Researchers to investigate modern slavery during the Covid-19 pandemic

Researchers from Keele University are leading a new study to assess the impacts of Covid-19 on human rights issues, to identify best practice for protecting workers and victims of modern slavery. 

The study, led by Professor Tomoya Obokata and co-authored by Dr Forough Ramezankhah from Keele’s School of Law, in partnership with Minority Rights Group International, will identify and assess the appropriateness and effectiveness of measures aimed at protecting victims of modern slavery by examining the impacts the pandemic has had on the issue.  

The research, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council-supported Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre, will create a set of guiding principles on actions against modern slavery during the Covid-19 pandemic, which will contain important human rights norms and principles that should be upheld by governments and non-governmental bodies in order to foster a victim-centred approach.

The team plan to share their findings in spring 2021 with relevant governmental, civil society, inter-governmental and private stakeholders by producing a report of their analysis and guidance that will be disseminated at events in London and Geneva.

Professor Obokata, who is also a Special Rapporteur for the United Nations on contemporary forms of slavery, said: "I am excited to carry out this research together with our partner Minority Rights Group International as there are a number of knowledge gaps which need to be filled in order to identify best practice in protecting workers and victims of modern slavery" 

Dr Ramezankhah added: “It is a privilege to be part of this significant and timely project. Workers and victims of modern slavery are being maltreated more than ever in such challenging times and this is a critical contribution to highlight shortcomings and good practices globally.”