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Modern Slavery Core Outcome Set

Research project identifying core outcomes central to recovery and wellbeing of survivors of modern slavery.

Published: 8th February 2023

This is a summary of the research identifying the Modern Slavery Core Outcome Set MS COS), a project funded by the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC), which in turn is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. The research was conducted by Sharli Paphitis, Sohail Jannesari, Olivia Triantafillou, Sian Oram (Kings College London), Rachel Witkin, Queenie Sit (Helen Bamber Foundation), Bee Damara, Jeanet Joseph, Minh Dang, Cornelius Katona (Survivor Alliance), Emma Howarth (University of East London), Nicola Wright (University of Nottingham). People with lived experience of modern slavery were centrally involved in the project as active participants and researchers.

Key findings

1. This consensus-driven participatory research project identified a set of seven core outcomes that should, as a minimum standard, be reported on in interventions for adult survivor recovery, healing, well-being and reintegration. This core outcome set provides a framework for research, policy and service design, development and evaluation. The outcomes are:

  • Secure and suitable housing
  • Safety from any trafficker or other abuser
  • Long-term, consistent support
  • Compassionate, trauma informed services
  • Finding purpose in life and self-actualisation
  • Access to medical treatment
  • Access to education.

2. Outcomes for people with lived experience of modern slavery must be considered in a way that is multi-level and holistic, encompassing outcomes across a variety of areas that have traditionally been viewed as separate in interventions.

3. Meaningful involvement of people with lived experience of modern slavery in the project led to a better-quality core outcome set and research process. Specific considerations need to be given to ensure that survivors engaging in the research process can do so through partnerships grounded in safety and a trauma-informed approach.


For the UK Government, service providers and researchers

1. The Modern Slavery Core Outcome Set should be referred to as the minimum standard set of outcomes to be used in research, service and intervention design, evaluation and development, and policymaking

2. Researchers, policymakers and service providers should use the MSCOS to think about interventions holistically. This means considering all MSCOS outcomes in intervention development and evaluation. If an intervention for survivors doesn’t cover all the MSCOS outcomes, policymakers, researchers and service providers should either consider amending it or partnering with services or interventions that do. This will necessitate cross-departmental working in government and collaborations across NGOs.

3. Researchers and service providers should use the MSCOS to think about interventions on many different levels, including the individual, organisational, governmental and societal levels. Service providers, researchers and policymakers should consider the importance of structural factors in intervention evaluations.

4. Survivors need to be provided with secure and appropriate safe accommodation to support their recovery, wellbeing and reintegration. Government providers should consider supporting the creation of survivor-managed safe houses.

5. Professionals working with survivors should understand the key principles of relational ethics (mutual respect, engagement, embodied knowledge, environment and uncertainty) and use these to help build more meaningful, trusting relationships.

Read the Research Summary, full report and the toolkit below. You can also find more information on the MS COS website at www.mscos.co.uk.

Join the Community of Practice

The project has established a Community of Practice that will maintain momentum from the project workshops to make sure that the outcome set is embedded in practice. It is comprised of survivor leaders, service providers and a wide range of other key stakeholders to ensure the continuation and further development of the MSCOS. It will utilise the MSCOS practice model, together with relevant, existing service models and frameworks to facilitate online discussion forums, podcasts and workshops. These will help to consolidate a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach to forming consensus on the development of measurable standards for the core outcome set. More information can be found on the MSCOS website a www.mscos.co.uk.