Using Satellites to Reveal Global Extent of Forced Labor

While forced labor in the world’s fishing fleet has been widely documented, its extent remains unknown. No methods previously existed for remotely identifying individual fishing vessels potentially engaged in these abuses on a global scale. 

By combining expertise from human rights practitioners including The Outlaw Ocean Project and satellite vessel monitoring data, research from the University of California-Santa Barbara shows that vessels reported to use forced labor behave in systematically different ways from other vessels. 

The Outlaw Ocean Project served as a core contributor on the methodology that resulted in the conclusion that 57,000-100,000 individuals are estimated to be working on high-risk vessels at sea. 

This report was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as well covered by Reuters.