The Institute of Development Studies and Oxford Policy Management undertake this work as part of HEART (Health and Education Advice and Resource Team). HEART is a framework programme supporting the use of evidence and expert advice to underpin development decision-making.
Tackling Modern Slavery both within the UK and internationally is a top priority for the UK Government, as underlined in the modern slavery strategy. DFID is committed to tackling the root causes of modern slavery, such as extreme poverty and lack of opportunity. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that modern slavery is responsible for $20 billion dollars of lost earnings a year. The Home Office also estimated in 2013 that human trafficking for sexual exploitation costs the UK £890 million per year. This economic loss is just part of the picture; the broader loss for victims of modern slavery is far reaching within their lives and those of their families and communities.
DFID wants to develop a better understanding of the existing evidence base on modern slavery in South Asia to support the development of future country offices programing responses. The Asia Pacific region has the highest numbers of both slavery and child labour victims in the world. The ILO estimates that 12.3 million of the nearly 21 million people in forced labour globally are found in the Asia/Pacific and Middle East.