Research & projects

We are proud winners of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our work uncovering the extent of modern slavery around the world, using the lessons of the past.

Historical slavery

The Wilberforce Institute has a well-established reputation for producing ground-breaking research into historical slavery. Our work on slave voyages, led by Professor David Richardson, has transformed at all levels the evidential base for studying the transatlantic slave trade, providing researchers with reliable estimates of those carried from Africa to the Americas, as well as their origins and destinations.

Modern slavery

The Institute is a member of the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC), established in 2020 with £10 million in government funding. Our researchers are leading one of the PEC’s priority research strands, looking into the legal enforcement of modern slavery. We are also working on a PEC AHRC-funded project, led by the Bakhita Centre at St Mary’s University, which seeks to shed light on support services for victims of modern slavery who are British nationals.

Our research

Walking in the footsteps of Hull MP William Wilberforce, our influential research has received royal recognition and is helping governments, businesses and communities root out slavery at its very source - one of the greatest threats to human rights today. Our unique strength is our understanding of both historical and contemporary slavery – learning from the past to create positive change today.

Legacies of slavery & colonialism

Research which further promotes an uncensored understanding of Britain’s legacies of slavery and colonialism and increases engagement with the Caribbean.

Publications & outputs

Find out more about the Wilberforce Institute’s research activities, including details of publications, books, projects and other outputs.