Perpetrators of Modern Slavery Offences: Motivations, Networks and Backgrounds

Project Summary

This project seeks to shed light on the complex ecology of modern slavery by studying the life histories of perpetrators of modern slavery offences and the social networks within which they are embedded. It is the first in the UK to study three sources of data about this group: National Referral Mechanism (NRM) outcomes; police crime and intelligence records; and primary research interviews – conducted in this project – with those convicted under modern slavery legislation within the UK.

Using a combination of statistical, psychosocial and social network analyses we will expose the connections, tensions and interdependencies among victims, perpetrators, those involved in allied business activity (whether licit or illicit) and regulatory, law enforcement and border control agents. The research will be able to demonstrate, from official and offender vantage points, how perpetrators organise and carry out their activities. It will thus illuminate the complexity of the personal, social, and economic dynamics that need to be considered if unintended consequences are to be avoided in measures to tackle modern slavery and ways of working with these perpetrators are to be developed.



The aim of this project is to produce a better understanding of the problem of modern slavery


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This project is funded by the Economic & Social Research Council