What works?: A review of interventions to combat modern day slavery


**What works? **

A review of interventions to combat modern day slavery.

Research paper prepared by Katharine Bryant, Research Manager, Walk Free Foundation and Bernadette Joudo, Research Assistant, Walk Free Foundation


The importance of evaluation to understanding the impact and effectiveness of projects designed to prevent or address the harm connected with modern slavery is widely accepted.1 Reviews of evaluations already undertaken offers an opportunity to both take stock of the state of the evaluation field – what has been evaluated and what has not? - but also to identify and examine results emerging from evaluation work that has already been undertaken. From these existing evaluations we’re able to identify what do we know, what don't we know, and what remains unclear?

In an effort to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of projects combating modern slavery, the Promising Practices Database was created by the Walk Free Foundation. The Database collatesimpact and programmatic evaluations of anti-slavery and counter trafficking programming and categorises these by terms such as country, region, type of modern slavery, and impact of the evaluation. The Database was developed so that project developers, researchers, and academics could quickly identify relevant evaluation work that had already been undertaken, but also seek to better understand what works – and what does not— through a simple search by country, target population, type or sector of slavery, or type of intervention. The theory is that we can learn from the evaluations already undertaken, even if the learning is ‘there is a lot we don't know.’ To date, the Database contains 179 evaluations from the modern slavery and associated sectors.

Within the database, each evaluation is categorised based on the type of modern slavery, sector (or industry), type of activity, and program results. From this categorisation, we have mapped existing evaluations, identifying where they have been conducted, and whether there are any areas where further evaluation work is necessary. We have also been able to draw some general conclusions about the current state of monitoring and evaluation in the anti- slavery and counter trafficking field.

Following this overview paper are a set of policy papers that dive into different sectors or interventions targeting modern slavery, where we have made observations about which practices have been proven to work, which look promising, and which are ineffective.

This paper sets out the theory and purpose of the database; an overview of the process for developing the database; and identifies key lessons for modern slavery programming and evaluations. For more detailed analysis of certain sectors or interventions, please refer to corresponding policy briefs on case management initiatives, labour monitoring systems, and conditional and non-conditional cash transfers, among others.

A note on definitions

For the purposes of this research, the term ‘modern slavery’ is used. Modern slavery is an umbrella term which describes different forms of exploitation such as human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.