March 10, 2017, by Charlotte Anscombe

Tackling modern slavery together

The University of Nottingham and the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s office will be working together to tackle slavery across the UK as part of a new collaborative project.

Abolishing modern slavery is at the centre of the Prime Minister Teresa May’s personal policy agenda. Government policy to date has mainly focused on the implications for foreign policy, trade and development and police enforcement. However, slavery in the UK is often encountered and addressed at a local level, which means that law enforcement agencies need to work closely in partnership with the wider public sector and NGOs.

This new six-month project will look to ‘map’ existing Modern Slavery Partnerships across the UK, identifying UK local, sub-regional and regional partnerships through a targeted survey and telephone follow-up.  A second phase of the research will explore the different types of partnership work which are emerging and seek evidence for good or promising practice.

Tackling modern slavery

Dr Alison Gardner, the lead researcher on the project from The University of Nottingham, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Office on this important project. Local partnerships play a vital role in tackling modern slavery and by looking at which groups have been successful at tackling this global problem we can start to share good practice and help make our communities slavery-free.”

The University of Nottingham is home to the world’s largest group of rights and justice scholars – 700 staff members, 300 postgraduate students and 22 research centres across all five of its faculties – giving the University a unique ability to tackle global challenges.

Professor Todd Landman, Pro Vice Chancellor for the faculty of Social Sciences at the University, said: “I am pleased that colleagues in the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Arts are supporting the work of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner at a time when this issue has incredible salience in the public sphere. The work carried out here is vital for the government to tackle this pernicious problem and our range of expertise in this area is proving invaluable to many of our key stakeholders, including the Commissioner.”

Crucial partnerships

The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner works to spearhead the UK’s response to modern slavery. His aims are: to see an increase in the number of victims of modern slavery identified and referred for appropriate support; and, in tandem, to see an increase in the numbers of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers and slave masters.

Kevin Hyland OBE, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, said: “Modern slavery partnerships are crucial in the UK’s fight against this growing crime. As the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, responsible for spearheading the UK’s response to modern slavery, these multi-agency groups contribute to supporting victims and punishing perpetrators and I hugely value their work.

“This new six-month project is the first attempt to ‘map’ existing multi-agency partnerships across the UK and I am pleased to have partnered with the University of Nottingham for this important research. Existing modern slavery partnerships have shown commitment and insight; now I look forward to discovering the ingredients needed for successful partnership working across the UK.”

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