Slavery in Space - Zooniverse

United Kingdom
Sustainable development goals
  • Good health and well-being
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Reduced inequality
Project link

About the project

With 45.8 million slaves estimated to be working against their will around the world, the issue of modern slavery remains constant and is always evolving. Zooniverse plans to teach artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify typical places where people work and are kept as slaves.

More project information

Kevin Bales and a series of volunteers are helping to train artificial intelligence to help identify hotspots of slavery around the world. Volunteers, using imagery from space, have helped locate hundreds of brick kilns, frequently the site of forced labor, in South Asia. The data gathered from this exercise is then used to train the artificial intelligence to automatically locate similar brick kilns and flag it as a possible site where slaves are used. The purpose of this is to help anti-slavery workers and groups better focus their attention on places most likely to be using forced labor. 

Over 4,000 potential slavery sites have been discovered by volunteers so far, with the project expected to expand to identify open pit mines, also associated with high levels of slavery in Africa. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning is used to analyze thousands of satellite images and identify the location of brick kilns for authorities on the ground to undertake further investigation of the area.

This project contributes towards SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). Artificial intelligence is helping to accelerate the liberation of forced labor workers across the world and assisting in stamping out forced labor camps.

Which SDGs does this project apply to? * (List the relevant ones)

  • Good Health and Wellbeing

  • Reduced Inequalities

  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions