Research

Law and Policy Programme

How can we close the implementation gap, between principle and practice?

From the global to the domestic, States are increasingly engaging with the issue of modern slavery in their legal frameworks. Yet significant gaps remain in anti-slavery laws and national approaches often fail to satisfy international commitments. Disparities between States’ legal frameworks create confusion, prevent effective cooperation, and result in incomplete coverage of the phenomenon. The intersectional nature of modern slavery presents a further challenge for anti-slavery governance, requiring engagement with a variety of different policy domains.  

In our Law and Policy Programme, legal scholars, political scientists, sociologists, and scholars of business and area studies are interrogating the law and policy frameworks that operate at the global, regional, and domestic level. They are working to determine the elements of effective anti-slavery governance and to map trends, successes, and failures in its realisation and implementation. This includes work defining the parameters of slavery and related forms of exploitation, investigating the full range of potential mechanisms for modern slavery governance, and engaging victim-centred approaches.  

Our Law and Policy Programme adopts an intersectional approach to address the complexities of modern slavery, exploring the intersecting factors that drive modern slavery and how different areas of law and policy can be leveraged in response. This includes consideration of key thematic issues such as gender, migration, conflict, and instability, as well as a wide range of policy domains—from human and labour rights to immigration, family law, public procurement, and trade. 

For example, we have launched the world’s first comprehensive database of the domestic legislation and international obligations of all 193 UN Member States with regard to slavery and related forms of exploitation. From this Anti-slavery Legislation Database, we can construct blueprints for anti-slavery law and policy enactment, reform, and implementation around the world, working with government, legislators, and practitioners to lay the legal foundations for a future free from slavery. The database allows States to learn from global practice and comparative analyses in order to develop robust governance frameworks that respond to the changing dynamics of slavery.  

Legislation Database


Programme experts

Katarina Schwarz

Katarina Schwarz

Description
Rights Lab Associate Director (Law and Policy Programme) and Principal Research Fellow in Antislavery Law and Policy
Helen McCabe

Helen McCabe

Description
Rights Lab Associate Professor in Political Theory
Audrey Lumley-Sapanski

Audrey Lumley-Sapanski

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow and Lead in Migration and Displacement
Pamela Vargas Gorena

Pamela Vargas Gorena

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery Law and Human Rights
Urmila Bhoola

Urmila Bhoola

Description
Rights Lab Principal Research Fellow in Justice and Global Antislavery
Ergul Celiksoy

Ergul Celiksoy

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Modern Slavery and Criminal Justice
Esther Weir

Esther Weir

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery Civil Society
Lauren Eglen

Lauren Eglen

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Modern Slavery, Gender and Feminist Approaches
Rebecca Brown

Rebecca Brown

Description
PhD Student and Rights Lab Research Fellow in Law and Policy
Grace Boyling

Grace Boyling

Description
Research Associate in Antislavery Policy and Development
Anastasiia Kliuha

Anastasiia Kliuha

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery Policy and Interventions
Zoë Rubenstein

Zoë Rubenstein

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Antislavery Policy and Services
Timothy Masiko

Timothy Masiko

Description
Rights Lab Assistant Professor in Trade and Economic Law
Aline Campos Pereira

Aline Campos Pereira

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Labour Exploitation and Worker Voice and PhD Student in Law
Katrina Peake

Katrina Peake

Description
Rights Lab Research Fellow in Trade and Decent Work
Katy Ferris

Katy Ferris

Description
Rights Lab Associate Professor in Business Law
Gulshan Khan

Gulshan Khan

Description
Rights Lab Associate Professor of Political Theory
Andrew Mumford

Andrew Mumford

Description
Rights Lab Professor of War Studies
Victor Kattan

Victor Kattan

Description
Rights Lab Nottingham Senior Research Fellow in Slavery and Apartheid
Naomi Lott

Naomi Lott

Description
Rights Lab Visiting Fellow in Law, Survivor Support and Children's Rights
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