Modern Slavery Strategy?

By Lorena Arocha

On the 29th of November, the coalition government launched its new Modern Slavery Strategy[1], making headlines on all major news outlets[2]. As part of this strategy, the Home Office commissioned its Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Bernard Silverman to estimate the scale of modern slavery in the UK. He came up with an estimate of between 10,000-13,000 people being under modern slavery in the UK using existing data from 2013. To get to this number, he used a technique called ‘Multiple Systems Estimation’. This technique is a development of a capture-recapture estimation method often used in ecology to determine the size of a particular animal population. This method has been used in the past by the Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour of the International Labour Organisation in 2005 to first estimate Forced Labour in the World[3] and is routinely applied to estimating human rights violations. Continue reading

ESRC Festival of Social Science – Human Trafficking in the South East

On Wednesday 5th November we held a specialist workshop event for the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2014. In its 12th series, the ESRC Festival is a week-long programme of events dedicated to engaging the public and to raising awareness on the value of the social sciences. Our event was dedicated to the issue of human trafficking in the South East of England. Out of the hundreds of events put on this week, ours was the only one dedicated to human trafficking. We were also delighted to host the event in Margate at the magnificent Turner Contemporary.

With a breath taking backdrop view of the sea, a wide range of stakeholders and practitioners with differing levels of understanding and expertise on human trafficking came together to listen to latest research. In the course of the event, stakeholders shared their experiences and responded to the research’s emerging themes. Attendees included representatives from Kent and Margate Police, the Home Office, Migrant Help, Thanet and Medway district councils, Fire and Rescue, the NHS and others. It was a real privilege to be able to bring together this expertise. The event provided everyone involved the opportunity to discuss their own roles and relationship to the issue of human trafficking. The event was the initiative of Dr. Lorena Arocha, who has been researching human trafficking and related exploitative practices for a decade, both in the UK and abroad.

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Understanding human trafficking

The summer saw the Sociology team join forces with Politics and Psychology when the British Psychology Society – Social Psychology Section – conference was held here at CCCU. Our own Lorena Arocha presented, alongside Laura Cashman and John FitzGibbon in Politics as well as Nicola Abbott and Dennis Nigbur in Psychology.

Here is Lorena Arocha’s abstract:

“Over the last three decades, human trafficking has consolidated as a transnational social policy area (O’Connell Davidson, 2014), a problem to be recognised, identified and tackled. In 2014, we are marking a decade since the UN Trafficking Protocol came into force. Here, we look at the experiences of anti-trafficking interventions in two different countries, India and the UK. Based on qualitative research conducted in West Bengal in 2012 and in the South East of England in 2014 (ongoing), we examine policy and practice in two very different border regions. Continue reading