The annual Freedom from Slavery Forum, co-hosted by the Handa Center for Human Rights & International Justice and Free the Slaves, was held at Stanford University October 5-7, 2017.
The Forum aims to catalyze the anti-trafficking field and increase the collective impact of the movement by bringing together key, high-level actors to share and discuss best practices, lessons learned, new ideas, and build relationships. Representatives from approximately 50 organizations combatting human trafficking around the world gathered for the three-day event, sponsored by the Elkes Foundation with additional support from Deloitte.
The fifth annual event kicked off with a public discussion with University of San Diego professor Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick on his new book, What Slaveholders Think. Choi-Fitzpatrick, formerly the first paid employee at Free the Slaves, discussed how large-scale political and economic changes impact control and incentive structures for both the powerful and the powerless.
Through nearly universal participation in five working groups, the main plenary sessions of the gathering focused on advancing understanding of prevalence and determinants of slavery; addressing gaps in knowledge with respect to applications of technology; identifying successful anti-trafficking interventions; advancing survivor leadership and inclusion in the movement; and crafting a strategy for building a more robust civil society coalition against human trafficking, particularly in the context of the new Sustainable Development Goals.
The Forum’s advisory committee includes Handa Center Program Manager Jessie Brunner and Faculty Fellow Prof. Katherine Jolluck. Planning for next year’s event includes discussions engaging new actors in the anti-trafficking movement across broad geographies, and supporting the work of Alliance 8.7, a global partnership committed to taking immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, in accordance with Target 8.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.