Human Trafficking

State Department funds Stanford human trafficking research

Stanford University’s Human Trafficking Data Lab (HTDL) is honored to receive funding from the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) to provide crucial research in the fight against trafficking. Our Center's Director of Human Trafficking Research Jessie Brunner and Visiting Scholar Luis Fabiano de Assis work alongside faculty members from other Stanford research units in the multidisciplinary Lab.

The TIP Office is providing the grant through the Program to End Modern Slavery’s Prevalence Reduction Innovation Forum (PRIF), which aspires to build a global community of researcher-learners in the science of human trafficking prevalence estimation with a focus on documenting the robustness of various methodological approaches in human trafficking prevalence research.

The Human Trafficking Data Lab received $1.3 million to develop technology to detect forced labor in remote charcoal producing sites in the Amazon region. The project will focus on the development and deployment of technological advances for the detection of forced labor in the charcoal industry. HTDL will introduce and test an improved, more integrated model to address human trafficking, emphasizing the development and deployment of both technological advances in detection to support prosecution together with protocols and staffing for broader multispecialty teams to support protection of survivors and prevention efforts in vulnerable communities. 

“As we develop new and innovative approaches to human trafficking research, our Lab in incredibly excited to join the ranks of impressive TIP Office grantees and eager to get to work – alongside our spectacular local partners – in tackling human trafficking in the Brazilian Amazon,” Brunner said.

HTDL is pleased to undertake this work alongside three crucial local partners, the Brazilian Federal Labor Prosecution Office, Instituto Trabalho Decente (ITD), and Sociedade para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa Científica (SCIENCE). Additionally, the HTDL has an ongoing relationship with Survivor Alliance as one means to ensure this and other projects are survivor-centered and trauma-informed.

The HTDL is also a sub-awardee for another TIP Office Program to End Modern Slavery (PEMS) grant, which aims to combine cutting-edge research with targeted programming in order to rigorously test prevalence research methods and the effectiveness of human trafficking interventions. The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) will use the $5 million PEMS grant to reduce forced labor in Brazil’s agriculture sector through interventions targeting the coffee industry in the state of Minas Gerais. Our human trafficking research team will support GFEMS in their Coordinated Action towards Forced labor Eradication (CAFE) project aims to comprehensively address critical gaps with a group of coordinated, synergistic interventions, including a grievance mechanism available to workers, and a decision support tool to improve the targeting of labor inspections.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this exciting new partnership with the US State Department,” said GFEMS CEO Alex Thier. “Working with Brazilian authorities, survivors, and civil society leaders to disrupt forced labor in the coffee industry is exactly why the Global Fund exists. Bringing together world class partners like Stanford University, ELEVATE, and Instituto Trabalho Decente with Brazilian leaders is the key to changing the systems that perpetuate these crimes and eradicating forced labor from global supply chains.”