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Identifying pathways to support British victims of modern slavery towards safety and recovery: A scoping study

Start date: 1st September 2021, funded for 12 months

About the project

Research on survivors of modern slavery has increased exponentially in recent years. Much of this research tends to focus on specific forms of trafficking such as labour, sexual, or criminal exploitation; the impact of trafficking on mental and physical health; the drivers of trafficking; or specific sites of trafficking, for example countries of origin of persons trafficked into the UK based National Referral Mechanism (NRM) statistics, such as Nigeria, Vietnam, and Albania. 

However, despite the recent rise in the number of British Nationals identified as potential victims of slavery and referred to the NRM for support (2,836 in 2019, compared to 1,625 in 2018 and 819 in 2017), there has been no comprehensive study on the specific vulnerabilities of British Nationals to internal trafficking and exploitation and their recovery needs.

To address this gap in research, this study will examine experiences of British national survivors in two distinct contexts: the criminal justice system and within statutory and non-statutory services. In the former context, judgements and appeals will be examined to assess how both defences and prosecutions were run under Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act. The second strand will use surveys and interviews with survivors, practitioners, statutory agencies, and law enforcement to ascertain the specific needs of British national survivors and their outcome sin rehabilitation and recovery. In both strands of the study, the impact on families/carers of survivors of barriers, including discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality etc. will be examined. 

The findings of this research will inform what support for British Nationals should look like to enable their recovery and prevent re-trafficking. This will enable the development of coherent responses to the specific needs of this subset of survivors. It will also lead to the provision of an evidence base for improved grass-roots delivery of support for British National survivors and an evidence base to influence policy on the support needs of British National survivors.