Measuring the Change: The Launch of Delta 8.7

Articles & Opinions | September 24, 2018 |

Unsplash/Chris Liverani

Working with dozens of partners, the Centre for Policy Research established Delta 8.7 as a knowledge platform for Alliance 8.7 – the multi-stakeholder coalition working to achieve Target 8.7, led by the International Labour Organization. States committed in Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals to take effective measures to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030.

The best global estimate we have suggests that in 2016 around 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery or forced labour. Given the target, that would mean reducing the number of victims by around 8,994 people per day, in order to be close to zero by 31 December 2030. The numbers for the worst forms of child labour are even more stark, especially as the deadline for eradication set by Target 8.7 in that case is 2025. With a best estimate of 72.525 million children in that category, achieving Target 8.7 would require removing around 27,306 children from the worst forms of child labour per day.

These two numbers—8,994 people per day, and 27,306 children per day—are the starting point to determine the rate of change—or ‘delta’ (Δ) — that is needed to meet Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Finding the signal amid the noise

How close are we to achieving Target 8.7? The short answer is: we do not know in any scientific, systematic way. We do not know how many people are being removed from the forms of exploitation addressed by Target 8.7; we do not know exactly what makes people vulnerable to those forms of exploitation, which makes it hard to prevent them; and we do not know which measures are “effective measures” and which are wasted effort.

There is a rapidly growing marketplace of ideas about what works in the fight against forced labour, modern slavery human trafficking and child labour, and a fast-moving body of scholarship and science around these issues. This growth can pose its own challenges for everyone involved—especially for policy actors. We are all short on the time needed to find, consume and digest this material. Often, it is highly technical, and hard to understand. Without specialist scientific expertise, it may be difficult for policy actors to understand if they are pursuing the wrong metrics or relying on the wrong models.

Delta 8.7 is a platform for policy actors, researchers, survivors and practitioners to engage each other and discuss evidence and ideas, building a robust evidence base over time. We will help move the science forward, and help all stakeholders figure out how to translate the science into effective policy. Over time, we hope that Delta 8.7 will strengthen the ties between thought leaders and policy actors, including through real-life events to bring this science-driven policy community together in person.

The Forum aims to become the world’s leading venue for discussion of the latest data and evidence about forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, and what it means for policy to achieve Target 8.7. Over time, we will also point readers to a growing array of resources on How to Measure the Change generated by our partners. Starting in December 2018, Delta 8.7 will also provide detailed data dashboards collating diverse statistical and qualitative information relevant to Target 8.7.