Watch this interview about fighting slavery with satellites, one of many lessons in our forthcoming online course in partnership with the University of Nottingham. If you’d like to learn more in depth about a wide variety of anti-slavery efforts, pre-register for our course and we will notify you when it launches.
Professor Stuart Marsh is a leading professor of Geospatial Engineering at the University of Nottingham, whose Nottingham Geospatial Institute has begun using satellite technology to track sites of slavery around the world.
In this film, Stuart and Kevin Bales discuss the geospatial imaging of slavery hotspots in particular countries and regions as a solution to ending slavery. Earth observation data offers spatial resolutions as close as one meter and so can find evidence of gatherings and movements of people, destruction of sites, and the appearance of mass graves or illegal surface mines. Radar data can see through cloud cover and penetrate several meters through sand. Thermal data can detect features in the subsurface, such as hidden excavations.
After you watch the film and pre-register for our online course, tell us in the comments about your reactions to this use of technology, and if you can think of other technologies that we should harness to combat slavery. For example, several antislavery groups are exploring the use of drone technology to monitor suspected sites of slavery. Others are working to develop software that will open up areas of the ‘dark web’—the intentionally anonymous Internet hidden from search engines—where criminal networks conduct slavery and trafficking business. Still others are creating a version of ‘Yelp’ for migrant workers to review recruiters and employers, in order to shine a light on bad practices so that workers can avoid being abused or trafficked. What other technologies and platforms might help?