By Davina P. Durgana, PhD
Over the past year, the Walk Free Foundation Global Slavery Index and CHANCE, a journal of the American Statistical Association (ASA), have collaborated closely to develop a Special Issue on Modern Slavery. Global Slavery Index Executive Director of Global Research Fiona David, Senior Research Manager Jacqueline Joudo Larsen, and Senior Researcher Dr. Davina Durgana have authored articles in this Special Edition alongside prominent anti-slavery scholars and esteemed Expert Working Group members. This special edition is now available online and was commemorated at an official launch event at Harvard University on October 2nd, 2017 sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights and the Inter-University Consortium Against Modern Slavery (ICAMS) Network.
The mission of CHANCE as a publication is to use data to advance science, education and society. These objectives align strongly with our commitment to action-oriented data science and analysis. Each article in this Special Issue of CHANCE on Modern Slavery addresses poignant challenges and innovative solutions to the effective measurement of modern slavery. The lead article by Dr. Kevin Bales provides an overall context for the development of statistics in modern slavery and the current obstacles and recent victories therein. Drs. Sheldon X. Zhang and Kyle Vincent provide insights on strategies to estimate global prevalence of trafficking for sexual exploitation in their contribution to this Special Issue.
Jacqueline Joudo Larsen and Dr. Davina Durgana describe the Global Slavery Index’s methodology and process of measuring vulnerability and measuring prevalence of modern slavery, including a candid discussion of the improvements made over the past few years in these techniques. Jacqueline Joudo Larsen and Dr. Pablo Diego-Rosell discuss their pioneering work in the development of a global survey program measuring modern slavery prevalence. Drs. Davina Durgana and Graham Brown highlight the challenges of global data reporting and suggest solutions to remedy these biases and shortcomings in available data at the global level. Drs. Maarten Cruyff, Jan van Dijk, and Peter G.M. van der Heijden detail their successes in employing Multiple Systems Estimation (MSE) to government-held lists of identifiable modern slavery victim data to develop credible national estimates of modern slavery prevalence for the Netherlands. This work is continued through the Multiple Systems Estimation program of the Walk Free Foundation and other key partners in Romania, Serbia, the United Kingdom, and others. Drs. Davina Durgana and Paul Zador explore five potential methods to estimate modern slavery prevalence in the particularly difficult context of the United States.
In her concluding piece, Fiona David reflects on the strong technical progress that has been made in the use of statistics to measure modern slavery prevalence and vulnerability as the International Labour Organization and Walk Free Foundation have just recently announced the 2016 Joint Global Estimates of Modern Slavery through the collaborative framework of Alliance 8.7: http://www.alliance87.org/ This CHANCE Special Issue highlights the many statistical innovations and rigorous techniques that have been employed to develop the best possible estimates of modern slavery today and provides a roadmap to the future of global collaboration and a constantly improving technical approach to this field. The CHANCE Special Issue can be purchased as a single issue here: http://www.tandfonline.com/actions/contactUs and a full subscription to the CHANCE journal can be obtained here.