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The Justice Hub

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The
Challenge

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Up to 40 million people in the world are held in forms of modern slavery. Over 10,000 people were officially identified as potential victims of Modern Slavery in the UK in 2020. Slavery is a crime everywhere punishable by severe penalties, yet the problem remains and is growing. If Britain could abolish slavery in the 19th century when so many directly benefitted, we believe that we can do more to combat it now when all agree that it is an abhorrent crime.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is transformative legislation to underpin how businesses and organisations must conduct themselves to eradicate modern slavery. The critical feature of the Act is that businesses now have a legal and moral responsibility to demonstrate efforts to eradicate slavery from their supply chains and from their business practice. Penalties apply to businesses that fail to comply. Prosecutions for perpetrators of modern slavery under the Act, although limited to date, are increasing in both number and in severity. Knowledge of its requirements is also becoming increasingly vital for a range of professionals, notably in the law, but also in affiliated areas, and for individuals as well as organisations. 

In the UK, companies turning over £36 million-plus are legally required to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement every year. Yet the fast-paced global marketplace means legitimate industries are unknowingly entangled in illegal trade, and the quality of these statements varies massively.

Despite recommendations made by Caroline Haughey QC in her first-year review of the Act in 2016 and the Independent Review headed by Frank Field MP in 2019, adequate training is still not being provided to professionals working in these complex areas. They need to not only understand and interpret the legislation, but also the complex dynamics and relationships between victims, perpetrators and their environments that enable patterns of modern slavery to continue.

Our vision

Our vision is a global community free from modern slavery where people feel empowered to strive for change.

Using knowledge exchange, teaching and research we want to bridge the gaps that exist between law, policy, and practice, so all people have fair and equal access to their rights.

Working in partnership is the most effective way to learn and make a change. We want to enhance collaboration and connectedness in the sector so all those with a legal or moral duty to act have access to the latest knowledge and best practice.

We want a fairer world for all that is brought about by effective and sustainable policy change and robust legal frameworks.

Getting to grips with this complex legislation is challenging and needs additional expertise within the justice system, as well as insight and support for those working to support victims.

The
Approach

Lead researchers

alicia-kidd Trevor Burnard Andrew-Smith

Based at the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute, the Justice Hub has been created to educate stakeholders to better use and enforce the Modern Slavery Act. Our aim is to inform and educate people to use the law so that together we combat the evil of modern slavery.

The Justice Hub will facilitate engagement with a range of current and potential stakeholders to share research, strategies and experience of applying the Modern Slavery Act.

Wilberforce Building

The Justice Hub will:

  • Create wider awareness of the Modern Slavery Act
  • Help interested stakeholders to interpret, apply and test the legislation through Continuing Professional Development courses and other training activities
  • Build a better understanding of and compliance with the law by business and supply chains
  • Set out to change the culture so that we each assure ourselves that nothing we do in our work or our personal lives supports modern slavery.

In providing leadership, expertise, in-kind resources, and practical support, the Wilberforce Institute and the University of Hull can strengthen the knowledge and expertise of lawyers to apply the law successfully, and develop training and practical toolkits for a wide range of business and civic organisations. The justice hub will raise awareness of, and compliance with, UK legislation, ensuring it is better understood and enforced. Sharing the motives and ambitions of 19th-century abolitionists, we will inform and educate people to apply the law, so that it is used to better support those it was designed to protect.

The Justice Hub will educate professionals on

  • Different modalities of modern slavery
  • The pattern of recruitment, coercion and control of victims
  • Information about trafficking routes, source and destination countries
  • Information on practice developments in the field of law enforcement
  • Information on practice developments in application of the act and cooperative working between agencies and countries
  • Rapid access to new research and briefings
  • Areas where modern slavery is known to flourish: trafficking of children, labour exploitation in agriculture, small businesses, construction, beauty, and manufacturing

The Justice Hub accords with the mission of the University to foster and advance social justice and will provide essential support and training for relevant professionals and others to determine their responses to and compliance with the Modern Slavery Act.

The Justice Hub will draw on expertise, networks and evidence from the Wilberforce Institute’s involvement with the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy Evidence Centre and Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, and will develop a suite of CPD training and virtual learning environment in collaboration with colleagues working on the PUNK project (Police and University Network of Knowledge). Managed by Andrew Smith, from the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, Wilberforce Institute slavery experts Professor Trevor Burnard and Dr Alicia Kidd are also heavily involved.

Our values

  • Diverse – we embrace diversity and are committed to ensuring we take an inclusive approach to tackling modern slavery that values all voices.
  • Connected – we strive to collaborate across all sectors and at all levels. A partnership approach is the best way to combat modern slavery.
  • Innovative – innovation is at the heart of what we do. By using innovative research and knowledge exchange methods we champion engaging and interactive learning.
  • Impactful – by being innovative and collaborative we can ensure we make an impact that is both measurable and long term.
  • Committed – we are taking action to bring about real change so that our global community can be a safer and fairer place for all people.

The Impact

The justice hub will bring together information and access to research and data on different modalities of modern slavery; patterns of recruitment, coercion and control of victims; information about trafficking routes, source and destination countries; information on practice developments in the field of law enforcement, application of the Act and co-operative working between agencies and countries; rapid access to new research and briefings.

Practitioners in law, associated professionals and interested parties can engage with academics in focussing on areas where modern slavery is known to flourish, such as trafficking of children, labour exploitation in agriculture, small businesses, construction, beauty, and manufacturing. We will gradually build an interactive database online, providing access to evidence and resources needed. The Justice Hub will link practitioners with each other and share knowledge and experience as the new legislation is tested over time. The key to achieving these outcomes will be the identification, development and facilitation of CPD webinars and relevant training courses.

The impact of the Justice Hub will be to:

  • Create wider awareness of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • Help interested stakeholders to interpret, apply and test the legislation through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and other training activities
  • Build a better understanding of and compliance with the law by business and supply chains
  • Set out to change the culture so that we each assure ourselves that nothing we do in our work or our personal lives supports modern slavery.
Get in touch
Got a question or want to collaborate?
Contact us

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