This article was published by The Future Society in Special Projects, The AI Initiative on March 17, 2021

Project AIMS (Artificial Intelligence against Modern Slavery)

Main insight

AIMS built the first exploration of the application of machine learning to automate the analysis of statements produced by businesses under the UK Modern Slavery Act to boost compliance and help combat and eradicate modern slavery. Project AIMS is now open source on GitHub!

Special ProjectsThe AI Initiative
March 17, 2021
6 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 are also 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.

The Future Society (TFS) launched in partnership with Walk Free Project AIMS (Artificial Intelligence against Modern Slavery). Project AIMS built upon the work from BHRRC Modern Slavery Registry, WikiRate and Walk Free, to develop methods and tools to ‘read’ the statements produced by companies under the Modern Slavery Act. Some of those methods used metrics designed by Walk Free in line with the UK Government guidance. This work can support the work of WikiRate and others interested in analyzing those statements, enabling ongoing human verification of the automated data collection.

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

This project builds on research conducted by Bora (2019) (Unpublished Manuscript) “Using augmented intelligence in accelerating the eradication of modern slavery – Applied machine learning in analyzing and benchmarking the modern slavery businesses’ reports.” Bora focused on creating the first global analysis of all the businesses’ reports collected under the Modern Slavery Registry.

Project AIMS is now open source on GitHub

The first phase of Project AIMS has now ended and that this work is now available open source on our GitHub. The GitHub contains the notebooks developed under Project AIMS from April 2020 to June 2021, clearly documented, for anyone who would like to use, reproduce or develop further the project. Those notebooks are organized in the following format:

At The Future Society, in partnership with Walk Free, we were the first pioneers of this work. We would like this work to continue, so we invite you to join us in taking this project to the next phase. 

We hope you stay in touch, join our community, and share this opportunity with your network, finding those interested in using their skills to fight modern slavery. 

For any questions, please contact Adriana Bora (email: adriana.bora@thefuturesociety.org) who is managing the GitHub community.

Join us on Github Trello Slack

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

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.

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

Project AIMS in the media and more:

“Using AI for Fighting Modern Slavery” with Alice Eckstein, Project Director, Delta 8.7, Doreen Boyd, Rights Lab Associate Director and Professor of Earth Observation, University of Nottingham, Gavin Smith, Assistant Professor N/LAB, The University of Nottingham and Adriana Bora, AI Policy Researcher and Project Manager, The Future Society.
Watch our Project AIMS’ manager, Adriana Bora, presenting at the UN World Data Forum on challenges in accessing and structuring modern slavery data and our work on using AI against modern slavery.
The Future Society presented ‘AI Against Modern Slavery: Digital Insights for modern slavery reporting – challenges and opportunities’ at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)’s Fall 2020 Symposium on the AI for Social Good Track.

The Future Society is proud to announce that Project AIMS (AI against Modern Slavery) was selected to be presented as a promising use-case of responsible AI for Social Good at the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) Montreal Summit 2020.
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