Political Science Professor and Modern Day Slavery Expert Awarded $33K for Research Aimed at Improving Anti-Slavery Efforts

December 3, 2019

Datta InlineUNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Monti Narayan Datta, associate professor of political science at the University of Richmond, has received a $33,000 grant from The Achelis & Bodman Foundation to further his research on modern slavery. 

Working with The Arise Foundation, a charity based in London and New York whose mission is to end slavery and human trafficking, Datta will assess how much trust, or social capital, can be a factor in understanding how non-governmental organizations, nonprofits focused on social and political issues, engage in anti-slavery efforts.

“More than 40 million people are in modern slavery, and little is still understood in terms of best practices to liberate enslaved persons and help them reintegrate into society with dignity,” Datta said. “We want to look more closely at some anti-trafficking organizations and see why some NGOs are effective and others less so in helping liberate enslaved persons and helping them reintegrate into their communities with dignity and purpose after enslavement ends.”

The bulk of Datta’s analysis will consist of studying data collected from communities in North India, where NGOs are led by Catholic sisters and appear to have a strong success rate in helping liberated communities stay slave-free.

Datta, along with UR Assistant Professor of Education Bob Spires, will visit Assam India this summer to study the successful anti-trafficking tactics conducted by Religious Sisters in the region. 

The Arise Foundation will launch Datta’s report on trust and anti-slavery at the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. in fall 2020, sharing Datta’s findings with key stakeholders in the Department’s anti-trafficking division.

Datta, who has taught at UR since 2009, has published multiple articles on modern-day slavery, and will teach a Sophomore Scholars in Residence course on human rights and modern slavery during the 2020-2021 academic year. Additionally, he is working on a new book project about the politics of modern slavery, which draws on lessons learned from antebellum slavery and its tragic legacy following the emancipation of 1865.