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New Report examines Modern Slavery Referrals in the UK

Report examines the identification of adults with lived experience of modern slavery in the UK

 Today BIICL publishes the report of its project Identification of adults with lived experience of modern slavery in the UK  which examines the formal procedure for identifying adults with lived experience of modern slavery in the United Kingdom.

The research focuses on three main areas: 1) identification related training provided to First Responder Organisations, 2) qualitative and quantitative data related to the National Referral Mechanism and 3) qualitative and quantitative data related to the Duty to Notify.

In particular, the project undertook a first-of-its kind-analysis of the Duty to Notify data and analysed reasons why adults with lived experience of modern slavery refuse to be referred into the NRM.

The key findings of the report highlight the increase in the number of those refusing to be referred to the NRM and a lack of detail about the reasons for this. The findings raise significant questions over the quality of modern slavery referrals made in the UK.

One of the key issues that emerged from the research was the poor access to training for First Responders - professionals responsible for assessing indicators of modern slavery and referring consenting adults into the NRM and filing a Duty to Notify (DtN) report. 10% of surveyed First Responders stated that they had received no training in relation to their role, and almost a quarter (24%) said they had to undertake training at their own expense.

The research recommends that training be made mandatory for professionals making NRM referrals and DtN reports, while also encouraging First Responder Organisations to consider partnering with other frontline organisations and modern slavery lived experience advisory groups in the design, development, delivery and evaluation of First Responder training programmes. The project also created a pilot framework for monitoring training effectiveness.

Dr Noemi Magugliani,  Research Fellow at BIICL, who led the research, said:

"It is worrying that since 2020, proportionally more people have been refusing a referral into the NRM - and that many do so on the basis of incomplete or incorrect information about the mechanism. Shrinking access to the NRM will result in people with lived experience of modern slavery being pushed further into a condition of vulnerability that may lead to increased exploitation."

Read the Report  

The project  was funded through an open call for proposals by the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC), which in turn is funded and supported by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

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