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The Rights Track
53 minutes | 2 months ago
Freedom from slavery: what have we learned from The Rights Track?
In this second of two special episodes of The Rights Track, Todd reflects on what has been learned about modern slavery from our podcast and its contribution towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 to end global modern slavery by 2030. This episode features interviews from Series 3-5 of The Rights Track, which together form a library of 26 fascinating episodes and some 13 hours of insightful conversations with researchers from the University of Nottingham's Rights Lab, and a stellar line-up of people working on the ground to combat slavery from NGOs, campaigners and activists, authors, historians, economists, businesses and policymakers. Episodes featured Blueprint for Freedom: ending modern slavery by 2030 Zoe Trodd, Rights Lab Slavery-free cities: why community is key Alison Gardener, Rights Lab Life after slavery: what does freedom really look like? Juliana Semione, Rights Lab Forced marriage and women's rights: what connects SDGs 5 and 8.7? Helen McCabe Rights Lab and Karen Sherman, Author Voices of slavery: listen and learn Minh Dang and Andrea Nicholson, Rights Lab The useable past: what lessons do we learn from history in the fight to end slavery? David Blight and John Stauffer Face to face: researching the perpetrators of modern slavery Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Rights Lab How is the UN working to end modern slavery? James Cockayne, Rights Lab and Lichtenstein Initiative for Finance against Slavery and Trafficking Strengthening laws and ending modern slavery: what connects SDGs 16 and 8.7? Katarina Schwarz, Rights Lab Fast fashion and football: a question of ethics Baroness Young of Hornsey, All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights Unchained supply: eradicating slavery from the supply chain Alex Trautrims, Rights Lab The business of modern slavery: what connects SDG 8.7 with its overarching SDG8? John Gathergood, University of Nottingham and Genevieve LeBaron, University of Sheffield Walking the supply chain to uphold human rights: what connects SDGs 12 and 8.7 Elaine Mitchel-Hill, Marshalls plc Bonded labour: Listening to the voices of the poor and marginalised Anusha Chandrasekharan and Pradeep Narayanan, Praxis Fighting slavery on the ground: what does it look like? Dan Vexler, Freedom Fund Creating stronger places for child rights: what connects SDGs 8.7 and 11? Ravi Prakash, Freedom Fund consultant Health and slavery: what connects SDG 3 and SDG 8.7? Luis Leão, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil Global partnerships to end modern slavery: what connects SDGs 8.7 and 17? Jasmine O'Connor, Anti Slavery International The Congo, cobalt and cash: what connects SDGs 9 and 8.7? Siddharth Kara, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University
54 minutes | 2 months ago
Advancing human rights: what have we learned from The Rights Track?
In this first of two special episodes of The Rights Track, Todd reflects on what has been learned about the advancement of human rights from our podcast since it was launched in 2015. Episodes featured How is the church leading the fight to end modern slavery? Rt Rev Alastair Redfern Crunching numbers: modern slavery and statistics Sir Bernard Silverman Eye in the sky: rooting out slavery from space Doreen Boyd Hating the haters: tackling radical right groups in the United States Heidi Beirich Picture this: using photography to make a case for environmental rights Garth Lenz Refugees: why hard times need hard facts Gonzalo Vargas LLosa In the minority: the right to identity, culture and heritage Clare Thomas Evidence for change: the work of Human Rights Watch Iain Levine Advancing human rights the Amnesty way Meghna Abraham Islam and the West: questions of human rights Akbar Ahmed Pursuing justice: what role for research evidence? Dixon Osburn Women and Trump: a question of rights? Monica Casper Gay rights - how far have we come? Richard Beaven Does America need a Truth Commission? Karen Salt and Christopher Phelps Human rights: reasons to be joyful William Simmionds Making human rights our business Shareen Hertel How can statistics advance human rights? Patrick Ball A matter of opinion: What do we really think about human rights? James Ron Beyond GDP: a measure of economic and social rights Sakiko Fukuda-Parr Modern day slavery: counting and accounting Kevin Bales How do we count victims of torture? Will Moore Do NGOs matter? Amanda Murdie Are we better at human rights than we used to be? Chris Fariss
32 minutes | 3 months ago
The Congo, cobalt and cash: what connects SDGs 9 and 8.7?
In Episode 8 of Series 5 Todd is joined by Siddharth Kara and Hannah Lerigo-Stephens. Siddharth is an author, researcher, screenwriter and activist on modern slavery who has spent many years investigating the issue of forced labour in cobalt mining areas in the Congo. He recently supported 14 families in the Congo to launch a landmark legal case against Apple, Microsoft, Del, Google and Tesla for what they consider to be their complicity in the injuries and deaths of their children. Hannah has worked with leading food retailers like the Co-op and Morrissons to improve labour standards in their global supply chains and now leads the Rights Lab’s Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the University of Nottingham, where she translates research evidence into resources for businesses and organisations looking to work ethically and sustainably. 0.00– 04.35 Todd begins by asking Siddharth to give an overview of his work. Siddharth has worked in over 50 countries collecting evidence and documenting the lives of workers atthe bottom of the supply chain and the conditions under which they work. He explains that: Severe exploitation including child labour, forced labour, and modern slavery can be found in all sectors and in all countries His current focus is cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo 70% of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Congo. Cobalt is an essential component in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries The manufacture of items using rechargeable batteries (e.g. phones, computers, cars) generates very high incomes for companies like Apple and TESLA. Very little of that income trickles down to the bottom of the supply chain 04.35 – 07.30 Siddharth references a small area in South East DR Congo where cobalt mining takes place. He says that: 40% of cobalt is mined by hand (artisanal mining) under extreme conditions without protective clothing (PPE), with exposure to toxic uranium ore and with the constant threat of tunnel collapse Cobalt ore finds its way via informal channels into the formal supply chain 07.30 – 09.55 Todd asks Siddharth to describe how remote sensing technology developed by the Rights Lab (Slavery from Space) has been used. Known locations of artisanal mining in DR. Congo have been geo-tagged by Siddharth. This data is used to review satellite images and via an algorithm, identify other mining sites to produce a map of artisanal mining. This also shows environmental damage caused by large scale mechanised mining. 09.55 – 14.48 Hannah’s contribution starts with a rejection of the argument that labour exploitation is the result of the complexity of modern supply chains. She says: The main issue is the imbalance of power between major companies like Apple and Tesla at the top of the chain generating massive income and exploited workers at the bottom of the chain Buyers at the top of the chain force prices down The situation is exacerbated by a lack of state regulation 14.48 – 18.35 Todd moves on to ask about how a redistribution of income could be achieved. In Siddharth’s view contemporary capitalism works in an unequal way. He believes that: Value is concentrated at the top of the supply chain, where profit margins are wide. Yet artisanal workers make $1/2 per day There is neither the will nor compulsion to re-distribute income “even a rounding error on the balance sheet would be transformative” to the lives of the workers Companies at the top hide behind the “opacity” in the supply chain and feel no responsibility towards the workers at the bottom Blame for exploitation trickles down the supply chain Siddharth concludes by arguing that the major transnational companies must take responsibility for their supply chains. 18.35 – 21.18 Todd brings in Hannah to review the impact of current legislation on modern slavery. She refers to the UK Modern Slavery Act and its requirements. She argues that the focus is on reporting, but there are loopholes in the wording and language is not strong enough. There is a need for target setting and evaluation within companies. 21.18 - 25.00 Siddharth refers to an article for the Guardian newspaper as a result of his experiences in DR Congo and describes in detail strategic litigation against Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dell, and Tesla to force them to take accountability for conditions in their supply chais. The aims of this he says are: For the voices of the exploited to be heard Obligations to be placed on these companies around exploitation, free supply chains, and environmental impact 25.00 – end Hannah emphasises the importance of holding major companies to account, and for greater reflection and evaluation of practices. She sets out the business case for having better knowledge of supply chains, and says lack of knowledge is a weakness. Siddharth concludes by arguing that the status quo whereby the global north continues to enrich itself by using its political and economic power to exploit the global south needs to change. Further reading Diffusion of labour standards through supplier–subcontractor network Stefan Gold, Thomas Chesney, Tim Gruchmann , Alexander Trautrims
40 minutes | 4 months ago
The business of modern slavery: what connects SDG 8.7 with its overarching SDG8?
In Episode 7 of Series 5, Todd is joined by John Gathergood, Professor of Economics at the University of Nottingham, and Genevieve LeBaron, Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield. John’s research focuses on understanding consumer behaviour in financial markets, and more recently the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on households. Genevieve’s work is at the forefront of the emerging evidence base on forced labour, human trafficking, and slavery in the global economy. In this episode, the discussion focusses on the interaction between the broader goals of SDG 8 and target SDG 8.7, which focuses on ending modern slavery by 2030. 0.00– 05.06 Todd begins the discussion by asking John to give an overview on the drivers of economic growth and the benefits of trade. Growth is seen as the result of a combination of technological evolution and the development of skills leading to increasingly efficient production processes However, the benefits of growth are not evenly distributed This leads to the creation of winners (the owners of capital and the organisers of production) and losers (those not in control of production processes) In John’s view the current COVID pandemic has brought this inequality more sharply into focus, along with the need to ensure that economic growth does not come at the expense of exploitation of certain labour groups. 05.00 – 07.33 Todd asks John about the role of trade and John say it is fundamental in generating growth. He points out that: One of the foundations of the capitalist system is trade and specialisation. Trade facilitates specialisation and growth There have been waves of globalisation throughout history (often associated with pandemics) The last 30 years have seen the largest international movement of capital affecting the location of production and the development of increasingly complex supply chains, which has been good for growth However, he adds that the fragmentation of production has exacerbated inequality, made complex supply chains very difficult to monitor, and susceptible to labour exploitation. 07.33 – 10.36 In Genevieve’s view, discussions on growth often overlook the business models at the centre of the mass production, fast turnover retail sector producing cheap disposable goods. Her research suggests the business models are “hard wired” to produce inequality and labour exploitation. Problems in supply chains are longstanding. Throughout history, capitalism has relied heavily on the exploitation of vulnerable groups for forced labour and slavery. 10.36 – 16.33 Genevieve’s research, covering retail supply chains in China, tea and cocoa supply chains in India and Ghana, and garment supply chains in Southern India, has yielded several insights. Labour exploitation is not unusual. Common patterns emerge Why certain businesses have an endemic demand for forced labour How and why supply chains are set up to facilitate labour exploitation, in terms of how businesses make money from forced labour, and the business models they use There are clear and discernable patterns regarding both the supply and demand drivers of forced labour in global supply chains. She argues that: Although the geography of exploitation and the people involved has changed over time, some form of forced labour is a constant factor in the capitalist model of production throughout history Solutions to issues of labour exploitation need to go beyond looking just at supply chains and confront the structures which have given rise to these problems John adds that a key factor in supply chains is lack of accountability (anonymity) in the upper levels of supply chains, which is useful for efficient production, but can lead to labour exploitation lower down the chain. 16.33 – 19.50 The discussion moves on to the persistence of unfree labour globally.The current organisation of production encourages companies in countries with strong institutions often source their production from countries with weak institutions where the exploitation of the work force is easier. The prevalence of unfree labour in those countries may be low but the effective prevalence of induced slavery is high. Lack of accountability within supply chains is a major problem. John argues that forced labour should be treated as an “externality” and the cost should be borne by both producers and consumers, or governments should intervene. However, given the scale and complexity of supply chains enforcing compliance would be very difficult. 19.50 – 25.25 Todd asks Genevieve to summarise the effectiveness of constraints and regulation in the operation of supply chains. Three main mechanisms are reviewed. Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives Public Regulation, including labour laws, sub-contracting, and regulation of businesses International agreements and conventions She identifies an increasing reliance on voluntary industry initiatives due in part to the failure of governments to produce effective regulation of labour standards in global supply chains. Her new book, Combatting Modern Slavery, shows that corporate social responsibility initiatives have not been effective. She cites a number of factors: Wealth and economic power are concentrated at the top of the chain with increasingly tighter profit margins further down to allow suppliers to cover their costs Lack of regulation of supply chains by governments facilitates power imbalances in favour of the businesses at the top of the supply chain, and between owners and workers Governments have been “the architects’ of globalisation and helped to set up supply chains in a way that has facilitated these imbalances and the conditions which lead to labour exploitation 25.25 – 30.50 The example of the fast fashion industry and the recent reports of exploitation of the local labour force in Leicester, United Kingdom, is discussed. The very low cost of garments for sale should be a warning to consumers that labour is being unfairly exploited Garments are being sourced at prices below the cost of production Labour exploitation is a sector wide problem and is the result of the business model. The situation in Leicester is well known and has been extensively reported by Sarah Connor of the Financial Times (see recent story) Although companies have made commitments to address the situation very little has happened to redress labour exploitation, and to alter the business model There is a need for new business models which don’t rely on labour exploitation 30.50 – 36.46In the absence of effective measures to redress the situation Todd asks whether there are economic incentives which could be brought to bear. Raising consumer awareness is discussed. Genevieve highlights some issues. Finding products which do not have some connection to forced labour, given the limited effectiveness and credibility of ethical labelling systems. Evidence exists of labour exploitation in ethical and fair-trade products A crisis of credibility around ethical brands Instead, she argues for regulation which controls the activities of businesses at the head of the supply chain, a redistribution of profits down through the supply chain, businesses taking greater responsibility for what goes on in the supply chain and a greater role for the employed labour force in generating solutions. John argues for an increased criminal corporate liability placed upon people and businesses. 36.46 - end The discussion ends with John reflecting on the way forward. He believes consumer led approaches are unlikely to work and neither is it likely that companies reliant on manual labour can, or will, act to change the system. Regulation is, therefore, the main option available. Additional Links exploitation and sweatshops are at the core of fast fashion: it’s time to dismantle the system Inside the sweatshops accused of modern slavery UK: Coronavirus exposes Leicester’s sweatshops and government hypocrisy Genevieve LeBaron, Jessica Pliley & David W. Blight (eds)(2021) Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: History and Contemporary Policy. Cambridge University Press [in press]. Genevieve LeBaron (2020) Combatting Modern Slavery: Why Labour Governance is Failing and What We Can Do About It. Polity. Robert Caruana, Andrew Crane, Stefan Gold & Genevieve LeBaron (2020) ‘Modern Slavery in Business: The Sad and Sorry State of a Non-Field.’ Business & Society. Andrew Crane, Vivek Soundararajan, Michael Bloomfield, Laura Spence & Genevieve LeBaron (2019) Decent Work and Economic Growth in the South Indian Garment Industry. Genevieve LeBaron (2018) The Global Business of Forced Labour: Report of Findings. Nicola Phillips, Genevieve LeBaron & Sara Wallin (2018) Mapping and Measuring the Effectiveness of Labour-Related Disclosure Requirements for Global Supply Chains. International Labour Organization Working Paper No 32. Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos & Penelope Kyritsis (2018) Confronting Root Causes: Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains.
32 minutes | 4 months ago
Global partnerships to end modern slavery: what connects SDGs 8.7 and 17?
In Episode 6 of Series 5 of The Rights Track, Todd is talking with Jasmine O'Connor and Emily Wyman. Jasmine is CEO of Anti-Slavery International, which has been fighting to end slavery since its foundation in 1839. Emily leads the Rights Lab's Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning and manages strategic partnerships between with external partners in civil society, business and government, to enhance multi-sector cooperation against modern slavery. Together with Todd they discuss the connections between UN Sustainable Goals SDG 8.7 on tackling modern slavery and SDG 17 on revitalising the Global Partnership for sustainable development. 00.00 – 05.40 Todd begins by asking Jasmine to outline how NGOs bring about change. The ASI approach is to listen to victims and those vulnerable to slavery. To understand the underlying causes / drivers of modern slavery. To inform the planning of effective solutions. Common themes emerge in terms of who is vulnerable to slavery: people facing discrimination people in poverty people vulnerable to global shocks e.g. the COVID pandemic There is a need to understand the mechanisms by which people become “tricked and trapped” into forms of modern slavery, from the perspective of the victims themselves and to understand that entrapment is not the victim’s fault. 05.40 – 07.47 Jasmine describes the socio – economic factors which increase vulnerability: market conditions which drive down prices in supply chains lack of government oversight of supply chains children are vulnerable to being exploited online various (legal) loopholes used by traffickers Understanding the systematic way people are tricked and trapped means working closely with employers, educators, and organisations and agencies across the whole range of SDGs. 07.47 – 10.33 Todd moves on to ask how ASI engages with different networks. Two elements are identified. Partnering with agencies at “grass roots level” is key. Engaging with governments, multi-national corporations and other NGOs to share information. Example: ASI’s internal survey of partner institutions on impact of the COVID pandemic reveals: 51% reported evidence of increased slavery, trafficking and child exploitation 73% reported their governments had not included needs and rights of the vulnerable in responses to the pandemic ASI use data to lobby governments and UN agencies to ensure awareness of new vulnerabilities to slavery due to the COVID pandemic. 10.33 – 15.20 Todd comments on the disproportionate effect of COVID19 on certain social groups and agrees how important it is to understand and act on new vulnerabilities. He brings in Emily Wyman to discuss the role of partnerships and data and how the academic research can plug into the work of NGOs working on modern slavery. Emily explains that a key role of researchers like her is to scan and review all the existing data and information that exists and to work out the impact that organisations like ASI are having in the field of modern slavery. She describes ASI as an organisation that generates and makes available large amounts of information about the work it does and the impacts it is having. Reviewing all this information can help pinpoint gaps in interventions and provide intelligence to NGOs on which interventions are working. Researchers can also build tools to help develop effective evaluation procedures for interventions and aid efficient use of resources. Emily emphasises how important it is to work with NGOs to understand their needs and build strong relationships, and to understand the key drivers of modern slavery. Listening is key to strong relationships that can end modern slavery. 15.20 – 18.38 Emily mentions The Rights Lab’s Kathryn Bryant’s work with the Walk Free initiative which showed a need to improve the evidence base around modern slavery which has led her and colleagues to work on some practical tools and templates to support NGOs in the monitoring and evaluation of their projects. These cover three areas: Goals Outcomes Indicators The work has also included the development of an indicator bank, recommendations on conducting rights-based monitoring and evaluation, advice on using survivor knowledge and experiences and the development of technological solutions for field-based work. The aim is to improve the evidence base to identify high impact interventions and quick win solutions. 18.38 – 22.02 Todd asks Jasmine if and how ASI uses a theory of change. Jasmine explains: ASI have a “global” theory, which is adjusted for specific local circumstances. Theories are not always successful but need to be trialed by organisations to find what does work. Example: Descent based slavery, Niger, a project focusing on educating children which leads to empowerment and an awareness of individual rights and helps break the bonds of slavery. The ASI theory of change involves working with families, communities, governments and NGOs to evolve community-generated solutions to reduce poverty and vulnerability to slavery. Education is key Jasmine says it’s crucial that donors invest in experiments and trials to find out what works and then if it works invest in it. 22.02 – 26.00 Emily describes the issues around building partnerships and collaboration between research and front-line organisations. There is a large number of organisations but a lack of co-ordination between them There is a lack of evidence / evaluation Competition for scarce funding resources Note: the promising practices database found just 179 evaluations in 1500 organisations. The evidence base needs to be improved quickly Strong evaluations are a route to better funding. Emily says that her work is indicating that collaboration around the area of data and methods is looking very promising with lots of goodwill and willingness from organisations. 26.00 – end Todd asks both guests about the UK government’s planned merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office. Jasmine’s is concerned to ensure that the 0.7% of GDP for projects which address the SDGs remains intact. She says ASI will continue to lobby hard for the continued efforts to tackle modern slavery. Emily fears that the budget will be threatened but agrees that strong advocacy is needed to hold government to account.
29 minutes | 5 months ago
Creating stronger places for child rights: what connects SDGs 8.7 and 11?
In Episode 5 of Series 5 of The Rights Track, Todd is talking with Ravi Prakash and Phil Northall. Ravi is a consultant for the Freedom Fund’s new Rajasthan ‘hotspot’, which is an approach used to carry out work on specific geographic areas with a high prevalence of modern slavery. He is a child rights specialist with experience working on issues such as child protection and right to education. Phil works as part of the University of Nottingham Rights Lab's Communities and Society Programme to understand and advance local responses to modern slavery. This includes work to build a slavery-resilient cities index to help us better understand how communities become slavery-free and slavery-proof. Together with Todd they discuss the connections between the UN Sustainable Goals SDG 8.7 on tackling modern slavery and SDG 11 on creating sustainable cities. 00.00 – 06.29 Phil begins by outlining a model of a resilient city. The model is adapted from the original work of Hollings and then Hollings in collaboration with others. Described as an adaptive cycle of reslience. It combines the ability to recover from incidents of slavery with reducing/removing vulnerability to slavery going forward. Four stages of the model are described: Diagnosis of a problem and identifying “assets” for resilience Challenge - using survivor voices Engaging with key institutions (media and business) for change Evaluation, review and re-assess “Assets” are defined as: Bringing together police, local authorities and charities in partnerships to share resources information and ideas on best practice Survivor support systems (especially availability of safe accommodation) The aim is to develop a regional resilience map for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Recent experience in sharing the model in Brazil showed that the challenge of getting agencies to work together is the same although the cultures are different. 06.29 – 13.55 Ravi talks about the Jaipur Child Labour Free Initiative,. He explains that large numbers of children are involved in forced labour. Many are trafficked from marginalised communities in Bihar state by powerful members of their own community and taken to employers in Jaipur. They are trapped in a form of bonded labour cut off from their families and living in poor conditions. Others are local and return home daily Laws to protect child rights are ignored Very little money finds its way back to the families Once in the system the children “disappear” families find it hard to contact them The project involves the effective collaboration of a wide range of partners including local businesses, the judiciary, and child victims with the aim of changing existing practices using child labour. The project has achieved notable successes including five child labour convictions. 13.55 – 15.44 Ravi goes onto explain that strong links exist between civil society, prosecutors and state/national government. Co-operation between agencies and Bihar state government resulted in rescued children gaining documentation and access to rehabilitation packages The Police Centre for Child Protection is a strategic partner of the programme State government is fully engaged with the programme 15.44 – 17.20 Phil compares the Jaipur initiative to his model and finds a large degree of match on all four levels, especially: Co-operation between stakeholders Engagement with judiciary/police Re-training of survivors Steps to minimise re-exploitation 17.20 – 19.40 Education is a key entitlement for the children and a key focus of the project. For trafficked children from Bihar: 60% of returning children have returned to education There is increased protection from traffickers who live close by Less than 2% of children are now being trafficked Increasing numbers are receiving state compensation For local children in Jaipur the twin objectives are: Returning children to education Ensuring freedom from threats from within their communities 19.40 – 24.20 Phil makes the point that SDG 11 focuses on environmental and economic resilience in cities. He suggests more focus is needed on social issues and references the work of colleague Alison Gardner on the social determinants of community resilience. He argues that building adaptive resilience cycles helps to keep policy windows open long after an event has occurred. Ravi argues that building sustainability and resilience is not a top down process. In Jaipur the key areas are: Equal access to education Working with the poor in slum areas on empowering the local communities to articulate their problems and seek their solutions Bringing together local authorities, planners, community organisations to focus on the problems Engagement with local businesses to review supply chains to remove child labour 24.20- end Ravi makes some final points about the impact of the COVID pandemic on the work of the Freedom Fund in India. He says: It has interrupted the prosecution of those involved in trafficking It has provided unscrupulous employers with the opportunity to return children to source villages to escape prosecution Other employers have thrown children on the street. The high number of COVID cases has diverted attention away from child labour issues However, the project is working with Bihar government who are sharing data on all returning children to find proof of forced or bonded labour and to build a list of traffickers and employers of children for future prosecution. The project is also monitoring road and rail transport to try to intercept and return trafficked children to their villages. Further Reading Freedom Fund Report 2019 Rajastan Child Labour Free Jaipur Project Evaluation of the ‘Child-Labour Free Jaipur’ hotspot: baseline report Building Slavery-free Communities: A Resilience Framework
29 minutes | 6 months ago
Walking the supply chain to uphold human rights: what connects SDGs 12 and 8.7
In Episode 4 of Series 5 of the Rights Track, Todd is talking with Elaine Michel-Hill and Arianne Griffith. Elaine is the business and human rights lead at Marshalls plc, a leading hard landscape company serving both the commercial and domestic construction markets with multiple operating sites in the UK and supply chains across the globe. Arianne leads the Rights Lab Modern Slavery Evidence Unit’s (MSEU) deployment of research for business application. Her work also focuses on effective law and policy to tackle modern slavery in supply chains and the application of business and human rights frameworks to the anti-slavery agenda. Together with Todd they discuss the connections between the UN Sustainable Goals SDG 8.7 on tackling modern slavery and SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production patterns. 00.00 – 02.17 Elaine outlines the work of Marshalls plc, a major supplier of construction products including natural stone. She explains that most of the natural stone is sourced outside of the UK in over 30 countries including Brazil, China, India and Vietnam and notes that it is in these operations and its supply chains, where there is the greatest risk of human rights abuses. 02.17 – 07.15 Elaine describes how, over a number of years, she has closely observed the quarrying process at first hand. Most stone originates from quarries they operate and the company has a dialogue with local operators to understand local labour contexts. They also source stone on the open market where that dialogue is less possible. In the quarries operated by Marshalls, for example in India, all stone extraction is mechanised and over the last 15 years the labour requirement has noticeably reduced. However, she is aware that hand labour is still extensively used in other quarries. As a result of work with local suppliers the use of child labour is less obvious. However, she suspects it still exists, out of sight, and has strong connections to bonded labour and forced labour. 07.15 – 11.40 Arianne reviews a range of information and guidance for both states and companies and points to 2011 as a significant turning point in relation to corporate business and supply chains with the unanimous adoption by the Human Rights Council of the Guiding Principles on business and human rights. They gave rise to a number of instruments and resources and outline: the duty of states to protect human rights the duty of companies to respect human rights the joint duty of both to find remedies to abuses of human rights This has led to two significant advances: It gave companies a framework on which to build policy Companies began to discuss the issues with one another and state actors In terms of delivering on the guidelines, corporate responsibility exists irrespective of the state’s capacity to deliver protection of human rights. Although the guidelines are not binding, in Arianne’s view companies are increasingly accepting responsibility to meet them. She points out that the OECD guidelines for multi-national enterprises provide a slightly different framework. In Arianne’s view, however, there is a real need for legislation at the national level. 11.40 – 15.19 Elaine’s experience is that even without legislation companies can develop a responsible approach to human rights. Her own company, she points out were early signatories to the United Nations Global Compact. Its value was: The framework for action it provided It was an expression of public commitment to the spirit of the Compact The existing “philanthropic” culture within the company made the process of embedding the ideas and developing policies relatively straightforward. This also has benefits for maintaining a good reputation with customers; a process Elaine describes as commercialising an approach to sustainability. This protects the long-term viability of the company, and is essential if human rights are to be supported. 15.19 – 19.26 The UK Modern Slavery Act brought a real focus to the company’s approach to human rights. Its aim is to engage with the spirit of the law, not just compliance. It is publishing its fifth statement on modern slavery It engages in full and transparent reporting of its activities and has evolved an increasing range of indicators and evidence Evidence of training with suppliers Evidence of improvements to due diligence A modern slavery report Details of collaborative projects Details of (human rights) risk profiles for different countries to justify policies Details of spending, and volumes of production across its operations It also reports on collaborative projects such as the IOM programme in Vietnam. 19.26 – 21.36 All agree, transparency, or lack of it, is a key issue. Arianne’s view is that there is a limited level of engagement beyond a narrow compliance with the law. Whilst the Modern Slavery Act has brought about significant change, and served to create a more level playing field across the corporate world, companies need to do much more. 21.36 – end A discussion around the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic. Elaine’s view is that given the extreme pressures on companies, vulnerable workers have become more vulnerable and considerations of human rights have been pushed to one side. It shows a need to: Check that modern slavery statements reflect the changed situation Build more resilience in the system Re-double due diligence. It also points to the need for greater transparency particularly where the corporate sector and the informal sector (criminal activity, corruption, trafficking) merge, but Elaine questions whether there are limits to how much transparency can be achieved.
31 minutes | 7 months ago
Strengthening laws and ending modern slavery: what connects SDGs 16 and 8.7?
In Episode 3 of Series 5 of the Rights Track, Todd is talking with Dr Katarina Schwarz and Dr Laura Dean. Katarina leads the Law and Policy programme at the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham. Laura is Assistant Professor of Political Science and the Williams Professor in Global Studies at Millikin University, Illinois. Together with Todd they are discussing the intersection between meeting Sustainable Development Goals SDG 8.7 aiming to end modern slavery and SDG 16 which aims to end violence and strengthen the rule of law and governance. 1.27- 5.12 The discussion opens with Katarina commenting on how anti-slavery law has evolved through history and how it has developed to include practices, such as forced labour, human trafficking, and other forms of exploitation. While these new additions can complement existing legislation they can lead to complication, fragmentation and confusion. She points out that modern slavery covers a wide range of areas including: Property rights Labour rights Criminal Law As many agencies are involved, with differing agendas, it becomes difficult to get general agreement on what issues need to be addressed. She adds that modern slavery involves different types of exploitation and for the victims a wide range of experiences. Trying to identify commonalities and treat them in a coherent manner presents problems. 5.12 - 7.11 Katarina and her team are responsible for the recent launch of an online Legislation Database on anti-slavery legislation at the United Nations, which analysed domestic laws governing slavery across a wide range of countries. The main findings are: Mapping found that in nearly 50% of the countries enslavement is not a crime. The same is true in respect of forced labour and servitude. In just under 50% of the countries there are no criminal sanctions against modern slavery. 7.11 - 9.54 The discussion turns to the breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Todd asks Laura to comment on how this affected criminal activity in the region. The breakup of the Soviet Union led eventually to increased migration within the region particularly towards Russia, and Ukraine saw the emergence of sex trafficking as the first manifestation of modern slavery. This was able to develop because of: A break down in established legal frameworks. The proliferation of organised criminal networks. Increased levels of corruption, much of which was embedded within state institutions. 9.54 - 14.20 The breakup of the Soviet Union led to the emergence of different types of regimes. Some like Poland and the Czech Republic looked to membership of the European Union Others stayed within the influence of the Russian Federation And others looked towards China Todd asks Laura whether she sees a correlation between regime type and anti-slavery legislation. Laura has developed a ranking system which she calls the Human Trafficking Policy Index and what she finds is that while democracies are better able to implement anti-trafficking policies often the quality of those policies is not always very high. For example: Estonia ranks highly in terms of democracy and yet has the “worst” human trafficking laws, whilst Georgia and Moldova are the opposite. This is a finding which resonates with Todd’s own Human Rights research on the ratification of human rights treaties and the work of Heather Smith-Cannoy from Arizona State University (see below). 14.20 - 16.25 An important issue is the gap between the passing of legislation and the implementation of that legislation and according to Katarina, this comes down to how legislation is enacted. The small island state of Nauru is one of the few examples of an approach which directly criminalises slavery see: Nauru criminalises Slavery . Some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean enact legislation via their constitutions while this is less true for Western Democracies. 16.25 - 17.40 What makes for good governance and implementation? Katarina suggests that, Criminal enforcement has to work alongside the enforcement of labour laws The socio-economic conditions which lead people into vulnerable situations need to be addressed Corruption and bribery at all levels within and outside of government need to be addressed Access to justice is fundamental to good implementation Evaluating implementation by recording, for example, the number of arrests made under existing legislation, or the number of victims rehabilitated is not enough, and often goes under-reported as Laura explains. Effective implementation requires detailed research on how policy is enacted “on the ground” involving local actors and stakeholders to get an accurate picture of human rights abuses. 17.40 - 22.35 The discussion now looks at trends in post-Soviet countries and whether there is any kind of geographical pattern emerging in terms of various aspects of modern slavery. In the early 2000s modern slavery took the form of the trafficking and sexual exploitation of Eastern European women. However, now Laura finds that there is no specific pattern. Males have increasingly become victims of forced labour both in Russia and the central Asian republics, but whilst there are support and rehabilitation services for women, the authorities do not appear to recognise that men and children can become the victims of forced labour. 22.35 - end In looking at progress towards meeting the SDGs, Todd references the work of Gary Marks on multilevel governance and poses the question, what can be done to join up the work of different institutions and what is needed for progress to be made towards attaining these goals? Katarina suggests the following. The need to recognise where overlaps and connections exist between the different levels of governance. To move away from stereotyping of victims (as sex workers for example) because this closes off investigation into other forms of modern slavery. More work on identifying the social and structural conditions that lead people into slavery. The need to harmonise domestic legislation on labour practice, immigration, human rights, victim protection and human rights into a cohesive structure. Laura adds the key is to strengthen the capacity of state institutions to implement anti-slavery laws, and in particular To further support the implementation of domestic laws. To develop victim services and support services. To develop rehabilitation support and services for victims. Useful links The legislation database with a summary of findings Guidance on survivor involvement in policy making Diffusing Human Trafficking Policy in Eurasia, Laura Dean - also available in the US here Gary Marks Insincere commitments: Human Rights Treaties, Abusive States and Citizen Activism, Heather Smith-Cannoy
28 minutes | 9 months ago
Forced marriage and women's rights: what connects SDGs 5 and 8.7?
In Episode 2 of Series 5, we mark International Women’s Day 2020. Todd is joined by Helen McCabe based at The Rights Lab at Nottingham University and Karen Sherman author of Brick By Brick - Building Hope and Opportunity for Women Survivors Everywhere. They discuss the connections between the United Nations’ Sustainable Goals 5 on achieving gender equality and 8.7 ending modern slavery. Helen is an assistant professor of political theory and leads the work of the Rights Lab on forced marriage. Karen is a renowned author and speaker on global women’s issues. She was formerly a senior executive at Women for Women International and is currently President of the Akilah Institute, Rwanda’s only women’s college, leading its strategy, growth, and partnerships. Her main focus is on the role that education and economic participation can play in transforming the lives of women their families and communities. 00 – 4.00 Todd introduces both guests and comments on the connections between the work of both speakers Karen reflects on her work over 30 years and the precarity of women in terms of their rights. (legalised marriage, inheritance, property) Karen refers to her work in Rwanda where men typically resist engaging in legalised marriage preferring traditional marriage, which gives freedom to have multiple wives and which doesn’t place financial obligations on the man. This is in contrast to women who view legalised marriage as a means to safeguard their rights. In attempting to convince men of the value of legalised marriage she found that the protection of children’s rights was seen by men to be more important than women’s rights. Whilst traditional marriage is still the norm in many countries in others legalised marriage and associated rights are in place but not enforced or women are unaware of them. 4.00 – 8.21 Helen sees the parallels with her current research on child marriage and forced marriage. Forced marriage and early age marriage hard to prove in the absence of legal documents, hence the need to ensure full legal documentation of marriage. Legalised marriage confers rights but can also create issues re; access to divorce, custody of children and property rights. Todd suggests that legalising marriage can empower women but as Karen comments, there is a dichotomy between legalisation of marriage which confers rights, and the large numbers of young women and children in Africa and Asia who forced into marriage and have no access to their rights. The key factor is whether women want to be married legally or not. Forced marriage has parallels with slavery because women do not choose to become the property of men. 8.21 – 10.50 The conversation returns to the situation in Rwanda where significant numbers of women are in positions of influence and power. Post war more women comprised 70% of the active population Significant numbers became active politically, entered government and supported pro – women legislation. This gave women the opportunity to renegotiate their rights in terms of marriage and beyond. 10.50 - 15.23 The links between education, access to employment and positive outcomes for women are explored. Education gives women voice but income gives women choice. The kind of education is important It must equip women with the necessary skills for the workplace. In terms of forced marriage girls stay in school marry later, are more likely to go into more options and choice over who they marry. But there are cultural tensions. Worthwhile employment options need to be available post school/college otherwise education loses its usefulness for women. Women (in forced marriages) need more education on; Their rights Their options Support available In Helen’s view a key issue is the resistance men have towards greater equality for women. 15.23 – 20.29 The issues related to women’s rights are global issues. Karen comments on the situation in the USA where; 1 in 16 American women raped as first sexual encounter 1 in 5 women in college experienced sexual assault These figures may be “tip of the iceberg” reference MeToo movement Women are seen as survivors. There are regions where there is greater prevalence but forced marriage occurs everywhere. Helen is working with Karma Nirvana a UK agency working in the area of forced marriage She hopes to be identify communities where forced marriage takes place and the underlying factors which promote forced marriage. Proving coercion under present law, however, is proving to be a problem. 20.29 – 25.27 Todd comments on the disproportionate proportion of young women being trafficked and asks how effective the language of modern slavery, anti-trafficking and the focus on SDG 8.7 can be in changing the situation for women. Karen sees a greater awareness of trafficking but feels the key factors which make women vulnerable needs more work; eg the role of; Poverty Lack of opportunity She also suggests that whilst related trafficking for sex and trafficking for work may have different root causes, which makes intervention problematic. Helen points out that the UN Special Rapporteur on forced marriage argues that linking the issue to modern slavery is an effective way of leveraging action against forced marriage and trafficking. A link is perceived between servile marriage and modern slavery and the global commitment to ending it. The rapporteur sees this as a way to leverage action on gender equality. Helen adds that initial research shows links between forced marriage trafficking and modern slavery. It suggests that forced marriage also has different root causes which leave people vulnerable to trafficking and modern slavery. 25.27 - end Karen says that helping women move from victims to survivors and finally to become active members of society offers hope for the future. Giving women the opportunity to rebuild their lives through education and employment gives them and their families a stake in society and is a hopeful message Links and references 1. Universal declaration of human rights article 16 2. SDG 5.3
24 minutes | 9 months ago
Health and slavery: what connects SDG 3 and SDG 8.7?
In Episode 1 of Series 5 Todd talks to Professor Luis da Costa Leão, Professor in the Department of Collective Health at the Federal University of Mato Grosso in Brazil, about the connections between the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals SDG 3 on good health and well being, and SDG 8.7 on modern slavery. 0.48 – 3.17 The conversation begins with a discussion of the term Collective Health. The concept originated in Brazil at the end of the 1970s amid criticisms of the Brazilian health system while the country was under dictatorship. There is a distinction to be made between medical approaches to health and collective health which takes a holistic view of the determinants of the health of the population, in particular the prevailing socio-economic conditions and how they impact upon health. Luis argues that there is a strong link between conditions of work and health. 3.17 – 6.55 The conversation moves on to discuss the state of public health in Brazil. Todd comments on the large income inequalities that exist within Brazilian society and asks how this is manifested within the public health field. The new constitution of 1988 enshrined health as a universal right and there is a system of universal access to healthcare. In Luis’ field there is increasing interest in the surveillance of working conditions. However, with the recent change of government, Luis notes that there is increasing pressure to privatise aspects of the public health system in Brazil, which could threaten the universal right to health. 6.55 – 11.50 Todd moves on to suggest a strong link between SDG 3 and Collective Health. Luis agrees and comments on the links between health, the work environment, SDG 3 and also SDG 8.7. He outlines his work on the surveillance of working conditions within commodity chains, for example coffee, which have strong historical links to transatlantic slavery. Using sugar as an example Luis describes how there is surveillance of working conditions at each stage of the labour process, and for a wide range of agricultural commodities, which is used to identify examples of modern slavery. 11.50 – 14.12 Todd asks Luis to describe how the authorities deal with reported cases of modern slavery. In Brazil all levels of government have obligations towards workers health and modern slavery and powers to deal with the problem. There are multiple stake holders and also the private sector who are producing the commodities and this means that there is a need for co-ordination between different levels of government and working with the private sector. 14.12 – 16.01 SDG 16 on governance is referenced and Todd refers to the corruption scandals at the highest levels of government and suggests that within the governance structure there is massive opportunity for corruption to obstruct the fight against modern slavery. Luis agrees and adds that corruption has impeded development in Brazil. 16.01- 20.31 In Brazil, modern slavery is officially defined by four conditions each of which is described. Degrading conditions at work Exhausting working hours Servitude Forced Labour Public health has neglected this area and linking public health and modern slavery is made difficult by a lack of reference to it. However, evidence taken from recently freed slaves shows that modern slavery is associated with the denial of acceptable working conditions, adequate shelter, and a healthy diet and this creates major health issues both mental and physical, which affect the both the individuals and the broader community. Not only is modern slavery the opposite of freedom it is also the opposite of a healthy society. 20.31 - end Todd asks whether there are estimates of the numbers trapped in modern slavery in Brazil. Luis says that in the last 15 years more than 5000 people have been taken out of slavery as a result of the work of special teams of labour inspectors. Over 90% of those rescued were found in the agriculture sector. 95% were young men with low levels of education. However, women appear to have been ignored in the definitions of modern slavery for example sex workers and victims of trafficking. These are areas yet to be addressed. Useful links The genesis of collective health in Brazil. The field of Collective Health: definitions and debates on its constitution1 Combatting Forced Labour in Brazil International Labour Organisation Fears for Brazil’s healthcare system Daily Telegraph November 2018
25 minutes | a year ago
Life after slavery: what does freedom really look like?
In Episode 8 Series 4, Todd talks with Juliana Semione, a research associate at the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, who is working to reduce the likelihood of slavery survivors of going back into slavery by better understanding what can help them be resilient and what support they need from practitioners and policy makers. 0:00 – 4:18 Juliana has been researching the concept of freedom from slavery across three cohorts: survivors, law enforcement officials and providers of care in the USA and the UK. Todd and Juliana begin by discussing the idea of ‘freedom’ and how it is slightly different depending on the cohort’s perception and lived experiences. She states that their definitions are not entirely different but have different priorities. The biggest similarity across the cohorts was a universal agreement that freedom means being free from coercion and free will to do as you wish. 4:19 – 8:09 Todd asks whether responses lean towards ‘freedom from’ rather than ‘freedom to’ do things and Juliana says they were more frequently framed as ‘freedom to’. For example, having the ability to defend yourself against those who would try to limit your free will. She also mentions that a common concept of freedom was the ability to heal from the damage inflicted by modern slavery and human trafficking. Todd asks if Juliana got a sense of how long it took for survivors to feel free? To which she replies no, and it is very individualised, but it is not when you are physically removed from your trafficker. 8:10 – 19:02 Todd moves the discussion on to the methodology behind Juliana’s research by asking why she chose the UK and the USA. She highlights three key reasons: Their shared principles. Their perception that they are leaders in the fight against modern slavery. Public discourse around legislation that can be drawn upon. Juliana points out that access to three groups was really varied but most were very engaged. One of the hardest groups to access were survivors and she relied on referrals from practitioners and other survivors. Juliana then outlines the steps she took in utilising the Q methodology in her research: Concourse - she pulled together 700 statements relating to freedom. Q sample - Juliana narrowed this down to 49 statements for the participants to look at. She discusses how difficult this process was. Hit the road - took statements to different cohorts with an organising mat. She asked them to read the statements and pick the two they agreed and disagreed with the most. Then place the remaining cards in order of agree/disagree alternatively. Score - the placement of each statement is assigned a score, but this is not written on the mat. Factor analysis - each statement has a number, which is put into a Q study package allowing you to create a frequency and weighting analysis. 19:03 – 20:49 Juliana discusses some of the preliminary results and patterns but notes she has not finished the analysis. 20:50 - end Todd asks what Juliana hopes to achieve with this research? She hopes this will start a conversation in the modern slavery world and allow us to be able to answer the question what freedom is. She envisages two main audiences: Policy makers - to help them consider what legislation directs us towards. What are survivors freed to? And how do we build steps to get them there? Practitioners - to help service provision to act with greater efficiency.
22 minutes | a year ago
Fast fashion and football: a question of ethics
In Episode 7 of Series 4, Todd talks with Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey, a cross bench member of the House of Lords currently working to amend the Modern Slavery Act and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion. 00.00 - 01.57 As a member of the House of Lords Baroness Young became interested in ethical fashion due partly to her own lack of knowledge about the fashion industry but also the need to focus on the issue of modern slavery in the fashion industry, and the need to make politicians “sit up and take notice”. 1.57 – 11.09 There is a suggestion that people need to be more aware of where their clothes come from, how they are made and what is happening in the supply chains. First seeds sown by the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh which raised awareness of the possible links between fast, throwaway fashion and elements of modern slavery But Baroness Young says this requires: Moving public attitudes away from notions of cheap throw-away fashion Changing business models in the industry; the example cited is the Zara business model Demand in the fashion industry is volatile. Zara is set up to respond rapidly to surges and changes in demand, which is why it is so successful. It operates a system of real-time delivery but that often means sub-contracting out production to meet very short deadlines, but with decreasing control over the impact on the supply chain and its implications for forced overtime. Some companies have a supply chain involving 10,000 suppliers. Fashion trends are constantly changing so there is constant pressure on suppliers to meet very tight production deadlines, which has additional ramifications for the labour force and human rights. 11.09 – 13.00 As a member of the House of Lords Baroness Young believes she is in a good position to influence policy making in the following ways: As a member of parliament she finds it relatively easy to build a rapport with companies to develop dialogue and to help them improve their internal policies towards meeting the conditions of the modern slavery act She has access to government and through that influence on policy making Her work on cross party groups is also influential through the collection of evidence and the publication of reports 13.00 - 14.20 Emphasis placed on the systematic and rigorous collection of evidence rather than reliance on the anecdotal, for example the work of The Rights Lab, and Todd adds: Evidence is hard to collect Victims are hard to find Practices are difficult to observe However, advances in science and technology are now being used in evidence collection.Todd mentions Rights Lab work using satellites to detect modern slavery. 14.20 – end The discussion shifts to consider how sport and modern slavery intersect. Baroness Young finds that there is little realisation within the business of sport of how it can impact on human rights. One of the roles of the All Party Parliamentary Group is to encourage sports organisations to recognise the existence of human rights issues within supply chains to include equality, discrimination, modern slavery and trafficking. Baroness Young notes that: Large sports organisations are notable by their absence at conferences on modern slavery The modern slavery statements of Premier League football clubs are "inadequate" Football clubs do not have statements on attaining SDG goal 8.7 Todd adds that there is a wide range of activity to investigate. Anecdotally, many branches of sport have human rights issues but hard evidence is in short supply. These include: The manufacture of the football kit The manufacture of the footballs, memorabilia and so on The recruitment of the athletes The Construction of the stadia All of these involve large and complex supply chains, which are very difficult to monitor.
23 minutes | a year ago
How is the UN working to end modern slavery?
In Episode 6 of Series 4, we talk to James Cockayne, Director of Centre for Policy Research at the United Nations University in New York. He is the Project Director for Delta 8.7 – The Alliance 8.7 Knowledge Platform, and is Head of the Secretariat for the Liechtenstein Initiative for a Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. 0.00– 1.57 Todd begins by reflecting on the size of the UN and asks James how it helps us understand the fight to end modern slavery. James agrees that the UN is a huge organisation and, as far as tackling slavery is concerned, it is: A forum for member states to talk about global problems like modern slavery. A set of technical agencies undertaking research to help us understand what modern slavery looks like on the ground. A set of organisations that can respond on the ground e.g. peacekeeping in conflict situations, delivering education programmes (Unicef, Global Children’s Fund) through to protection of workers’ rights by the International Labour Organisation James argues this allows the UN to look at the problem holistically revealing how it manifests itself differently in different places. 1.57– 4.56 The discussion moves to whether the UN treats modern slavery as a human rights problem. James says it does but that it is not straightforward because: Modern slavery plays out differently in different contexts. Modern slavery is treated differently by member states and described and viewed differently within the UN system. Some parts of the UN see modern or contemporary slavery as a human rights problem based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whilst others see it through the lens of labour rights or as a criminal justice problem. Todd points out that quite a bit of modern slavery discourse surrounds conflict and humanitarian law. James agrees - in the last few years the UN has been grappling with the connections between these different manifestations and how to respond to it. He offers the example of ISIS/Daesh in Iraq and Syria who use slavery to generate money, to attract fighters by offering enslaved women and girls and dominate the local population. This leads to mass displacement creating its own vulnerabilities to trafficking in Lebanon and other surrounding countries that host refugees. These flow on into North Africa and Europe creating new problems demonstrating the complexities in the way the problems connect. James suggests that the UN is present all along the chain and that there are human rights issues across the chain, but they are probably playing out differently in each case. 4.56 – 6.07 Todd moves the discussion on to modern slavery in a business context, mentioning the UN Global Compact and the Ruggie principles. James agrees modern slavery is increasingly a part of this but asserts that the anti-slavery movement “has been a little slow on the uptake” in engaging with the broader business and human rights discourse. He believes lessons are being learned by business and by government about how to ensure respect for human rights in the business world and that this is flowing into the modern slavery movement and having a positive impact. 6.07 – 11.48 Todd asks how the UN is moving towards the realisation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and associated 169 targets especially those relating to modern slavery. James points again to the size and complexity of the UN and the ambitious set of goals and targets at the heart of its operations. He explains how progression in one area might have a knock-on in others (both positive and negative). For modern slavery this has meant having to think about how efforts to end it connect to broader efforts to achieve sustainable development, e.g. education, gender, work or environmental goals and targets. This requires a more integrated approach and for individual agencies to look beyond their own self-interest. James outlines how Alliance 8.7, led by the ILO is at the heart of this. He describes it as “a multi-stakeholder circus tent” where everyone is welcome and can test the effectiveness of their responses. He explains the science of this is interesting as measuring the incidence of modern slavery is very difficult. He adds that the work of Rights Lab and within the UN has led to major strides in this area. There is still work to be done to establish whether they are meeting their targets. The best estimate from the ILO from 2016 is 40.3 million slaves in the world meaning 9,000 people a day would need to be moved out of modern slavery to achieve the target. As things stand, James acknowledged they don’t know if the figure is moving up or down. Todd adds that the number of people moving into modern slavery also needs to be taken into account. James agrees and mentions that Brazil, which has a good track record, has removed 50,000 slaves across 20 years suggesting there is a long way to go. Good research and evidence is fundamental to progress as is the availability of funding. Todd agrees and outlines the problems with statistics in this area. 11:39 – 12.49 Todd asks about Delta 8.7 and its relation to Alliance 8.7? Delta 8.7 is the knowledge platform of the alliance created by UN university centre for policy research. The aim is to make it easier for policy actors to understand the evidence in individual countries. James continues to explain how this is done using individual country dashboards which include easy to access and understand information on modern slavery along with other local factors. 12.49 – 14.07 In February 2019 there was an event called Code 8.7 which Todd asks James to talk about. James explains it is an exciting new initiative with other partners including Rights Lab, The Computing Community Consortium, The Turing Institute, Arizona State University and Tech Against Trafficking. Aim is to explore the use of artificial intelligence to help solve the problem of modern slavery more quickly. For example, image recognition using satellite imagery through to guided decision making for survivor case management. 14.07 – 16.27 Todd talks about previous podcast episodes with Patrick Ball, the Human Rights Data Analyst Group Executive Director, about machine learning and the discourse of perpetrators and Dr Doreen Boyd who used satellite imagery to identify brick kilns in South Asia. He asks whether this is evidence the UN would consider important in the fight against modern slavery. James says that we have to use every source of data available, and that artificial intelligence is important to sort non-traditional data streams. He believes that Code 8.7 offers new analytical pathways into the problem and also practical applications for helping accelerate response. Todd suggests James’ background as a lawyer is crucial in telling what machine learning and A.I. to look for. There is a fear that natural biases from coders will lead to a misuse of these new tools meaning that definitions and legal parameters become more important. 16.27 – End With this in mind Todd asks what is the core content of modern slavery? James says target 8.7 “talks in one breath about modern slavery, forced labour, human trafficking and the worst forms of child labour” and believes this sends a powerful signal to political actors that there is a need for a collaborative response. Modern slavery itself is not a term of international law but an umbrella discourse term to encapsulate a range of things. A group of academic statisticians led by the ILO, has created a statistical methodology providing a basis for national survey methodologies giving us a common starting point regardless of the varying legal definitions. This will take several years to get results on the ground but James hopes other technologies will also evolve in this time to make a meaningful difference. He concludes by saying survivors have to be at the heart of this process with their explicit consent to avoid traumatising them and increasing vulnerability. Todd agrees and highlights the dilemma in human rights arguing that they are articulated differently in different areas. Emphasising the need to avoid a dissonance between the ivory towers of the UN and the reality on the ground. James says the first 3 words of the UN charter are “We the peoples” and then it goes on to talk about countries which creates a natural tension between intergovernmental politics and the people we are supposed to be serving. He asserts that the UN have to engage with the communities they are trying to help without being patronising. Previous Rights Track podcasts of interest Eye in the sky: rooting out slavery from space Dr Doreen Boyd on how satellite imagery is being used to root out slavery How can statistics advance human rights? Patrick Ball about how statistics can be used to advance and protect human rights Crunching numbers: modern slavery and statistics Sir Bernard Silverman about modern slavery and statistics listen to References Hopgood, The Endtimes of Human Rights (New York: Cornell University Press, 2013).
23 minutes | 2 years ago
Bonded labour: Listening to the voices of the poor and marginalised
In Episode 5 of Series 4, we talk to Pradeep Narayanan Director-Research & Capacity Building and Anusha Chandrasekharan (Senior Programme Manager - Communications) from Praxis, an India-based not-for-profit organisation which works to democratise development processes and institutions in order to ensure that the voices of the poor are heard and acted upon. 00.00 – 3.39 Praxis is a development organisation based in India, aimed at supporting poor and marginalised communities. It works with the most marginalised communities who would otherwise be excluded such as the “dalit”communities, and particularly dalit women, on matters which are important to them. 17% of the Indian population are dalit(untouchables), which is the lowest category of people in the Indian caste system. Although it is easy to gain access to these communities in both rural hamlets and urban slums, the challenge is to how to get their concerns in front of policy makers. Referred to as ground level planning, a range of methods are used; participatory video, digital media and face to face meetings with policy makers. 3.40 – 12.10 The discussion moves on to describe the relationship between the dalit and higher caste groups in relation to bonded labour and forms of modern slavery. Modern forms of slavery in India have emerged from the caste system where high caste landowners engaged dalit as bonded labour. The dalit were effectively indentured to landowners, working on the land and receiving various forms of payment. This practice was abolished by The Bonded Labour Act 1976. Urbanisation has led to significant numbers of dalit living in underserved settlements or slums, seeking work in manufacturing industry in the city. They are vulnerable to exploitation and a system has evolved very similar to traditional bonded labour whereby money is advanced to the poor and marginalised, who then are obliged to work to pay off the debt. The very poor are vulnerable because they do not have easy access to cheap or safe credit and so cannot cope with emergencies that may arise, for example ill health, or other expenses such as weddings, funerals, and at festival times. Employers’ agents take advantage of the situation to advance money to vulnerable families who are then required to “work off” the loan. This involves long hours, bad working conditions, physical and sometimes sexual abuse of women. There are also instances of people not being paid for their work; e.g. the brick industry. The workers are not free to leave. Employers operate via a climate of fear and intimidation which is used to control the workers. Working with the labourers is challenging because they are in fear of the employers, and unwilling to speak about their situation or even to accept that they are in bondage. 09.55 – 14.20. At this point a link is made with research by Austin Choi Fitzpatrick, who writes of a cultural acceptance of debt bondage in the villages, which is also borne out by the experience of the speakers. This acceptance on the part of the labourers creates a situation whereby labour exploitation can occur. The question is how to change the labourer’s awareness of their situation. Praxis is working with Freedom Fund on a programme which involves; The formation of an action research group within a community which collects case study information, identifies what drives debt bondage, for example health, and works with the group to understand the link between poor health and bondage. The collection of evidence within and outside the group leads on to discussion, and the group are able to define what they understand by the term bonded labour and to relate it to examples of bonded labour within their local community. Once the group have identified examples of bonded labour the next step is to encourage action at the local level, which may be in terms of questioning traditional attitudes and practices and raising petitions. 14.20 – 17.17 The discussion now moves on to review the outcomes of the interventions made by Praxis. The main outcomes are: At the local level the development of action groups and raising community awareness is moving people out of debt bondage. However, on its own this does not offer the poor a viable alternative. There is very little data on bonded labour. Consequently, it is difficult to get policy makers to address the issue. Work with the Freedom Fund initiative feeds into this issue and is helping to raise awareness. They are seeking to re-open the discussion on the Bonded Labour Act 1976 to develop discourse with the government. They also want the focus to move away from citizen – state, and to broaden the focus to include major businesses and in particular the supply chains of those businesses. Praxis is a partner in Corporate Responsibility Watch which monitors the top 100 Indian businesses looking a number of indicators including their supply chains to see how compliant they are with labour laws, whilst at the same time influencing government policy. This is, however, a slow, incremental process. 17.17 – end Todd reflects on the work of Amartya Sen on democracy and famineand wonders whether in the world’s largest democracy whether a similar argument could be applied to debt bondage and bonded labour. The situation in India presents a number of constraints. The democratic process, although not broken, is flawed. Whilst current laws list basic entitlements which should be open to all this is not the case Two related issues are; getting the government to look seriously at the links between poverty, social rights, and bonded labour, and also to be able to hold government to account. A further constraint is that, in this multi-cultural society, development is not yet seen as the sole issue to be addressed. Removing the barriers to achieving basic rights is the key because it is the barriers which cause vulnerable communities to become trapped into bonded labour in the first place.
19 minutes | 2 years ago
How is the church leading the fight to end modern slavery?
In Episode 4 of Series 4, we talk to the Right Reverend Dr Alastair Redfern, Chair of Trustees at Sarum College and, until recently, Bishop of Derby and member of the House of Lords committee which helped to frame the Modern Slavery Act 2015. 0.00 – 5.35 Todd begins by asking Dr. Redfern to describe the Clewer Initiative, and how he became involved. The initiative is the Church of England’s response to modern slavery although in reality it works closely with the Catholic Church and other faiths. In its own words it focuses on “enabling Church of England dioceses and wider Church networks to develop strategies to detect modern slavery in their communities and help provide victim support and care.” His participation arose out of his work with the food industry in Lincolnshire and in Derby. He was approached by nuns from the Clewer House of Mercy based now at Ripon, who invited him to become involved. The initiative, which is funded by the Clewer House order, involves building a network of modern slavery practitioners to share best practice and for professionals with expertise in different fields to work alongside volunteers who are better placed to provide comfort and emotional support to the victims. Todd suggests there are parallels with the Baptist church in the USA and the Civil Rights movement. Dr Redfern sees the role of the church as helping to connect the police, local authorities, charities and voluntary organisations. The Clewer Initiative is not a service provider. It aims to convene, enable, encourage and provide practical support. 5.35 – 7.40 Discussion of the Clewer Initiative’s Car Wash App as an example of the practical efforts it is making to tackle modern slavery. A simple to use app which can increase awareness of modern slavery in plain sight. The app provides a valuable extra source of intelligence material to the police Todd points out that it is an example of crowd sourcing technology, which can engage the public with a countrywide reach across over 16,000 parishes. 7.40 – 10.00 Todd asks how bridges are built between faiths to work on the problem of modern slavery - mentions The Santa Marta Group as an example of another faith group that is involved Dr Redfern says that working with other faiths is not a top down process. Many faiths are locally autonomous and not subject to central direction. It works by inviting people to participate on their own terms and to use the tools and information provided in ways that work best for them. The approach also requires sensitivity, an understanding of cultural context when working with different faiths and cultures 10.00 – 13.40 Todd points out that some passages in the bible appear to endorse slavery and asks how the church comes to terms with that. Dr Redfern suggests that the church can approach this in two ways. One approach is to say that it was historically contextual and that times have changed along with attitudes. The other view concerns an interpretation of what slavery means. He sees two forms of slavery. The abusive, controlling form or modern slavery People in general are enslaved by their own selfish needs and wants, some of which may be connected to the exploitation of individuals He adds that we are all complicit to some degree in supporting modern slavery for example mobile phones may well have components that have been manufactured using slave labour. 13.40 – 16.39 SDG 8.7 commits to the ending of modern slavery by 2030. Todd asks Dr Redfern to comment on whether he thinks this is achievable. He sees this as a political target and wouldn’t want to commit to it. He talks of encouraging signs. Set against the backdrop of the state retreating from the oversight of public life, business is becoming an increasingly important player in global citizenship. There is a clear inference that consumer pressure may become important with major companies in moving away from products produced using slave labour. He is less optimistic about the role of policy making in supporting the process. 16.39 – 19.38 Todd’s final question is about the impact the church, though its bishops can have on policy making in The House of Lords. Faith leaders sit on committees that help to frame legislation. House of Lords includes numbers of appointees with a wide range of backgrounds experience and expertise which can be drawn upon. This may be a better model for governance going forward.
24 minutes | 2 years ago
Becoming a slave: who's vulnerable to being trafficked?
In Episode 3 of Series 4 Dr Patricia Hynes from the University of Bedfiordshire and Patrick Burland, Senior Project Officer for Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery for the UN Migration Agency (IOM) discuss their research which looks to improve understanding of the causes, determinants and ‘vulnerabilities’ to human trafficking as well as the support needs of people from countries who have experienced trafficking into the UK. 0.00 – 2.32 The episode begins with a short clip of Kieran Guilbert of the Thomson Reuters Foundation who spoke to the Rights Track about a forthcoming project profiling the lived experiences of people who have been trafficked. Kieran begins by referencing contemporary examples of stories from survivors of slavery. His view is that while we know a great deal about trafficking we know little of how victims are helped to recover. He speaks of a multi-media project featuring the survivors of slavery which takes as its starting point the idea that freedom from slavery is not the end of the story but the beginning of a new story which includes healthcare, counselling, education jobs and integration back into society. 2.33 – 3.07 Todd refers to the clip and asks Patricia Hynes to comment on Kieran’s suggestion that the conversation about trafficking needs to “move forward”. He then goes on to ask about the model of vulnerability that they have developed. 3.08 – 5.25 Patricia agrees it’s important to look forward, but doesn’t accept that we have full knowledge of what trafficking involves given that: the nature of exploitation is evolving whilst we know a great deal about sexual exploitation, little is known about the trafficking of men and boys from the countries they have studied there are gaps in national statistics on trafficking In her view there is a need to focus on: plugging the gaps in our knowledge re trafficking identifying the next step is for survivors finding out more about needs of survivors or how they recover from trafficking So look forwards but also look backwards. 5.26 – 6.05 Todd asks why their research focuses on people from Nigeria, Albania and Vietnam when the largest proportion of survivors listed in the National Referral Mechanism(NRM) are UK nationals. 6.06 – 7.08 In reply Patricia gives the following reasons: they were in the top 4 countries re: NRM referrals the focus on UK nationals is very much child sexual exploitation whereas they wanted to be able to use the International Organization for Migration’s determinants of migrant vulnerability model for funding purposes the countries had to be ODA eligible countries(the UK is not) 7.09 – 9.27 Todd moves on to ask how survivors can look forward to a positive future. According to Patrick research conducted in the field indicated a lack of knowledge around trafficking to the UK and what support was given to victims on their return. However, given that it is difficult for the victims to remain in the UK in the longer term, it appears that on their return to their home country they find it difficult to access comprehensive support and assistance programs, leaving them vulnerable to being re-trafficked. 9.28 – 9.37 Todd asks Patrick to explain the IOM model of determinants of vulnerability 9.38 – 12.19 Patrick outlines 4 levels of determinants that affect vulnerability prior to, during and after the migration experience. It seeks to understand what might provide protection and resilience to the individual during the migration journey. Individual - age gender, education, wealth/income/employment Household and family - size, household wealth/family background Community - how protective is the community of individuals, beliefs and practices - found to be a significant factor in placing people in vulnerable situations Structural - access to safe migration opportunities, governance, rule of law, corruption, the socio-economic situation within the country 12.20 – 12.54 Todd summarises this as looking at vulnerability “from the micro to the macro”. He asks whether established cultural practices lead people into being trafficked unwittingly. 12.55 – 13.53 Patricia agrees and says their research in Albania confirmed this. She talks of a “code of silence” where trafficking is not mentioned. She points to gender imbalance and the inability of the state to protect individuals as structural aspects of vulnerability and confirms that income inequality is also a major factor in vulnerability. 13.54 – 14.38 Todd refers to an earlier Rights Track episode with Austin Chioi-Fitzpatrick who has conducted research on the perpetrators of slavery and asks whether, during their research, they obtained information on the traffickers themselves. 14.39 - 17.35 Patrick replies that across the 3 countries the profiles of traffickers can be quite different. However they able to investigate the ways in which traffickers are able to recruit their victims and the role of households and communities in influencing the decision to engage with a potential trafficker. They found that: traffickers often have strong connections directly or through intermediaries to the victim via family or community which develops feelings of trust and security in the individual. these people may have a higher status within the community which can create pressure on an individual to engage in the process the people approaching the individual may or may not be aware of the potential for trafficking to take place migration involves connecting an individual to a complex and shifting network of contacts and intermediaries, starting within their family and community but ending up elsewhere. 17.36 – 18.43 Todd moves on to consider the situation in the UK and the proposed Victim Support Bill.He asks two related questions: What is the status of the victims; will they be returned to their home country or do they have asylum status how many? Is the Victim Support Bill a welcome development? 18.44 – 20.04 Patricia says she supports the Victim Support Bill although she argues that it represents a beginning She supports the extension of the 45 day reception period which she argues is not long enough She suggests that even a 12 month extension period may not be long enough. Research shows it takes a long time for individuals to feel safe, secure and to be able to talk about their experiences given the extent of the traumas they have experienced. She Infers that the current system in the UK is not as supportive as it might be 20.05 – 21.37 Patrick refers to research he undertook with representatives from NAPTIP (National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Nigeria) In all they have only supported 6 victims of trafficking who had returned to Nigeria from the UK. The assumption is that the number is greater given that Nigeria ranks in the top 5 NRM referral countries and this suggests that very few victims returning to Nigeria are able to access assistance and support back in Nigeria. 21.38 – 21.54 Todd asks about plans to share the research findings with policy makers and the wider community attempting to put an end to slavery. 21.55 – 22.28 Patricia explains: The research has generated substantial data set of 170 interviews (58 are of survivors) and there is a wish to disseminate it as widely as possible They are working on the final draft of a report to Parliament due in March; the working title is “Between two Fires”
21 minutes | 2 years ago
Fighting slavery on the ground: what does it look like?
In Episode 2 of Series 4 of The Rights Track, Todd talks to Dan Vexler, Director of Programs at The Freedom Fund and asks the question “How do you fight slavery on the ground?” In an interview recorded on International Anti-Slavery Day We also hear from David Westlake and Steve Webster of The International Justice Missionabout their approach to the problem. 0.00-6.20 mins David Westlake and Steve Webster talk about the partnerships they make to help them build and pursue a criminal case against the perpetrators of modern slavery an support the victims through the process and afterwards Todd’s asks Dan whether The Freedom Fund adopts the same approach In response Dan agrees that modern slavery is a crime and should be prosecuted as such but argues for a broader approach. He sees law enforcement as part of a solution but argues that we need to ask why people become enslaved, and suggests that it is because they are viewed as second class citizens with fewer rights, and thus more vulnerable to the exercise of power over them Todd picks up on this argument and in particular the idea that social norms within societies can lead to modern slavery being ‘acceptable’. By way of example Dan talks about the exploitation of migrant labour in the Thailand sea food industryworking in appalling conditions. He argues that Thai’s view such exploitation as permissible because they see these migrants as second-class citizens; a view that is tacitly supported, for example, by the police 6.20-11.30 Todd points to the twin elements of deception and coercion which lead to migrants in Thailand becoming trapped on boats for months on end without pay and asks whether this fits the definition of modern slavery, which is confirmed by Dan Todd then goes on to ask what the Freedom Fund does to tackle the problem Dan explains the Freedom fund are working in many places for example; Thailand, India, Nepal and Ethiopia, and so that it depends on what the issues are in each place A key focus is prevention, via information to communities about the reality of the situations they may find themselves in, raising awareness of the deceptions practised by recruitment agencies, raising awareness of their human rights including the legality of their work situation, and organising them to watch out for traffickers The other strand is prosecution and advocacy to power holders to protect citizen’s rights Todd summarises the above and then moves on to ask about migrant workers in Qatar and the UAE and how they are coerced into a situation of modern slavery Dan refers to the programme in Ethiopia which focuses on female domestic workers and argues that deception and coercion occur all the way through the process from the pressure she feels to travel to the Gulf to support her family, the misrepresentation of contracts made by local brokers, the long hours she is forced to work, the and the degrading way she is treated by the family she works for He adds that The Freedom Fund is not against migration as such because of the economic benefits remittances However, he sees migration as ‘an entry point” which can lead individuals into modern slavery 11.30- 13.30 Todd points to similar situations happening everywhere in the world including The USA and the UK Dan agrees but would see this as being an exception given the strength of legal institutions in countries like the UK and draws a distinction between the UK and Bihar where large numbers of people are in debt bondage Debt bondage is another form of modern slavery involving lower caste people working on the land to pay off debts either recently incurred or inherited. They often work unpaid or are charged exorbitantly high interest rates which they can never repay 13.30-17.30 Todd now moves on to ask about the concept of “Hot Spots”what they are and how they are chosen? Dan explains that rather than spread their resources too thinly they concentrate on a limited number of slavery hotspots globally. They are chosen based on a number of factors; prevalence, whether there are local NGO’s they can support, the government’s position and a guarantee of sustainable funding The focus is on supporting front line local community based organisations which he feels have been neglected in funding the fight against modern slavery The role of the fund is to integrate the work of different organisations to ensure they share common objectives and to build a coalition working for systemic change in terms of criminal justice, and awareness raising, and advocacy to business organisations By way of example Dan refers to lobbying for more protection for migrant workers in the Thailand sea food industry, and pressing the Ethiopian government to develop policies to make economic migration safer rather than preventing migration 17.30-end Todd’s final question is about how the Freedom Fund measures success Success can be achieved by putting pressure on governments Success can be evaluated by universities who analyse which interventions are working best Dan points to the change in policy in Ethiopia from prevention of migration to developing policies for safe migration as an example of success Todd summary: Shift away from criminal justice focus Increased attention to root causes of slavery including cultural norms Intervention raise awareness Some cautious optimism for achieving change over the long term
24 minutes | 2 years ago
The useable past: what lessons do we learn from history in the fight to end slavery?
In Episode 1 of Series 4 of The Rights Track, Todd is in the United States, where he interviews leading slavery experts Professor David Blight from Yale University and Professor John Stauffer from Harvard University about lessons from history that are applicable in today's fight to end modern slavery. He starts by talking to David Blight about his recently published biography of Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era. 0.00-5.00 David talks about his quest to find out over nearly a decade to understand why Douglas was so steeped in the Old Testament He mentions Old Testament scholars recommended to him including Robert Alter Walter Bruggemann and Abraham Heschel. He explains how reading those scholars led him to describe Douglass as a Prophet of Freedom 5.00-13.13 David says what Douglass had to say about a host of issues related to issues of inequality still resonates today He goes on to explain that being a successful campaigner who achieved great things by the time he was in his forties he went on to see many of those victories eroded as his life drew to an end - he references the Jim Crow laws Douglass' power lay in his facility with carefully crafted words and prophetic language. He references the Fugitive Slave Crisis, the Dred Scott decision and the black exodus to Kansas David talks about his favourite words from Douglass' second autobiography My Bondage and my Freedom describing how he will continue use his voice, his pen and his vote in the fight against slavery and how he thinks that's all any of us has today to fight slavery. Todd asks John Stauffer what lessons from history are being harnessed in what's been describes as the 4th wave of an anti-slavery movement 13.25-end John talks about the power of the voice in history and today (orally and written) - he references the first abolitionist newspaper, William Lloyd Garrison's The Liberator and the response that drew from John C.Calhoun, a political advocate of slavery and someone credited with 'starting' the American Civil War Todd asks if it's the voices of slaves themselves that are more important or the voices of people who represent slaves - John says it's both John explains that even though there was no internet or social media to help spread anti-slavery messages, the power of public speaking then was as influential as the voices of celebrities today. John says the abolitionists, despite only being 5% of the population, may not have turned people into abolitionists, but they were effective in making people anti-slavery John says that silencing slaves is the weapon of modern day slave owners just as it was more than 100 years ago so that speaking out and bearing witness is the key to mobilising action to end slavery.
34 minutes | 2 years ago
Modern slavery: a human rights approach
In Episode 8, guest host Zoe Trodd, Director of The Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham interviews regular Rights Track host Todd Landman about taking a human rights approach to researching and tackling modern slavery. They reflect together on why this is important to their programme of research aiming to end modern slavery and on the important and insightful conversations that The Rights Track has had about the work in the Series to date. 00.00 – 05.40 Discussion around quantitative analysis and why it matters in the field of human rights and anti-slavery research. Todd points out that there are aspects of lives (attributes) which can be quantified and that this: Adds precision to analysis Allows comparison between groups of people at different scales and across countries Allows researchers to explore the relationships between different attributes or variables leading to generalisations and predictions Zoe then asks what this means for the relatively young field of modern slavery research. Todd agrees the field of modern slavery research is in its infancy, but points out that so is the use of quantitative methods in the field of Human Rights. He points to an early work by Donald Greer in 1935 which mapped violence during the French Revolution and the work of Mitchell and McCormack, World Politics Vol 40 1988 as the first real attempt at applying quantitative methods to the study of Human Rights. He says the fields of Human Rights and Modern Slavery share certain characteristics: They study hard to find victims and practices They use the same models They share the same sources of data Note: the study of hard to find populations and practices has the potential for measurement error which requires caution when dealing with the data and analysing the results. 05.25 – 11.20 Zoe points out that the field of human rights dates back to the 18thcentury and the work of the anti-slavery abolitionists and yet there is very little co-ordination between different groups working in the field of modern slavery. She wonders what Todd’s thoughts are on a human rights approach to modern slavery: For governments and NGO’s, who concentrate on a criminal justice approach International labour organisations who focus on modern slavery as a labour rights issue Now human rights has been seen as a development issue (see SDG 8 plus table) Todd sees the study of modern slavery evolving in a similar way to human rights: Developing precise definitions and measurements of modern slavery Human Rights work on obligations of the state to protect rights could be applied to the prevention and detection of modern slavery Will need to move away from the narrow focus on civil rights violations and to look at what governments can do to create the socio-economic conditions to stop people falling in to modern slavery It needs to move away from a law-based focus and to engage with other disciplines for example, statistics, to see what they can add to understanding Techniques that have been developed in the field of human rights can also be applied to modern slavery; for example; “the who did what to whom” model, and multiple systems estimations Combining rigorous research with advocacy requires researchers to remain as objective as possible – this can be a challenge when you are also looking to change something e.g. abolish slavery 11.20 – 15.50 Discussion around defining what modern slavery really means. Todd says: As with other aspects of human rights such as torture, definitions are contested – mentions the Handbook on Reporting Torture Definitions of modern slavery should be neither too narrow nor too broad We live in a world where traditional indicators property, control, and coercion are not as obvious Todd suggests modern slavery is the intentional denial of “agency” or freedom, and the task is to identify what the intentional denial of agency involves. 15.50 – 21.10 Slavery as a development issue. Todd points out that historically slavery provided an exploitable work force and was a tool for economic development. He adds: Slaves are a cheap form of labour, but he argues that this can be a drag on economic and social development because labour is not used efficiently, modern slaves are not wage earners or tax payers Liberation on its own is not enough - there needs to be strong financial support mechanisms otherwise people may fall back into slavery 21.10 – 27.50 Todd’s thoughts on The Rights Lab - measuring progress on HOW their 4 main questions might be answered. How many slaves are there in the world? This needs to involve use of: multiple measures generation of indicators precise definitions developing proxy measures looking at risk factors identifying where there is a high probability of slavery: e.g. the geospatial analysis based research being carried out by Doreen Boyd at Nottingham University Why does slavery persist? Todd suggests three approaches/questions: What are the economic conditions which cause people to fall into slavery? What are the structural and institutional conditions, which allow people to fall into slavery? What are the cultural circumstances, which lead to forms of slavery becoming normalised? What approaches to tackling slavery work? Map how many NGOs are working in this field and find out what they are doing Look at the success or otherwise of individual projects and understand why they were successful and importantly why they were not Compare different interventions and contexts to understand why they worked What is the freedom dividend? Need to acknowledge there may not be one Identifying and measuring what constitutes a freedom dividend is very difficult The link between liberation and a dividend will be difficult to prove Zoe mentions the business case for removing slavery from supply chains as a possible dividend in this respect 27.50 - end Todd is asked to reflect on his highlights of the first year of The Rights Lab. They include: The passion of the researchers and the contributors to the Rights Track podcast The innovative ways of generating and analysing data The Geospatial work, which has revolutionised data collection. All human activity leaves a trace including slavery, and using geospatial analysis potential slavery activities have been identified enabling NGOs to be alerted and slaves to be liberated. Todd finishes by talking about what next for The Rights Track including planned discussions with stakeholders and beneficiaries of the research and ideas to take the podcast on the road to talk to non academic groups involved in the struggle to end modern slavery. Further links and resources Fuzzy set social science, Charles Ragin Rights Track interview with Kevin Bales Global Slavery Index Michael Ignatieff Bellagio-Harvard Guidelines Rights Track episode on the perpetrators of slavery with Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick Rights Track interviews with Bernard Silverman, Andrea Nicholson and Minh Dang, Doreen Boyd, Alex Trautrims Satellite Sentinel Project– George Clooney Finding research pathways to a slavery-free world Zoe Trodd writes for Open Global Rights
25 minutes | 2 years ago
Face to face: researching the perpetrators of modern slavery
In Episode 7 we talk about the perpetrators of slavery with Austin Choi - Fitzpatrick, author of What Slave Holders Think - How Contemporary perpetrators rationalise what they do. 00.00 - 06.06 Discussion of what drew Austin to research the perpetrators of slavery: not enough known about them and their relationship with the people they hold in slavery. Also important to consider the role perpetrators play both in the enslaving and freeing of people Explanation of bonded labour in India, a practice where perpetrators are violating human rights but not local norms and where they don't see themselves as criminals, so the practice is in plain view Todd refers to the well known Star Trek Prime Imperative (Directive) to suggest a possible metaphor for how how Austin approached interviewing the perpetrators of slavery Austin says going in and labelling people immediately would have conversations to an abrupt end and explains how he took account of people’s own experiences and lives in his approach. Using open ended questions about local issues: the climate, government, local law enforcement and relationships with local labour and advocacy groups in the community, helped him develop a picture of the nature of modern slavery He avoided the use of abolitionist language and tried to learn more about how perpetrators see themselves 06.06 - 10.30 Todd asks how Austin came to be accepted by the local community and built trust and rapport Austin explains how he discounted snowball sampling as a method and instead used a Leapfrog method - when he found people he believed to be perpetrators he got them to refer him on to others who were also involved with bonded labour It was a challenge to work out if perpetrators were telling the truth Austin did by triangulating what he was told ‘on the fly’ to see which bits added up and which bits didn’t. Austin describes how he grew his beard because that seemed to confer additional spiritual status within the community and shared his own family experiences as a grandson of a farmer to establish his credibility Todd summarises this as a rapport and empathy approach 10.30 – 17.20 Austin explains he interviewed 40 perpetrators and 20 victims/survivors for his research and describes the main insights he gained were around A sense of lost relationships with their workers who they felt earlier had been members of their family A sense of lost respect of their workers that they had earned from relationships. Austin says it may have been a façade but found the choice of language was really interesting and what he was least prepared for Todd then asks Austin to say more about the relationship between perpetrator and slave He says that commonly the exploiter would be on the edge of the community or circle not separate from it (as for example a trafficker) and that then raises the issue of how people live together post emancipation Todd makes a comparison with community courts called Gacaca in Rwanda which leads on to a discussion about issues surrounding reconciliation within communities, and what restorative justice looks like Todd then asks if, once uncovered, perpetrators stop the practice Austin says in some cases that depends on access to capital and cash either, to go into legitimate business or to use their status and connections with the police as a credible threat to the labour force and to carry on as before 17.20 - 19.60 Discussion around what motivated the perpetrators and how they rationalised what they were doing Austin explains in many cases perpetrators had inherited the situation of control but were asking themselves why they would continue given the negative political impacts and whether they wanted to be seen as perpetrators of slavery - there is also a suggestion that for many there are few alternatives to the status quo Austin then makes the point that there is not enough known about what it takes to come out of abusive relationships not least of all for the perpetrators – he adds it needs both victims and perpetrators to work together to reach some form of attributive justice Todd references the work of Bill Simmons discussed in Series 1 of The Rights Track and his upcoming book Joyful Human Rights which raises the idea that human rights abuse victims also have a normal side to the lives they lead and comments that this is also the case for perpetrators or abusers 19.60 - 24.52 Todd wonders if Austin's research in India is applicable elsewhere Austin suggests that it applies where labour exploitation is embedded in cultural practices e.g. India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh In broader terms he says he is dealing with violation of human rights but not social norms and in stepping outside of the slavery context he recognises that social change means that current behaviours can become unacceptable - one question he raises is how we deal with behaviour that was once acceptable, and no longer is He makes a final point about the way we all find ways to excuse exploitive Todd highlights how our view of Human Rights principles is evolving, and how human rights terminology isn’t necessarily recognised by local communities He closes by focussing on Gramsci’s notion of false consciousness in which people didn’t know they were being exploited or accepted they were perpetrators Further links and resources Watch a You Tube video of Austin talking about his research
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