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Dr Zahra Shirgholami

Dr Zahra Shirgholami

Lecturer in Modern Slavery

Faculty and Department

  • Institutes
  • Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation


  • PhD (University of Surrey)


I am a lecturer in Modern Slavery at the University of Hull. My research specialises in corporate practices and labour exploitation within domestic and global supply chains. This research involves working with senior governmental, NGO and corporate stakeholders from the fields of apparel, hospitality, and tourism in both Global South and Global North countries to understand the issues and pressures in delivering responsible business practices.

Before joining the University of Hull, I completed my PhD at the University of Surrey where I was awarded the Surrey Business School Postgraduate Research Student of the Year Award 2020-2021.

Prior to my doctorate, I had a background in Engineering and Mathematics, undertaking my bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial engineering in my home country of Iran. By combining both scientific and business knowledge, my goal is to develop new approaches to modelling and tackling severe exploitation in the global supply chains. I have a strong ideological commitment to social justice that drives me to seek to improve the treatment of those who are discriminated against because of their background, religion, gender or social class.

Since completing my doctorate, I have been researching and teaching at the Law School and Wilberforce institute at the University of Hull. As an early research career, I am currently investigating labour exploitation and business governance practices and am keen to collaborate with researchers, policy-makers and practitioners around the globe.

Research interests

Forced labour and modern slavery

Labour exploitation

Business and human rights

Sustainable supply chains