The university’s Rights Lab has been developing satellite technology capable of locating migrant encampments. The Rights Lab describes the state of the crisis across the globe and their goals as such:
“There are 40.3 million people enslaved around the world today. The global modern antislavery effort is nearly 20 years old and a commitment to end slavery by 2030 is part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (target 8.7). But to achieve this goal, we need evidence-based strategies for abolition.
We tackle a key challenge of global development and one of the great human rights issues of our time. The largest group of modern slavery scholars in the world, and home to the world’s leading academic experts on modern slavery, the Rights Lab is underpinning antislavery with an advanced research agenda.”
In their work with Greece, the Rights Lab will use the information they get from the satellite to determine the severity of the labor exploitation present in a migrant settlement. The Rights Lab has consulted with a government agency and a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) to create their criteria for assessing the migrant settlements.
The migrant settlements at Nea Manolada
The Rights Lab is helping Greece better understand its migrant workers after the shooting that took place at Nea Manolada in 2013. Nea Manolada, a migrant settlement in southwestern Greece, experienced an incredible tragedy when 200 workers allegedly demanded unpaid wages from their employer and where shot as a result.
The agricultural workers became involved in an argument with three Greek supervisors, at least one of whom fired at the migrants with a shotgun, it was reported. Some 30 Bangladeshi workers were injured in the incident, with several of them said to be in critical condition.
The Rights Lab’s groundbreaking technology
The Rights Lab will be implementing highly innovative satellite technology to better understand Nea Manolada and other settlements in Southern Greece so that the Greek government can better intervene on any potential human rights violations before they escalate.
The researchers found that investigating migrant encampments on the ground can be a very difficult and exhausting undertaking. It requires the knowledge of where and when worker violations might be occurring, a perception only capable by those embedded in the region, as many migrant encampments are changing all the time.
The Rights Lab’s satellite technology uses remote sensing to evaluate migrant settlements from other locations effectively. When the satellite imagery derived from remote sensing begins to suggest that exploitation may be happening, teams are then able to go on the ground and investigate the migrant settlements directly.
On the ground, workers are given questionnaires to evaluate their own experience of their treatment at the migrant settlements. Researchers then use this data to rank the settlements by priority of needed intervention.