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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?

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

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6 years ago

Love the different uses of technology mentioned above. In addition to using satellites and drones to capture images from above, what about using small recon robots when views from above are obscured?

Tell me when the course launches.


Help us reach 5,000

I’d like to learn more about Freedom United’s open online course in partnership with the University of Nottingham.

Led by experts at the cutting edge of human rights research, the course will cover:

  • Different forms of slavery
  • Ground-breaking research about slavery’s measurement and definition
  • Strategies for ending slavery at the local, national and international levels
  • The roles of governments, businesses, technology, legislation and enslaved people themselves in ending slavery
Freedom United will protect your privacy while updating you on campaigns, news and stories about modern slavery.

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