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Dr Ruth Van Dyke

Dr. Ruth Van Dyke has been a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery, now the Bakhita Centre on Research in Slavery, Exploitation and Abuse since June 2017. Previously she was a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at London South Bank University. 

She has been undertaking research on human trafficking and modern slavery since 2009. Initial research was undertaken on behalf of Capital Humano y Social Alternativo, an NGO working on human trafficking in Lima Peru.This research entailed investigating the trafficking of people from the Andean community to Europe. The findings were included in The Prelude to Human Trafficking: Vulnerable spaces for Andean migrants in the European Union. 

Since 2013 Ruth’s research has focused on investigating the competencies necessary for police to tackle human trafficking, the police response to modern slavery and partnership working. The findings from this research have been disseminated in reports to the Metropolitan Police Service, training for police officers, conference papers and journal articles.

She was a member of the Expert Reference Group for the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary’s 2016-17 inspection of police force responses to modern slavery.  

More recently Ruth has engaged in evaluations of modern slavery initiatives.  These include the Victim Navigator Programme for Justice and Care and an organisational evaluation of STOP THE TRAFFIK. A recent report What Looks Promising for Tackling Modern Slavery: a review of practice-based research, drew on research conducted by affiliates of the Bakhita Centre.  Ruth contributed the following chapter ‘The United Kingdom response to modern slavery: law, policy and politics’, in  The Modern Slavery Agenda, edited by Gary CraigAlex BalchHannah Lewis and Louise Waite

Dr Sasha Jesperson

Dr Sasha Jesperson is a policy researcher focused on organised crime, conflict, migration, modern slavery and border management. She has an extensive track record of working with a range of government departments and institutions to deliver technical advice, research and programming, including UK government departments and the European Commission.

Sasha is a senior analyst with RHIPTO - Norwegian Centre for Global Analyses, and she is a Deployable Civilian Expert for the UK Stabilisation Unit. Recent publications include Human Trafficking: An Organised Crime? and Militarised Responses to Organised Crime: The War on Crime.

Dr Runa Lazzarino

Dr. Runa Lazzarino started investigating recovery/reintegration processes and care/assistance discourses and practices for vulnerable migrants and human trafficking survivors in 2008.  Her current research interests revolve around: global (mental) health, cultural psychiatry and transcultural health/care – both research and interventions; the relationship between violence/abuse/exploitation and subject/sense making, in particular by looking at mental and sexual health; culture, social norms, discourses and structural determinants of health(care) and migration; creative expressions as means of research and healing.

Social groups of main focus are vulnerable migrants (i.e., victims of human trafficking and refugees), and vulnerable groups/minorities more generally; methodologically, interest is for participatory, interdisciplinary, creative works, and multimodal ethnography, within the framework of policy-oriented and impactful projects. Theoretically, leading viewpoint is from critical medical anthropology, attentive to power relations, post-colonial discourses, epistemology, intersectionality, and humanitarianism. 

Runa obtained her PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Milano-Bicocca in 2015. In her doctorate project, she conducted a multi-stakeholder and multi-country ethnography (Northern Vietnam, Central West Brazil, and Nepal) concentrating on post-trafficking recovery and humanitarian assistance. 

Subsequently, Runa was research associate within the project SEATIDE - Integration in Southeast Asia: Trajectories of Inclusion, Dynamics of Exclusion (EC 7th FP), fellow at UCL Institute of Advanced Studies and in the Rights Lab (UoN), and in these positions she has concentrated on different aspects of post-trafficking/slavery mental health/care and reintegration. 

Runa is now based at the Research Centre for Transcultural Studies in Health (MDX), where she is also involved in projects on refugee parenting, spirituality and culturally competent social robots in health/care. Runa has also experience as consultant in psycho-social and cultural renovations interventions, projects' M&E and management. 

Runa’s publications can be accessed through researchgate

Dr Anna Westin

Dr. Anna Westin is a philosopher, activist and musician based between Canada and the UK. Anna has completed a PhD in the philosophy of addiction, engaging in the existential and phenomenological approach of Kierkegaard and Levinas at St. Mary’s University, London, under the supervision of Dr. Hannah Marije Altorf and Dr. Pia Matthews. 

Anna has published in places such as the Journal of Medical Ethics and the New Bioethics Journal, and has lectured at Richmond, The American University in London and St. Mary's University, Canterbury Christ Church University and London School of Theology.

She is currently an Honorary Visiting Lecturer at University of Kent and Honorary Visiting Fellow at St. Mary’s University, Bakhita Centre for Research on Slavery, Exploitation and Abuse. She is also Director of The JAM Network UK, a creative anti-trafficking community, and involved in various independently affiliated research, activist and music projects.  

As a folk singer-songwriter, Anna has performed internationally across the UK, in the Middle East and Canada and is engaged in using music and story as a tool for healing and reconciliation.  

As Director of The JAM Network UK, Anna’s role includes linking different cultural pillars in the exchange of information, awareness raising and development of alternate forms of social activism. This includes writing stage-based productions, facilitating events for survivors, and collaborating with UK-based anti-trafficking NGOs and academic organisations. This requires having access to current research and being involved in the anti-trafficking exchanges at institutional levels.  

In her role as a philosopher and ethicist, Anna is interested in developing and disseminating academic research related to trauma and human trafficking. She has published and presented papers on creativity and justice-based discourses in health care and human rights, and is interested in furthering work on hope and suffering through normative applications of progressive community activism.

This serves as one of the key theoretical drivers for the work of The JAM Network UK, which is to use free creative expression in a way that gives voice to the unfree modern slaves in the UK. The JAM Network has hosted a night for survivors, in association with the Sophie Hayes Foundation, as well as developing material for stage productions, whilst partnering with NGOs to develop innovative ways to spread information and raise impact-based awareness.

Using the creative arts to develop the discourse on modern slavery has enabled access to broader audiences that often do not come to academic events, and provides connection points for survivors who are able to tell their stories to a population whilst maintaining anonymity.

The arts are also used as a tool of healing in post-survivor work, and provide a means of sharing narratives in safely monitored relationships.  

Lara Bundock

Lara Bundock is the founding CEO of ‘The Snowdrop Project’ (registered charity: 1158856). After training as a social worker, she practiced in an NRM safe house in 2011 and was struck by the lack of available support after the NRM. 

Seeing previous clients become homeless, develop debt, drug and alcohol problems or become missing people; she designed a long-term support programme to address clients ongoing needs.The Project grew and focuses on holistic support provision through casework and advocacy, counselling, community activities, a house renovation service and pathways to education/employment. 

In 2020, Snowdrop took on part of the new government contract to provide ‘Reach-In’ support after the NRM, a signposting service after someone has exited the NRM, which is now integrated in to their wider provision.  The charity also works with other organisations (such as FlourishNI, The Medaille Trust, Hope at Home) to assist and provide guidance in developing long-term support in other areas of the country.

Lara co-authored ‘Life Beyond the Safe House’ (2015), The Trafficking Survivor Care Standards (2019) and the National Training Standards for the Identification, Care and Support of victims and Survivors of Modern Slavery (2020) and has spoken around the UK, Northern Ireland and Turkmenistan about working with survivors of trafficking. 

She is passionate about needs-led support being available nationwide following methods of best practice and equipping others to understand the complex needs of survivors    

Paul Elms

Paul is a retired police officer and BBC journalist and first became involved in the field of modern slavery and people trafficking in 2004 when he had responsibility for the safety of the survivors of the Morecambe Bay disaster. Paul went on to work nationally and internationally in the field of witness protection, before working for the NHS in Counter Terrorism.

More recently Paul has worked for The Gangmasters Licencing Authority which was born out of the Morecambe Bay disaster as their Head of Prevention. His role is to heighten awareness amongst citizens and organisations to spot the signs of modern day slavery and labour abuse.

Paul has sat on the Home Office Modern Slavery Prevention Group and helped the St Marys Centre in devising some of its course delivery. He has extensive and long term experience of working hands on with victims and survivors, and is a strong advocate for increased activity in the investigation and prosecution of offenders.

Rachel Witkin

Rachel Witkin is Head of Counter-Trafficking and Publications at the Helen Bamber Foundation, which runs a specialist Counter-Trafficking programme to provide ongoing and long-term assessment, letters and witness statements, safeguarding and contact support for survivors in accordance with their individual needs and risks. 

She also works as an independent consultant for the Office of Democratic Institutions & Human Rights (ODIHR). Publications include:  The Trauma Informed Code of Conduct for All Professionals Working with Survivors of Trafficking and Slavery (TiCC), The UK Slavery & Trafficking Survivor Care Standards and the 2021 OSCE/ODIHR NRM Handbook.  

Rachel’s interest is to ensure that professionals from any field of discipline who work with trafficking survivors have accessible ‘how to’ guidance which they can use and reference easily to work safely and effectively.  Rachel is a visiting Fellow at St. Mary’s University and in 2015 received the National Marsh Trust Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Fight Against Modern Slavery. 

Dr Craig Barlow

Craig Barlow is a Criminologist and Independent Consultant in Forensic Social Work. Over the past 30 years he has been involved in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and the assessment and management of violent and sexual offenders in both secure forensic and community settings.

With many years experience of organised and networked abuse and exploitation of children and vulnerable adults, he has acted as an expert adviser to Police and Prosecutors in cases of trafficking and modern slavery since 2014. His doctoral research developed a new theoretical model for understanding, describing and explaining Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) which he continues to develop to address other contexts for modern slavery.

From his direct work as a practitioner and his academic research, he has developed the Systemic investigation, Protection and Prosecution Strategies (SIPPS) approach to assist safeguarding agencies, law enforcement and both civil and criminal justice practitioners safeguard victims and pursue, disrupt and prosecute perpetrators.

Craig regularly provides expert evidence to the criminal and family courts but continues to pursue his research interests with the Wilberforce institute (University of hull) and St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He lectures on the subject of modern slavery throughout the country and abroad and is engaged as a consultant by a number of organisations including statutory services, governing bodies and NGOs.