Research

 

Communities and Society Programme

Why does slavery persist and what creates resilience against slavery? 

 

Our Communities and Society Programme is asking: why does slavery persist and what creates resilience against slavery?  If we understand why slavery exists today, we will have a better chance of ending it. Efforts to prevent slavery, discover victims, and provide support for survivors draw upon a complex web of services at locality-level. Yet development of coherent antislavery policy at the sub-national and local level is frequently ignored or underfunded. Similar to other global challenges, such as climate change, modern slavery requires local action to underpin international and domestic legislation.

In the Rights Lab’s Communities and Society Programme, sociologists, political scientists, health scientists, philosophers, and scholars of education, law, cultures, and business are showing that community engagement remains—as across history—an essential facet of the antislavery movement. Our slavery-free communities project aims to establish how we might work locally, as well as nationally, to create sustainable and resilient localities where slavery cannot flourish. We are developing transferable, scalable and sustainable initiatives which can help communities to become slavery-free. This includes national comparative research on multi-agency antislavery partnerships, work alongside the Church of England and other faith partners to understand the contribution of faith groups to antislavery action and grass-roots mobilisation, and evaluations of the impact of local press and media campaigns. We are also working alongside statutory and community partners towards creating a slavery-free Nottinghamshire, and expanding this place-based approach to addressing slavery to a number of other cities around the world.

For example, we are piloting a Slavery-Free Cities Index. This builds on our international collaborations with other cities to pilot place-based approaches to addressing slavery. We have theorised social determinants of slavery-free communities, setting them in context with a systemic view of the antislavery agenda, that stretches from prevention through discovery to respite, recovery and sustainable resilience. This framework will now underpin a new index of city resilience to slavery, one that will share the components required to develop slavery-free communities in diverse social and economic contexts. By understanding the factors contributing to slavery-free communities, we can measure and compare resilience across a wide range of local settings, and so challenge and inspire communities to further action. This work includes a community-based focus on recovery, including mental health, to better meet the practical, health and wellbeing needs of slavery survivors over the long term.


Programme experts

Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner

Description
Rights Lab Associate Director (Communities and Society Programme) and Nottingham Research Fellow in Slavery-Free Communities
Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster

Description
Rights Lab Nottingham Research Fellow in Modern Slavery Perpetration
Phil Northall

Phil Northall

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery Resilient Cities
Nicola Wright

Nicola Wright

Description
Rights Lab Associate Professor in Mental Health
Juliana Semione

Juliana Semione

Description
Rights Lab PhD Student in Politics and International Relations
Juliet Thondhlana

Juliet Thondhlana

Description
Rights Lab Associate Professor in Education and Migration
Oana Burcu

Oana Burcu

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Human Trafficking and Migration
Grace Robinson

Grace Robinson

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Modern Slavery Perpetrators and Organised Crime
Amelia Watkins-Smith

Amelia Watkins-Smith

Description
Rights Lab Research Associate in Slavery-Free Communities and PhD Student in Politics & International Relations
Jen Birks

Jen Birks

Description
Rights Lab Assistant Professor in Culture, Film and Media
Mihaela Kelemen

Mihaela Kelemen

Description
Rights Lab Professor of Business and Society
Emina Hadziosmanovic

Emina Hadziosmanovic

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Mental Health Recovery
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