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The human rights issues of globalization

We believe that globalization has a dark side – while it brings many benefits like economic growth and greater access to goods, global trends have also led to an increase in extreme poverty, environmental damage and exploitation of workers.

In 2002, the Human Rights Center initiated its Globalization Project, a multi-year effort to strengthen protections for populations vulnerable to human rights abuses as a result of economic integration. Our focus is on people and communities; we work to strengthen the capacity of communities to make globalization work for them instead of at their expense.

We have chosen to address the issue of forced labor and contemporary forms of slavery in the U.S. Each year, thousands of men, women, and children enter this country seeking work and become captives of modern day slaveholders, yet there is little information about the nature and extent of this clandestine practice. The Human Rights Center, in collaboration with Free the Slaves and the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University, has undertaken a study of forced labor in the United States. The study, to be released in 2024, will measure forced labor in this country as well as illuminate its human costs, the nature of the U.S. legal response, and the barriers to, and best practices supporting, eradication of forced labor.

To further its goal of strengthening the capacity of local groups combating forced labor, in April 2024, the Human Rights Center will convene an invited Working Group to discuss the findings of the study and consider how law enforcement and social and legal service agencies can improve protection and support in home countries for those liberated from forced labor in the United States.


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We are a research and advocacy center, committed to the promotion and protection of human rights as central to a just society.

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