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Free Slavery Research Paper

Documenting Slavery, Documenting Freedom

Our groundbreaking techniques evaluate improvements in the organizational strength of our front-line partners, the ability of community resilience and resistance to confront traffickers and overcome slavery over time, and reductions in slavery in the communities we help.

Free the Slaves uses eight data collection tools across its country programs. Our grassroots partners, as elements both of their capacity development plan and sub-grant reporting requirements, are provided with technical assistance to adapt and use the appropriate indicators. The assistance is part of a larger effort to strengthen the capacity of the partners to undertake effective monitoring and evaluation.

The eight data collection tools are:

  • Slavery Prevalence Survey, which also measures key variables that affect the vulnerability of communities to slavery such as socioeconomic status and individual knowledge, attitudes and practices.
  • Community Maturity Tool, which is a self-assessment used by community groups and partner organizations to measure the capacity of the community to sustainably resist slavery.
  • Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool, which is used to measure partner organization capacity and create capacity-building action plans in regards to program quality, governance, human resources, finances and communication.
  • Survivor Registry, which is used to track freed slaves and their reintegration.
  • Reintegration Checklist, used to measure survivors’ level of self-sustained independence based on an assessment of progress in the following areas: housing and accommodations; health care; legal status & rights; education & vocational training; employment & income; savings; physical protection; community support; and spiritual support.
  • Media Effectiveness Checklist, used to measure whether media stories (using radio, print, digital or other means) effectively communicate (categorized into accuracy, completeness, tone, and impact) about the slavery situation and/or solutions relevant to national or local context.
  • Advocacy Milestone Tracker, which tracks progress towards desired policy changes.
  • Coalition Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool, which helps identify key areas of strength and areas of potential improvement for a coalition’s development, and then helps create an action plan to build a coalition’s capacity. The assessment focuses on five key performance areas: governance and management; program quality; human resource and capacity development; external relationships; and operations.

See our Community Model For Fighting Slavery booklet for details. The Free the Slaves Monitoring, Learning & Evaluation Department adheres to the American Evaluation Association Guiding Principles.

Global Results

Each year, Free the Slaves tracks key statistics that indicate how effectively our programs are liberating victims, educating the vulnerable, and bringing perpetrators to justice. Since our founding in 2000, we have liberated 13,000 people from slavery.

In 2016, Free the Slaves programs produced these results:

  • 1,123 people freed from slavery
  • 2,625 slaves or survivors receiving support from FTS or our partner organizations
  • 189,052 people reached through awareness raising and rights education about how to protect their families from traffickers
  • 1,395 villages and neighborhoods supported to protect their communities from slavery
  • 955 government officials trained on how to more effectively stop slavery
  • 59 traffickers and slaveholders arrested

2017 reesults coming soon!

Free the Slaves Publications

Haiti’s Model Communities

Restavèk is a traditional system in which Haitian children are sent to live with other families and work as domestic servants. The expectation is for the host family to provide schooling, food, and shelter. Yet many children are abused and enslaved in their new homes. The Model Communities project is based on the premise that building community consensus against restavèk is a strong strategy to prevent and reverse the flow of children into domestic servitude. Full Report: English | French. Executive Summary: English | French

Congo’s Mining Slaves

This Free the Slaves field investigation documents the types, nature, and scale of slavery at major mining sites in the South Kivu province. It also analyzes the factors that make Congolese workers vulnerable to enslavement and recommends solutions. Full Report: English | French. Executive Summary: English | French.


Wives in Slavery

Every person has the right to freely choose his or her spouse. But for many women and girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, marriage is coerced and a form of slavery. This exposè examines the causes and impacts of forced marriage in the Congo through the stories of women and girls who have experienced it firsthand. Full Report: English | French. Executive Summary: English | French

Ghana Child Rights in Mining

Gold mining is one of Ghana’s major industries—gold exports are one of the country’s biggest sources of income. But at many mining sites, children are exploited as workers. The Child Rights in Mining pilot project addressed the lack of awareness and protection of child rights, which cause hazardous child labor practices and sexual violence against children. Using illustrated drawings based on the lives of local residents, the project educated parents on the rights of children and how to protect them. Full Report.Executive Summary: English | French.

The Congo Report: Slavery in Conflict Minerals

This investigation is based on testimony from miners, Congolese civil society representatives, officials of the U.N. peacekeeping mission and international human rights organizations. It paints a grim picture. There are widespread reports of collusion between rebel groups and the national army to illegally exploit, tax, and trade minerals, money and arms. Several forms of modern-day slavery have been documented in mining communities. Full Report: English | French.

India Freedom Dividend

This thorough study, conducted at the beginning and end of a three-year program, provided insight into whether slavery and trafficking had been eradicated in the village of Kukrouthi and determined if other socioeconomic conditions in the community had improved. The survey looks at changes in the economic, social, educational, health, and political status of households in the village. Download.

Understanding Vulnerabilities & Strengthening Response

Nepal’s 2015 earthquake killed thousands, left large parts of the country in ruins, and sparked a sharp rise in human trafficking. This action-research project documented the post-earthquake experience in Nepal, and provided essential action-step recommendations to ensure that desperate and vulnerable people aren’t enslaved in the aftermath of natural disasters around the globe. Full Report

Community-based Model for Fighting Slavery

The anti-slavery movement needs evidence-based models that yield significant, sustained declines in the prevalence of slavery. Free the Slaves has developed a community-based model that it deploys, with adaptation, in six countries. The model focuses on identifying and supporting at-risk communities—so that they can acquire the intellectual, organizational, legal, political, and physical assets that reduce vulnerability to slavery and liberate those enslaved.  Full Report. Executive Summary.

Rebuilding Lives: Promising Practices in the Rehabilitation of Freed Slaves

This manual offers practical suggestions for helping former slaves recover. It is written as a simple tool for frontline anti-slavery workers who want to start new programs for freed slaves, improve their existing work, and show financial supporters the types of assistance that are most needed. (Note: the manual is currently under review to revise outdated information.)Download: English |French

Slavery and Women

From country to country, continent to continent, the firsthand testimonies of women emerging from slavery tell how the daily exploitation of their labor is consistently compounded by rape and sexual violence. The reports of survivors show that the lack of sexual autonomy and reproductive rights—and the sheer horror of absolute vulnerability— is almost always intrinsic to women’s experience of slavery. Download.

What Predicts Human Trafficking?

Each case of trafficking has a unique set of causes and effects. The broad variation of trafficking across regions and cultures means that there can be no uniform answer to the question “What causes trafficking?” Still, there are commonalities. Root causes of trafficking in persons include the greed of criminals, economic pressures, political instability and transition, and social and cultural factors. Criminal groups choose to traffic in persons, in part, because it is high profit and often low risk. Download.

Recovering Childhoods

This report investigates the problem of—and solutions to—child trafficking in northern India. We highlight some of the stark realities that underpin trafficking today, and some recommendations for bringing it to an end. We are clear that child trafficking is not an intractable problem, but it is one that deserves and requires focused and well-informed long-term strategies.  Download.


Hidden Slaves: Forced Labor in the United States

Because forced labor is hidden, inhumane, widespread, and criminal, sustained and coordinated efforts by U.S. law enforcement, social service providers, and the general public are needed to expose and eradicate this illicit trade. This report is the first study to examine the numbers, demographic characteristics, and origins of victims and perpetrators and the adequacy of the U.S. response since the enactment of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. Download.

Free the Slaves Books

See more publications about the nature of slavery, strategies to end it, and first-person narratives from slavery survivors.Books Page.


Free the Slaves Videos

See what modern day slavery looks like, follow activists on rescues and community organizing missions, hear from slavery survivors in their own words, and see the Free the Slaves Community Model in action. Videos Page.

Other Research and M&E Reports about our Work

  • Read our 2017 baseline research report on the scope and dynamics of child begging slavery in Senegal.
  • Read our 2017 baseline research report summary on the prevalence of child trafficking and slavery-like conditions in 20 Ghana fishing villages.
  • Read the  2016 Harvard University report about how the community-oriented approach being implemented by FTS’ front-line partner in India is reducing slavery and improving lives.
  • Read our 2016 co-authored research report on anti-trafficking efforts in post-earthquake Nepal.
  • Read the 2015 independent evaluation of our Congo program’s impact, which concludes that “the project has succeeded in its goal to increase community-led resistance to slavery.”
  • Read Deloitte’s Freedom Ecosystem report, produced in 2015 in partnership with Free the Slaves, on ways the anti-slavery movement can become stronger.
  • Read our 2015 report about the need for regional collaboration among South Asian anti-slavery organizations.
  • Read our 2015 literature review on slavery in Kathmandu’s “entertainment” industry in Nepal.

How Did American Slavery Begin

Slavery is a very important subject in the history of America. Maybe be it is important to know how it began. Was it spontaneous or it just evolved through a process? Well, it all started at a time when African Slaves first landed in North American colony of Jamestown in 1619. These slaves in Virginia assisted with the production of highly lucrative crops o the time such like tobacco. Therefore, it was purely an agricultural affair that would later prompt the existence of one of the historical injustices done especially to the African immigrants. The issue took course during the 17th and 18th century American colonies. Therefore, slavery started in American at a time when the foundations of the new country were being built economically.

At a time when America was gearing up for an economic change, there was no enough labor to pump into the economy. This saw the immigration of Africans who would work in the cotton and tobacco farms. The practice was further solidified with the invention of the cotton gin in the year 1973. Some times in the 19th century, the westward expansion of America together with the increasing abolition movement that existed in the North provoked huge debates over the subject of slavery and was almost tearing the American nation apart in the Civil War that was experienced between 1861 and 1865. The Union victory was able to free four million slaves in America. All the same, the slavery legacy continued to eat into the fabric that held the young nation together. Slavery impacted a lot in the history of America all through the reconstruction period of 1865 to 1877 until the time of civil rights movement experienced in the 1960s.

Basically, the foundations that caused slavery in America came up in the start of the 17th century when European settlers especially in North America were looking for cheap labor in large quantities. The African slaves offered more affordable labor than the indentured servants who mainly comprised of the poor and vulnerable Europeans. Therefore, this need sparked a lot of infiltration of Africans into the farms where they would work without or very little pay. It is something that started out slowly only to end up being a huge burden both to the slaves and the slave masters. The slaves were mainly the black people who worked on large tobacco, rice and cotton plantations. Sooner than later, slavery took its toll and plunged American into a vice whose effects are still being felt to date.