Academic Spotlight: Rose Broad on human trafficking and modern slavery

by | Jul 29, 2021 | Academic insight, Criminology and Law, Postgraduate | 0 comments

Rose Broad is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology. In this blog, she shares with us some insights on modern slavery and human trafficking projects.


I returned to education as a mature student and did my master’s at The University of Manchester (UoM) part-time, whilst working for the probation service. I had ten years of practical experience working in the criminal justice sector and I wanted to learn more about the theory and research that runs alongside that. From there, I carried out my doctoral research at UoM and have worked here since 2013.

On Manchester

Having been a student at UoM, I knew that the department is full of dynamic, passionate people who carry out fascinating work in theirRose Broad presenting at a seminar research areas, which both contributes to high-quality academic outputs, policy and practice focused outputs and translates into engaging teaching material. Because I have worked previously in criminal justice, the bridge between research and practice is particularly important to me and this is something that is reflected throughout the department. The Criminology Department is a lovely place to work and study, the people are friendly and supportive and there is always someone willing to listen and help if needed. Manchester is an amazing city in which to work and live – I’m not from Manchester but I have lived here since 2005. Manchester has a spirit like no other city and the connections thrive between the University and the local communities of Greater Manchester, making staff and students part of the wider region.

My Research

When I was studying for my master’s, I had the opportunity to work on a project on the illegal movement of people as a research assistant. I became interested in the exploitative working situations that some migrants end up in when they are negotiating the hostile immigration environment and trying to access employment as well as the people who end up being held responsible for exploitation – the ‘traffickers’ – how do people become involved in these activities? When I started researching human trafficking, it was a relatively ‘new’ area and it has been a very interesting journey, being involved in research as the agenda has grown to incorporate different forms of exploitation and shifted to modern slavery.

I am currently working on three projects, all in the area of human trafficking and modern slavery. I am the principal investigator on anClose up of chains on colourful background ESRC project with Prof David Gadd. This focuses on understanding more about people charged and convicted for human trafficking and modern slavery offences.

We have carried out interviews with 30 people and analysed their stories alongside quantitative analysis of police data on suspects and victims. The stories have revealed a complex and varying set of circumstances that led people to make decisions that resulted in the exploitation of others – we are in the process of writing a book and developing practice and policy-focused outputs for the project.

I have a Fellowship with the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), through which I am working with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK, researching their modern slavery programme. This has involved interviewing parliamentarians and members of civil society from countries including Australia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the UK and has identified opportunities and challenges to getting and keeping human trafficking and modern slavery on the policy agenda. Lastly, I have started a three-year project in 2021 working with Trilateral Research, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Police to collect, share and analyse data across Greater Manchester to develop a clearer picture of human trafficking and modern slavery across GM and to inform campaigns and strategy. Together, these projects overlap to produce knowledge at international, national and local levels that can inform ways of intervening in these activities and help to understand how individuals become exploiters and exploited.

Postgraduate teaching

I deliver teaching on human trafficking and modern slavery in the context of violence and organised crime to PGR students. I am always interested in supervising dissertations if students are interested in topics that link with mine. Over the next three years, the GMCA research project will allow some students to undertake interesting, data-driven dissertations that will link with the project and enable students to interact with GM practitioners to understand the wider context of their dissertation research.