Innovative methods devised to fight modern slavery

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  • Author: Statistics Views (source: American Statistical Association)
  • Date: 16 November 2017
  • Copyright: Image appears courtesy of Getty Images

Policymakers, law enforcement and advocates can now better identify and target modern slavery, thanks to the work of human rights experts and researchers whose application of unique statistical methods yields more precise figures on its existence and extent.

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One statistical method gaining worldwide interest is multiple systems estimation (MSE) which involves analysing three to four concurrent lists of identifiable victims for apparent overlap to estimate a victim population size.

This method and subsequent findings have been widely accepted by the United Nations’ (UN) International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Organization for Migration, as well as advocates and organizations spanning the globe. The Global Slavery Index, another tool, provides a map, country by country, of the estimated prevalence of modern slavery, together with information about the steps each government has taken to respond to this issue.

These methods and other aspects are explored in detail in the current issue of CHANCE, a non-technical magazine, co-published by the American Statistical Association, highlighting applications that demonstrate sound statistical practice.

The October issue features a series of articles written by authority figures on the subject of modern slavery, including the following:

• "Unlocking the Statistics of Slavery" by Kevin Bales, professor of contemporary slavery, University of Nottingham, and lead author of the Global Slavery Index
• "The Challenge of Counting Victims of Human Trafficking" by Maarten Cruyff, Department of Methodology and Statistics, Utrecht University; Jan van Dijk, emeritus professor of victimology, International Victimology Institute of the University of Tilburg; and Peter G.M. van der Heijden, professor of statistics for social and behavioral sciences and head of the Department of Social Sciences, Utrecht University
• "Modern Slavery -- from Statistics to Prevention" by Fiona David, lawyer, criminologist and executive director of global research, Walk Free Foundation
• "Fighting Slavery Through Statistics: A Discussion of Five Promising Methods to Estimate Prevalence in the United States" by Davina P. Durgana, senior statistician and report co-author of the Global Slavery Index, Walk free Foundation, and Paul L. Zador, senior statistician, Westat, Inc.
• "Using Surveys to Estimate the National Prevalences of Modern Slavery: Experience and Lessons Learned" by Jacqueline Joudo Larsen, criminologist and senior research manager, Walk Free Foundation, and Pablo Diego-Rosell, senior consultant, Gallup
• "Strategies to Estimate Global Prevalence of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation" by Sheldon X. Zhang, professor and chair of the School of Criminology and Justice Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Kyle Vincent of Simon Fraser University
• "Measuring Vulnerability and Estimating Prevalence of Modern Slavery" by Jacqueline Joudo Larsen and Davina P. Durgana
• "The Politics of Data Reporting: A Triangulated Solution for Estimating Modern Slavery" by Davina P. Durgana and Graham K. Brown, professor of international development, head of Social Sciences, University of Western Australia
• "The Birth of Statistical Graphics and Their European Childhood" by Howard Wainer, statistician and author of Truth or Truthiness: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction by Learning to Think Like a Data Scientist

To read the articles in full follow the link here

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