The University of Bedfordshire has been awarded a grant to research why human trafficking occurs and how we can better support those who have been trafficked into the UK.
The research will be conducted in Albania, Nigeria and Vietnam, aiming to improve understanding around the causes of human trafficking and what makes people vulnerable to it, as well as the support needs of people from these countries who have experienced trafficking into the UK.
The project also aims to identify good practice in working with people who have experienced trafficking. It will be carried out over two years in partnership with the UN migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and has been funded by the Modern Slavery Innovation Fund.
Dr Hynes said: “It is exciting to be working on such a compelling project with the IOM. I am looking forward to researching this complex topic and anticipate we will be able to explore some of the rich and nuanced accounts of trafficking that are often invisible in the current environment for people who reach the UK.
“We need to understand the support needs of people better, and having a richer understanding of the reasons why people are trafficked will help us to do this.”
Part of the project will involve applying an IOM’s Determinants of Vulnerability model which looks at individual, family, community, structural and situational causes for vulnerable migrants more broadly.
Jenniffer Dew said: “IOM is excited to be a part of this research project to improve our understanding of the risk factors that can make someone vulnerable to human trafficking, as well as the factors that shape their capacity to avoid or recover from it. We are especially keen to learn about how these factors play out in the target countries, which make up the top three victim referral countries in the UK.”
Initially the research team will be holding shared learning events in Albania, Nigeria and Vietnam to explore what is already known about what makes people vulnerable to human trafficking.
These events will involve presentations from a range of governmental, international and national stakeholders who work closely with people who have experienced forced labour, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation or other forms of exploitation associated with human trafficking.
The University of Bedfordshire is one of 10 organisations to be been awarded funds to tackle modern slavery around the world, which is part of the UK Home Office’s £6m investment into projects to tackle modern slavery around the world and provide vital support for victims.
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