The latest ILO global child labour estimates indicate that, despite important progress, there were still 160 million children in labour worldwide in 2020. The ILO global estimates of forced labour for the same year show a total of 25 million persons in situations of forced labour. Given the hidden nature of human trafficking, there are no prevalence estimates to capture the full scope and scale of the issue.
Through the ILO and IOM’s Research to Action (RTA) project, 16 junior researchers have been awarded fellowships and seed grants to address knowledge gaps and produce high-impact studies, while four projects have received awards from IPA’s Human Trafficking Research Initiative (HTRI) Competitive Research Fund to carry out exploratory research and evaluate the effectiveness of counter-trafficking interventions. These grants enable new talent, including underrepresented researchers from the global south, women, and first-generation college graduates, to join the growing network of specialists and interdisciplinary collaborators conducting research on child labour, forced labour and human trafficking that support policy responses.
The RTA project launched a global competition to elicit proposals from junior researchers to address knowledge gaps in the field of child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking in March 2020. Proposals were evaluated by a scientific committee including 12 researchers from different disciplines of social science and humanities. Through the awards, the project supports 16 junior researchers to conduct independent research projects with their affiliated universities.
HTRI launched its first call for applications for seed funding in March 2021 and full and partial research project funding in September 2021. Four organizations were awarded seed grant funding and an additional four organizations were provided partial and
full research funding for experimental and quasi-experimental research. These eight awards are for early-stage research and randomized control trials examining the effectiveness of counter-trafficking programs in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America.
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