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Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Peace and Conflict Studies


This article provides an example of the ways in which remote sensing, Earth observation, and machine learning can be deployed to provide the most up to date quantitative portrait of the South Asian ‘Brick Belt’, with a view to understanding the extent of the prevalence of modern slavery and exploitative labour. This analysis represents the first of its kind in estimating the spatiotemporal patterns in the Bull’s Trench Kilns across the Brick Belt, as well as its connections with various UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With a principal focus on Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7 regarding the effective measures to end modern slavery by 2030, the article provides additional evidence on the intersections that exist between SDG 8.7 and those relating to urbanisation (SDG 11, 12), environmental degradation and pollution (SDG 3, 14, 15), and climate change (SDG 13). Our findings are then used to make a series of pragmatic suggestions for mitigating the most extreme SDG risks associated with brick production in ways that can improve human lives and human freedom.


Original publication information:
Boyd, D.S., Perrat, B., Li, X. et al. Informing action for United Nations SDG target 8.7 and interdependent SDGs: Examining modern slavery from space. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 8, 111 (2021).