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The Bakhita Centre for Research on Slavery Exploitation and Abuse, formerly the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery, was established in 2015 to respond to the growing scale of modern slavery and human trafficking locally and internationally.

The remit of the Bakhita Centre reflects the development of a broader research portfolio that takes account of intersections of other factors within human trafficking and modern slavery: inequality on a global scale including labour, criminal and sexual exploitation; associated discrimination based on structural inequalities of gender, race, ethnicity, asylum seeking/refugee and migrant status.

Through applied research, the Centre aims to address failures and limitations of statutory systems to protect victims of trafficking, gender-based violence and abuse.

The Centre aims to conduct research which will feed into anti-slavery and human trafficking policy at the highest level, in the UK and internationally, and to contribute to education and awareness raising. 

About us

Our story

Since its establishment in 2015, the Centre has built up a strong network of partners in civil society, law enforcement, other universities, and government, and draws on the expertise of internal and external partners. Honorary Research Fellows active in the Centre have expertise in social work, policing, business, tackling organised crime, and survivor support. Internal partners at St Mary’s include academic experts in Criminology, Law, Media, Business and Education. These partnerships enable the Centre to approach the multifaceted issue of modern slavery and human trafficking from a wide-ranging perspective.

The Centre also works closely with NGOs to identify gaps in service provision for survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking and to recommend changes to policy and practice. Over the years, it has also worked with government departments to identify gaps in knowledge, generating empirical evidence to make the response more targeted, and generate better results for those subject to slavery and trafficking. The Centre’s work will continue to impact on policy, practice and prevention through applied research, education, training, and awareness raising.

The Centre recognises Cardinal Vincent Nichols' initiative to combat slavery and trafficking, along with Bakhita House (a London-based safe-house for trafficked women) and the Santa Marta group which seeks to co-ordinate the efforts of law enforcement authorities, NGOs, and governments worldwide. 

Our people


Honorary research fellows


PhD students

Our supporters and partners

The Centre’s work and various projects have been generously funded and supported by the following funders:

  • Co-op
  • The Gubay Foundation
  • HSBC
  • Assumption Legacy Fund
  • Arise Foundation
  • Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)
  • Strategic Priorities Fund

The Centre considers partnership working as vital and believes it to necessary to view and understand issues from different perspectives. Having a ‘joined up thinking’ between various sectors and fields has proved to be highly beneficial.

The Centre is keen to expand its networks and bring together people from different agencies and sectors, recognising that they all bring particular skills, resources, understandings and cultures.

In the last few years, the Centre has worked closely with various partners, including:

  • Snowdrop
  • Bakhita House
  • Helen Bamber Foundation
  • Stop the Traffic
  • Justice and Care
  • Women at the Well

Training standards

The Centre is committed to wider awareness-raising, training, and education, and has delivered talks on modern slavery to diverse audiences, from local to international including the Global Sustainability Network, the National Board of Catholic Women, the UK’s Ministry of Defense and Doctors of the World.

The Centre has also advised the UK’s National Crime Agency and continues to offer research expertise, where possible.

Latest news

Latest events

Modern Slavery Rose planting

Bakhita Centre newsletter

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Contact us

We welcome collaborations with external experts. Please do get in touch and tell us what you do. Please contact:

Media enquiries

If you would like to arrange to speak to one of our academics, please contact our Press Office Team:

Study with us

Applicants are encouraged to make contact regarding our MA, Practitioner Course and PhD opportunities. Please contact: