Equality and Tolerance Reporting Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

We provide journalists across the world with the necessary knowledge and skills to produce reports and undertake investigations on migration,human trafficking and modern slavery.


Slavery is a global trade worth at least $150 billion a year. Although it is illegal in almost every country, the industry continues to grow. As such, it has never been more important to boost media coverage of modern slavery around the world.

Slavery exists in many forms. Forced labour involves people working under the threat of violence, usually with no pay. In bonded labour, people are trapped in debt and forced to work to pay it off; many never manage to do so. Trafficking is the practice of trading and transporting people from one place to another, into conditions of slavery.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation enables journalists around the world to produce high quality coverage of this issue. With support from the C&A Foundation, we run a programme in India to train and mentor journalists by helping them develop their expertise in reporting on modern slavery. Our team of journalists in India also exclusively covers slavery and trafficking for our dedicated vertical on the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s news site. India is a key country in the fight against slavery – the Global Slavery Index estimates that it has the highest number of people enslaved, at over 18 million.

In addition, we run intensive reporting workshops alongside our annual Trust Conference in London, as well as its Trust Forum Asia spin-off held in Singapore, to help journalists from across the world cover the slavery story. Through this programme, 30 journalists from 18 countries have been trained so far to report on slavery. By giving them exclusive access to expert speakers at these conferences and guiding their reporting, we help them take a big leap forward in their coverage of slavery and trafficking.


Our approach

Reporting on trafficking and slavery can seem like an impossible task because it is largely a hidden problem. Where do you start? How can you get access to a story? And once you do have a story, there are likely to be ethical and practical challenges along the way. After all, the people whose voices desperately need to be heard – those who are enslaved – are taking a huge risk by speaking to a journalist.

Our approach is to help reporters tackle all of these issues. Through our training and mentoring, we help journalists to:

  • Understand the problem – how is slavery defined and how big is it? What laws and conventions exist to tackle it?
  • Access stories – by building links with relevant organizations, communities, and leading experts
  • Plan a story or investigation on modern day slavery – this will involve assessing the risk to the journalist as well as any contributors and their families
  • Take an ethical approach by working through real-life dilemmas that journalists have faced
  • Scrutinize the response – it’s not just about reporting on the problem, but also questioning what is being done to deal with it

When participating journalists produce an outstanding story which resonates globally, we help them pitch it to the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s award-winning news platform. If published, the story will be distributed through the Reuters wire, achieving global exposure.

About Media Development

The Thomson Reuters Foundation is committed to fostering the highest standards of journalism worldwide. We believe accurate, impartial and independent journalism leads to better-informed societies. It holds power to account, strengthens the rule of law and contributes to economic and social development.

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