Climate-induced migration and modern slavery

People cram into a vehicle doorway

A migrant caravan in Mexico (Photo: copyright Sean Hawkey)

Climate change is devastating the planet, leading to intensifying global inequality as well as disputes over land, water and scarce resources. People are being driven to migrate within and across borders in search of resources and income, making them vulnerable to human trafficking and modern slavery, including forced labour.

A new report from Anti-Slavery International and IIED is among the first to outline the critical link between climate-induced migration and modern slavery.

This groundbreaking report provides important new evidence to inform the UN climate summit (COP26) in November and high-level bodies such as the World Bank and United Nations on the need to address climate change as a factor of modern slavery.

This high level panel launch event featured discussion from experts on modern slavery and climate change as well as real life experiences of forced labour.

About the speakers


Keynote speakers

  • Cecilia Silva Bernardo, climate negotiator for Angola and for the least developed countries, and co-chair of the Adaptation Committee of the UNFCCC
  • Felipe González Morales, UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants


Event coverage

Watch a recording of the event below. The video is also available on IIED's YouTube channel where you can find links to take you straight to the contributions of each of the key speakers and panellists.  

The report and the issues that arose during the event were covered by The Guardian, which highlighted how the climate crisis was leaving ‘millions at risk of trafficking and slavery’.

IIED researcher Ritu Bharadwaj said: “The world cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking that’s being fuelled by climate change. Addressing these issues needs to be part and parcel of global plans to tackle climate change.”

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