There are an estimated 40 million people in modern slavery around the world today. 193 countries have committed to ending slavery by 2030.
In the same week that U21’s University of Glasgow won ‘University of the Year’ based on the institution’s response to its historical links with the slave trade which included a pledge to spend £20 million in reparations, a cohort of early career researchers (ECRs) from across the network were brought together at the U21 Early Career Researcher Workshop to tackle challenges in ‘Modern Slavery, Forced Labour and Human Trafficking’.
This workshop marked several ‘firsts’ for the network including being the first virtual week-long workshop and the first to be hosted on the new collaboration and connection platform U21 Community.
Co-hosted by the Rights Lab and the Researcher Academy at the University of Nottingham the workshop marked the UN’s International Day for the Abolition of Slavery that took place on 2 December. This day was focused on the eradication of contemporary forms of slavery and signalled the moment when the global community entered the Decade of Delivery for the seventeen UN Sustainable Delivery Goals (SDGs), with only 10 years left to achieve the goals by the end of 2030. Acknowledging that an effective movement to end slavery by 2030 requires both rigorous research that underpins new policy and interdisciplinary research collaborations, the workshop content was led by contributions from participants themselves and showcased existing research and highlighted opportunities for collaboration from across disciplines and borders. Other keynote speakers included Professor Todd Landman (Executive Director of the Rights Lab), Professor Nadine Finegan-Carr (Research Associate and Assistant Director of The Ruth Young Centre, University of Maryland) and Dr Katarina Schwarz (Rights Lab Associate Director (Law and Policy Programme) and Assistant Professor of Antislavery Law and Policy, University of Nottingham).
The workshop focused on scalable opportunities for this year’s cohort. ECRs were invited to identify where the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals intersect with targets to end modern slavery and trafficking. This produced a visual map of opportunities and ideas where the SDGs connect and can help build capacity to support the eradication of slavery. ECRs were also invited to establish an Antislavery Early Research Association and contribute to special issue of the Journal of Modern Slavery in 2021.
A new addition to this year’s workshop included a Dragons’ Den-style session where ECRs were invited to ‘pitch’ for seed funding to support their collaborative projects. The Dragons including Professor Todd Landman, Professor Bairbre Redmond (U21 Provost) and Dr Jill Robbie (Lecturer, University of Glasgow and ECR Workshop alumnus), were so impressed by the pitches that they decided to fund all 6 projects to the value of $18,000. These projects will come to fruition over the course of next year.
The next U21 ECR Workshop will be taking place in 2021. Host to be confirmed. For more information please contact Connie Wan