Isolating the Impact of Intersecting Social, Economic, and Ecological Crises on Human Trafficking in The Bahamas
May 1, 2021 - April 30, 2023
Core Funding Area:
Individual Freedom and Free Markets
Director: Dr Jessica SparksInstitution: University of Nottingham
Led by Jessica Sparks at University of Nottingham, this project seeks to create a more informed understanding of the effects of concurrent crises—economic, environmental, political, and social—currently facing Caribbean states. In particular, the team aims to remedy a knowledge gap concerning how these intersecting crises may worsen the threat of exploitation through human trafficking in The Bahamas.
While the Caribbean states have GNI per capita ranging from US$800 to US$30,000, all are facing a shortage of resources, complex access to financing, internal pressures for social reforms, and the unequally shared impacts of both climate change and COVID-19. This is especially challenging for poor and vulnerable populations. Today there are more crises occurring in parallel than ever before, with a punishing 2020 hurricane season colliding with the public health threat of COVID-19 and the economic shocks it generated.
Both economic and natural hazards have long-term effects on the most vulnerable. While we have a general understanding of these separate challenges, it is their concurrent impacts that we do not understand and to which we fail to respond.
The project team aims to co-produce a novel survey instrument with stakeholders to estimate a baseline prevalence of human trafficking; study coping mechanisms; identify metrics for risk-readiness and risk-taking; and describe the relationship between intersecting emergencies and climate change preparedness, and their effects on human trafficking vulnerability. We hypothesize that such concurrent hazards contribute to increased exploitation through a combination of interrelated factors. The research plan will allow the team to scrutinize at a granular level how modern slavery is associated with individuals’ socioeconomic and natural environment, and their experience of significant shocks. They seek two significant outcomes: 1) improved, inclusive, and equitable levels of socioeconomic resilience to concurrent shocks through improved individual/household knowledge, capacity, and skills; and 2) improved anti-slavery policies through increased capacity of the local, national, and regional government, CSOs, NGOs, and the private sector.
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