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A conference on ‘Code 8.7: Using Computation Science and AI to End Modern Slavery’ discussed how computational science, AI and machine learning can help to accelerate understanding of key challenges related to SDG target 8.7.

Participants also shared what works in making progress on SDG target 8.7.

21 February 2019: The Computing Community Consortium, the UN University (UNU) and other institutions brought together computer scientists, policy strategists and slavery experts to explore how to use big data to achieve SDG target 8.7 on ending forced labor, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030 and the worst forms of child labor by 2025. The Conference aimed to facilitate connections between the global computational research and tech communities and the community working to achieve SDG target 8.7.

SDG target 8.7 calls to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.” SDG 8 is the Goal to “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Conference titled, ‘Code 8.7: Using Computation Science and AI to End Modern Slavery,’ convened at UN Headquarters in New York, US, from 19-20 February 2019. The Alan Turing Institute, Tech Against Trafficking, University of Nottingham Rights Lab and Arizona State University’s Global Security Initiative co-hosted the event. Conference participants discussed how computational science, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can help to accelerate understanding of key challenges related to SDG target 8.7. For example, Doreen Boyd, University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, has used satellite images of brick kilns, which are often run on forced labor, to help locally-based organizations identify suspected slavery sites.

Participants also shared lessons in making progress on SDG target 8.7, from collaborations with the justice system to hold human traffickers accountable, to creating incentives for action. Participants further considered how to provide infrastructure for a structure, global and ongoing conversation between the computational science and AI practitioner and research communities, and the anti-slavery community, to facilitate joint problem-solving and better use of computational science and AI to end modern slavery.

The Conference is part of broader efforts to address SDG target 8.7. In 2017, UNU and Alliance 8.7, a global multi-stakeholder alliance to fight modern slavery, human trafficking and forced and child labor, launched a two-year initiative to explore what works in tackling modern slavery. The ‘Alliance 8.7 Knowledge Platform’ aims to assist UN Member States in achieving SDG target 8.7. The Alliance is working to accelerate global efforts to generate and exchange data and knowledge on the topic and make it more accessible and useful to policymakers, practitioners and other key stakeholders.

The UNU–Centre for Policy Research created Delta 8.7 as a project to help policy actors understand and use data responsibly to inform policies that contribute to achieving SDG target 8.7. Delta 8.7 provides data dashboards and tools for measuring change on the SDG target. [Conference Website] [UNU Press Release on Knowledge Platform Launch] [Alliance 8.7 Knowledge Platform Website] [ILO Concept Note on Alliance] [Alliance 8.7 Website] [Delta8.7 Event Webpage]

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