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CLOSED: Funding call - prevention of modern slavery

Call for applications for research addressing elements of prevention of modern slavery, including identification of child trafficking, cultural competency, homelessness and poverty.

Published: 28th February 2023

The Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC) has issued a funding call for research into elements of prevention of modern slavery.


Prevention of modern slavery is complex, and relatively underdeveloped aspect of the response to modern slavery, with limited evidence of what effective prevention means in principle and practice. As such, prevention of modern slavery is a research priority within the Modern Slavery PEC, and is a key element of the UK’s strategic approach to addressing modern slavery.

Research funded by the Modern Slavery PEC, which reviewed existing evidence highlighted the need to consider prevention more broadly, including interventions before harms occur and the need to work with relevant partners to ensure solutions are equitable, built on trust, culturally competent and developed “with” as opposed to “for” individuals . As such, this call seeks to develop new evidence to inform recommendations on what works in specific areas of prevention, with a focus on partnerships and inclusion of people with lived experience of modern slavery throughout.

Through this research portfolio, the Modern Slavery PEC aims to fund research to fill four key evidence gaps within modern slavery prevention. The research projects will include:

  • Homelessness: to generate evidence on the linkages between modern slavery and homelessness, and examine specific datasets on homelessness to produce insights for policy makers.
  • Poverty and cost of living: To generate evidence on the relationship between poverty and modern slavery in the UK, and the laws and policies that can be designed/redesigned to better safeguard against modern slavery during periods of a rising cost of living.
  • Cultural competency: To improve understanding of the value of cultural understanding and practice in improving equity and effectiveness in legal enforcement, support services and identification of people affected by modern slavery.
  • Prevention and identification of child trafficking: To improve understanding of how children are identified as victims of modern slavery and what is effective in the UK to support the early identification of children at risk of modern slavery; prevention of the re-exploitation of children; and prevention of children going missing from care.

Existing evidence in the four areas above has demonstrated linkages with modern slavery. With this call we would like to build the evidence base around what works in prevention in these spaces. Considering the importance of collaboration in prevention, and the role of different actors, projects should include partnership with third sector organisations within the sector, affected communities and experts with lived experience of modern slavery.

Research projects funded under this call should be conducted using a pre-existing and established analytical framework with which to understand and operationalise modern slavery, including e.g. indicators and/or risk factors. Applications may wish to narrow their scope by geographical area, risk factor, protected characteristics or other variables within each area of interest. A diversity of approaches to narrowing of scope is welcomed but must be fully justified within applications.

In accordance with the Modern Slavery PEC’s strategic objective of facilitating collaboration, successful teams will work cooperatively alongside the Modern Slavery PEC for the duration of the project to maximise the impact of your work and to ensure alignment with our objectives.

About this call

The aim of this call is to generate new evidence on how policies and practice can improve the prevention of modern slavery with regards to: homelessness, poverty and cost of living, cultural competency and prevention and identification of child trafficking.

Projects must generate evidence to inform UK based laws and policies and will be selected on a portfolio basis to ensure that this research covers a wide and varied range of themes.

Objectives and methods

Each of the four areas set out above identifies specific objectives and methods, set out in the call document.

Research methods and tools will be designed in collaboration with the Modern Slavery PEC and the successful applicants as part of our project set up phase.

Type of funding

This call is part of the Modern Slavery PEC Responsive Research mechanism that has been created to fund responsive and agile research projects. It is led directly by the Modern Slavery PEC, but is funded and actively supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Working with the Modern Slavery PEC

In accordance with the Modern Slavery PEC’s strategic objective of facilitating collaboration, successful teams will work in collaboration with the Modern Slavery PEC throughout the project to ensure alignment with our objectives and to maximise impact. This will include developing the research methodology and developing outputs such as the full report and summary briefing, as well as their dissemination.

Budget and eligibility

The Modern Slavery PEC has allocated a maximum budget of £100,000 at 100% full economic cost (FEC) for this project. We expect to fund up to six projects for this work. Projects may be led by either a UK higher education institution, an approved research organisation eligible to receive UKRI funding or a charity registered in the UK. Project teams must include at least one academic or research organisation and one UK based third sector organisation.

  • Charities registered in the UK may apply for up to 50% of the project’s budget, they will be funded at 100% FEC (for every £1 spent, they receive £1 of funding, so the Modern Slavery PEC covers 100% of the full economic cost of the project)
  • The combined UK registered charity and international costs can account for a maximum of 50% of the total budget of the project

For full budget details, see the call document.

How to apply

You can find the full details and specification of the call in the call document below, as well as the project costing template, examples of funding scenarios and a sample contract.

The applications to this call must be made through our online form.

All applications will be reviewed by an assessment panel convened by the Modern Slavery PEC that will include external independent reviewers. Funding decisions will be made on a portfolio basis.

The deadline for applications is 4pm (UK time) 6 April 2023.

The decision on the award of the funding will be made by the end of April 2023, with the project due to start in June 2023 and finish by December 2023.

Call webinar and FAQ

The Modern Slavery PEC held two webinars to discuss this funding call where we covered the aims and objective of each project, you can find these below.

The discussion of each stream of funding starts at the following times:

  • Identification of children, video 1, timestamp 6.22
  • Cultural competency, video 1, timestamp 11.48
  • Homelessness, video 2, timestamp 6.22
  • Poverty and cost of living, video 2, timestamp 11.29

We have complied an FAQ of questions asked in both the webinars and by email. You can read this below.