Modern Slavery Research Project



The Modern Slavery Research Project at Loyola New Orleans responds to three critical questions.

Does slavery still exist?!

The Problem

Human trafficking - the exploitation of a person’s labor through force, fraud, or coercion - is modern day slavery, and it is happening right here in New Orleans. Slavery affects many of our industries, from seafood to entertainment to construction. Our current   research and response to the problem remain fragmented and inadequate.

What do we know about slavery in New Orleans and the US?

The Challenge

We need a concerted, organized effort to research the current state of human trafficking in our region and provide meaningful solutions that have a real impact on the lives of survivors. We need a collaborative environment that fosters cooperation and communication.

How can we collaborate as a community to combat modern slavery?

Our Mission

This is where the Modern Slavery Research Project comes in. We produce thoughtful, geographically-informed, data-driven, community-based collaborative research that meets the needs of survivors and community stakeholders in addressing human trafficking in New Orleans, the US, as well as internationally.

Cutting-Edge, Collaborative Research

The MSRP understands scholarship as an ethical project. We engage in a hands-on approach to research that responds to the community, involves stakeholders in the process, and provides accessible, data-driven research to all those engaged in the effort to prevent modern slavery and aid survivors of trafficking. The MSRP is dedicated to producing relevant and timely scholarship that has tangible impacts on local, national, and international responses to trafficking.

Organizations and agencies interested in partnering with the MSRP are invited to submit research proposals to the team.

Community-Directed Outreach

The primary ambition of the MSRP is to improve the lives of trafficked people and to build the capacity of state and civil actors through projects that are focused on education, advocacy, and research. To that end, we help faciliate a regional working group addressing trafficking as well as a network of survivor-activists who have embarked on speaking careers, much like Frederick Douglass or Harriet Jacobs did in the 19th century.  We also partner with local organizations for awareness raising activities and larger anti-trafficking campaigns.  We often visit schools, community groups, faith-based organizations, and medical facilities to educate people in the latest research on human trafficking and to dispel rumors and sensationalized ideas about modern slavery.


Recent Accomplishments

Though the MSRP was only established in Fall of 2013, we have made many strides toward addressing trafficking in our community and in the US.

- Research: We have been awarded grants to study trafficking among homeless youth, to evaluate a city-wide collaboration on anti-trafficking efforts, and to provide educational training on trafficking to the New Orleans Police Department.

- Legislative Advocacy: Researchers with the project have established a legislative agenda for addressing trafficking in LA and have testified in front of state senate commissions on the issue.  Many of our recommendations were included in House Bill 1025 and signed into law by Gov. Jindal in June 2014.

- International Consulting: We advise international diplomats on responding to human trafficking and on US foreign policy regarding traffkicking. We have travelled to India, Nigeria, and Ghana to work with organizations on their anti-slavery efforts.

- School Outreach: We have brought the issue of human trafficking into classrooms around the city.

- Medical Professional Trainings: We have visited university residency programs, nursing units, and Children's Hospital staff to educate them on human trafficking.

- Awareness: We are developing a Know Your Rights Brochure to be disseminated among hospitals, police stations, social services sites, and churches.

- Media: We have been featured on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry show as well as on local news outlets.

- Community-Wide Campaign: We have developed a community-wide Make Escape Possible campaign that promotes a survivor-centered approach to modern slavery.

 - Events: We have hosted numerous events to raise awareness among the student body and our community about human trafficking in New Orleans and around the world, including recently hosting the world's leading scholar on modern slavery, Kevin Bales.


The MSRP is funded through grants and donations. If you know of a grant that may be of interest, please email us.  Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to our research and outreach/education projects through Loyola. On the electronic gift form, under “Donation Information,” simply select “Other” from the drop-down menu at “Designation,” and be sure to type in “Modern Slavery Research Project Fund.”