Building the Evidence-Base for Effective Antislavery Governance in the UK and UK Source Countries


Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: June 2020-February 2021
Project Lead: Dr Katarina Schwarz
Programme: Law and Policy
Partner: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

About the project

Over the past five years, over 75% of potential victims of modern slavery referred into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM)—the UK’s system for supporting victims of modern slavery—represent only ten nationalities. The top 20 nationalities make up over 90% of referrals. This has implications both for understanding the drivers of enslavement experienced by these victims (and thus efforts aimed at prevention) and for understanding appropriate responses. Drawing on our legislation database, this project interrogates the domestic law and policy frameworks, and their implementation, in the top 20 countries of origin of victims identified and supported in the UK. Combined with analysis of country contexts, this research helps to identify causes and drivers of transnational trafficking and exploitation from these countries, as well as cross-national trends. It will then focus in on 2 countries, analysing in-depth the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of existing responses, exploring the mechanisms and levers that impact change in national action, and developing bespoke frameworks to fill governance gaps and ensure UK policy and practice accounts for them.

This project will fill the evidence gap concerning antislavery governance frameworks and conditions in the top 20 countries of origin for victims supported in the UK, providing the foundations for the development of training and advocacy materials for reform of national legislation, policy, government programming and spending, and decision-making, both at home and abroad.

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