Evidence to Action: Increasing the Impact of Research to Mobilize Efforts against Forced Labor

Project Duration
December 2019
June 2024
Funding and Year

This project aims to promote increased use of forced labor research in policy and programmatic decision-making to help eliminate forced labor around the world. The project will achieve this by increasing knowledge through robust research on forced labor in the textile and garment sector and engaging decision makers and stakeholders to use this knowledge to take actions against forced labor.

The Problem

The Global Estimates of Modern Slavery provide broad information about the scale and distribution of forced labor. But they also highlight the need for targeted, sector-specific, and country-specific data that can inform policy design and action to combat forced labor. To date, high-quality research on forced labor has been hindered by significant practical and methodological challenges, from sampling challenges with hard-to-reach populations, challenges of underreporting, and definitional differences. Moreover, research on forced labor can be expensive and requires a strong on-the-ground presence. Additionally, research on sensitive topics concerning highly vulnerable populations requires robust ethical considerations and protocols. As a result, existing research on forced labor tends to be sparse and fragmented, making it difficult to compile and compare. Research and data have thus often played a limited role in informing the design of effective interventions to prevent and address forced labor and other forms of modern slavery.

Our Strategy

This project responds to the need to develop robust and replicable approaches to collecting and analyzing data on forced labor, as the basis for building evidence-based interventions. Building on the International Conference of Labor Statisticians’ Guidelines Concerning the Measurement of Forced Labor, the project will provide significant new information regarding the prevalence and causes of forced labor within the garment and associated textile sectors of Argentina and Madagascar.

In addition, the project seeks to: 

  • build the capacity of national research institutions, government, and civil society organizations to undertake and use research to prevent, identify, and combat forced labor; 
  • provide globally relevant examples and assessment of tools for the investigation of forced labor; and 
  • catalyze a broad group of stakeholders to act on the research findings, making the link from data to policy.


  • As little is known about forced labor in the garment sectors of Madagascar and Argentina, the project has conducted preliminary research that will lay the foundation for the project’s subsequent studies.
  • The project has developed rigorous research methods for how it will estimate the amount of people in forced labor in the garment sector and identify points along the supply chain where it is of particular concern.
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Implementing Partners:
NORC at University of Chicago, Verité Inc.
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Evidence-Based Policymaking
Forced Labor
Supply Chains