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Informing action for United Nations SDG target 8.7 and interdependent SDGs: Examining modern slavery from space

Boyd, Doreen S.; Perrat, Bertrand; Li, Xiaodong; Jackson, Bethany; Landman, Todd; Ling, Feng; Bales, Kevin; Choi-Fitzpatrick, Austin; Goulding, James; Marsh, Stuart; Foody, Giles M.


Professor of Earth Observation

Bertrand Perrat

Xiaodong Li

Feng Ling

Professor of Contemporary Slavery

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

Professor of Geospatial Engineering

Professor of Geographical Information


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.


Boyd, D. S., Perrat, B., Li, X., Jackson, B., Landman, T., Ling, F., …Foody, G. M. (2021). Informing action for United Nations SDG target 8.7 and interdependent SDGs: Examining modern slavery from space. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8, Article 111.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 15, 2021
Online Publication Date May 14, 2021
Publication Date May 14, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 23, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 18, 2021
Journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications
Electronic ISSN 2662-9992
Publisher Springer Nature [academic journals on]
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Article Number 111
Public URL
Publisher URL


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