Skip to main content
WISE exterior

University of Hull invests £180,000 in tackling slavery and exploitation


Reflecting a commitment to advance the end of slavery and exploitation around the world, the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute is investing in three PhD scholarships worth £180,000 to examine the causes of child trafficking and exploitation.

Designed to attract the best talent and deliver great research that has impact, these scholarships are open to high-calibre students who will work on specific projects, all with critical importance.

Successful candidates will have their tuition fees funded throughout the PhD programmes as well as living costs, totalling around £19,000 per year.

Last year Charlotte Russell was the recipient of the Wiseman Khuzwayo Scholarship, which has seen her explore the links between migration, trafficking and slavery by speaking directly to those affected. Charlotte said: “The Wiseman scholarship has enabled me to pursue a vital area of research in contemporary slavery. Without the assistance of the scholarship, I would not have had the resources to do so.”

Charlotte aims to contribute a better understanding of what optimal protection and support looks like to refugee children. She said: “I hope to provide a framework which connects high level policy makers, with those experiencing human trafficking on the ground. It is my intention to highlight the environmental factors exacerbating the risk of human trafficking faced by child refugees in Europe and the means by which these could be better tackled.

“I will share my findings with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. In doing so I hope to facilitate the expansion of safeguarding policy which better incorporates the voices of affected young people. It is very important to me that my findings are widely accessible both within and without the academic community, so as to raise broad and non-discriminate consciousness of this issue.

Charlotte Russell 500x500


Charlotte Russell, recipient of the Wiseman Khuzwayo Scholarship

Her work has seen her interview refugees about their experiences and compare that with how those experiences are perceived. “It’s an incredible opportunity to come up with your own concept and study something that you are really passionate about,” says Charlotte. “What I want to do is incorporate refugee populations, particularly minors, into the dialogue about how best to protect them and how to ensure better safeguarding policy.”

“Having their voice and the voice of people trying to protect them within the same conversation is really key in better safeguarding and improving the way that we tackle this invisible issue of human trafficking in refugee populations.”

“I am so thrilled to be pursuing my own research, and doing so with the support of such a fantastic team of academics at WISE. I am thoroughly enjoying the process so far, and am excited to see where it goes.”  Charlotte Russell, PhD student at the University of Hull

Through world leading research that informs policy and practices along with directly working with organisations to help them identify and address slavery in their supply chains, the Wilberforce Institute is working to help eradicate slavery and exploitation around the world. 

See our current PhD opportunities



Media Enquiries

Please contact the Press Office on