporate new data on factors that make people vulnerable to enslavement, develop new methodologies for particularly challenging countries that build on the GSI's current methods, and dig deep into its unique data for new research.

"The University of Nottingham's work on modern slavery provides a real beacon for the world and we're committed to helping achieve the international goal of ending slavery by 2030. In Walk Free we recognise another beacon and we join with a group of like-minded people who are committed to fusing rigorous empirical research and advocacy. Together we will advance a large-scale research agenda for ending slavery."

Walk Free Foundation's Executive Director of Global Research, Fiona David, said: "Walk Free Foundation and Nottingham share a deep commitment to human rights, innovation and the importance of data to driving social change. This partnership will enable us to look at modern slavery from new angles, whether through the use of geospatial mapping to identify slavery sites or economics to understand the true costs to society of this crime. Far from being an academic exercise, this is research to inform action."

The University of Nottingham is a high ranking global university with a strong research focus on democracy and and operates the Rights and Justice Research Priority Area, a flagship initiative and the world's largest cluster of rights and justice scholars. 2016 saw the appointment of world renowned expert on modern slavery, Kevin Bales CMG, as Professor of Contemporary Slavery. Nottingham is also the host of the world's first distance MA degree in training antislavery workers on liberation in 2017 and the world's first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in contemporary slavery from 2016.

Explore further: We need to change what people think modern slavery is

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