23 Sep 2021

Walk Free update evidence base on programs to end modern slavery

Walk Free today released an update to their Promising Practices Database which collates evaluations of interventions against modern slavery, and have identified trends in programming and evaluation over the last five years.

Sa Dec, Vietnam. Bricks stacked in a kiln in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. Workers in brick kilns are often vulnerable to modern slavery, particularly debt bondage, forced labour, and the worst forms of child labour. Photo Credit: Jan Enkelmann via Getty Images.

With less than 10 years until the deadline to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, understanding “what works” to eradicate modern slavery has never been more critical. With some 40.3 million people in modern slavery on any given day in 2016, and with the likely exacerbation of all forms as a result of COVID-19, it is essential that any lessons learnt on how to address exploitation are shared with the wider global community.

Walk Free has released an update of the Promising Practices Database, collating a total of 262 evaluations of anti-slavery and counter trafficking programming to assist policy makers, donors, and program designers to quickly identify what works – and what does not – to eradicate modern slavery.

Initially created in 2015, the Database collates impact and program evaluations of anti-slavery and counter trafficking interventions in a publicly available dataset. Walk Free’s initial analyses of the Database drew on 179 evaluations to identify common lessons learnt. It was not an overwhelmingly positive picture; it was found that program evaluations were often too weak to draw any concrete conclusions, while the evaluations were unclear in the definition of objectives and program design.

Through a comparison of the 2015 and 2020 editions of the Database, Walk Free has identified trends in anti-slavery and counter trafficking programming and evaluations. Positively, despite gaps in program implementation and analysis remaining, clear improvements have been made in the last five years. For example, there were more diverse programs and reliable evaluations.  While these areas of improvement are encouraging, it is possible to begin to identify key gaps in our understanding, and target resources to better identify “what works” to eradicate all forms of modern slavery, everywhere.