Public Lecture: 'Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery: Public Beliefs and Industry Responses’ on Thursday, 7th April at 4.30

31st March 2016

Dr Dave Walsh will speak about ‘Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery: Public Beliefs and Industry Responses’.
Modern slavery is less overt than historical state-sanctioned slavery because psychological abuse is typically used to recruit and then control victims. The recently introduced UK Modern Slavery Act, and current UK government anti-slavery strategy relies heavily on a shared understanding and public cooperation to tackle this crime. Yet, UK research investigating public understanding of modern slavery is elusive. The presentation firstly reports community survey data from 682 residents of the Midlands of England, where modern slavery is known to occur, concerning their understanding of nonphysical coercion and human trafficking (one particular form of modern slavery). Analysis of quantitative data and themed categorization of qualitative data revealed a mismatch between theoretical frameworks and understanding of psychological coercion, and misconceptions concerning the nature of human trafficking. Many respondents did not understand psychological coercion, believed that human trafficking did not affect them, and confused trafficking with immigration. The public are one of the most influential interest groups, but only if well informed and motivated towards positive action. These findings suggest the need for strategically targeted public knowledge exchange concerning this crime.
The presentation introduces one approach recently undertaken by Walsh and his colleagues to such targeting, i.e. industry. Broadly, S54 of the Modern Slavery Act requires those dealing with labour suppliers to report on what they are doing to ensure that their supply chain free from exploitation. Recognising a skills shortage a strategy has been developed to equip the supply chain with appropriate strategies, tactics , behaviours and techniques that they can more reliably gather from labour suppliers information that will enable industry to possess more confidence as to the ethical content of labour supply chains.

The lecture took place in Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) on Thursday 7th April 2016

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