This article was published by The Future Society in Special Projects, The AI Initiative on June 23, 2020

Project AIMS (Artificial Intelligence against Modern Slavery)

Main insight

AIMS builds a machine learning tool to automatize the analysis of statements produced by businesses under the UK and Australian Modern Slavery Acts to boost compliance and help combat and eradicate modern slavery.

Special ProjectsThe AI Initiative
June 23, 2020
3 min read

Since 2015, the UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA) has required companies making over 36 million £ (approx. USD 45 million) per year to report on the steps they are taking to eradicate modern slavery from their direct operations and supply chains. From December 2020, under the Australian Modern Slavery Act, Australian companies making over AU $100 million (approx. USD 69 million)  per year will also be required to produce an MSA statement. According to the BHRRC Modern Slavery Registry, there are now over 16,000 published MSA statements in the UK. To date, Walk Free, WikiRate, and BHRRC have conducted an analysis of these statements manually.

The Future Society is launching in partnership with Walk Free Project AIMS (Artificial Intelligence against Modern Slavery). Project AIMS will build upon the BHRRC Modern Slavery Registry to develop an AI algorithm to ‘read’ the statements produced by companies under the Modern Slavery Act. This algorithm will use metrics designed by Walk Free in line with the UK Government guidance. The new tool will be integrated with the WikiRate platform to enable ongoing human verification of the automated data collection.

Nicolas Miailhe and Yolanda Lannquist will oversee the project led by Adriana Bora and Edgar Rootalu. AIMS will use the latest data science and machine learning techniques, with a particular focus on NLP (Natural Language Processing) and computational linguistics, which will allow diving deep into each report, assess it and improve the overall understanding of the quality of the reports produced under the UK and later Australian Modern Slavery Acts.

Once developed, the tool will help increase efficiency and transparency for consumers and businesses, while being aligned with the best practices in terms of ethics-by-design.

“Project AIMS seeks to capture the potential of artificial intelligence to help solve pressing social issues in new ways, to ultimately uphold human dignity. With this innovative machine learning tool, our goal is two-fold: empower civil society and legislators to hold businesses and governments to account; and pave the way for a new type of public policy and legislation, which embraces the full power of data mining and processing”. – Nicolas Miailhe, co-founder and president of The Future Society

“This tool will be an innovative way to hold companies to account. It means our teams can speed up the analysis of company statements and it will allow us to focus on the investigation of different sectors and highlight areas that require improvement. Going forward, this will lead to better disclosure of company action to tackle modern slavery in global supply chains.” -Walk Free’s European engagement lead, Katharine Bryant