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Modern Slavery PEC strategy

The strategy for the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre 2021-24.

Published: 29th April 2021

Below is a short summary of the Modern Slavery PEC strategy. Download the full document by clicking the blue 'download' button.

Who we are

The Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC) was created by the investment of public funding to enhance understanding of modern slavery and transform the effectiveness of law and policies designed to address it. With high quality research it commissions at its heart, the Centre brings together academics, policymakers, businesses, civil society, survivors and the public on a scale not seen before in the UK to collaborate on solving this global challenge.

The Centre is a consortium of six academic organisations led by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and is funded by the Art and Humanities Research Council on behalf of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Strategic objectives

  • To influence laws, policies and practices on modern slavery,
  • To change the way in which modern slavery research is done, so that it is co-designed and co-produced with those who use it,
  • To promote a human rights-based approach to modern slavery, ensuring that the voice of people with lived experience of modern slavery informs research and policy,
  • To facilitate new collaborations in modern slavery research between those who have not previously worked together,
  • To build and sustain a ‘network of networks’ of producers and users of modern slavery research.

How we do it

To achieve our strategic objectives, we:

  • Collaboratively identify research gaps and develop an agile and dynamic research agenda that meets policy priorities,
  • Co-create, conduct and commission research, including rapid research, to fill research gaps,
  • Translate and synthesise both PEC-funded and wider research to be accessible to those we seek to influence, and support those groups to make the best use of evidence in decision-making,
  • Facilitate two-way communication between researchers and research users and create opportunities for knowledge exchange,
  • Ensure that those with lived experience and survivor representatives inform selection, design, production and uptake of research,
  • Convene events, roundtables and discussions to facilitate new collaborations capable of generating innovative solutions to modern slavery.

We base our research on four areas: survivor support and recovery, prevention, supply chains, and legal enforcement measures.

Our core values

Our core values are the set of fundamental commitments that guide us in the way our organisation works. Our approach is rooted in human rights – protecting the essential rights, freedoms and dignity of people affected by modern slavery is at the heart of its work. We are:

  • Independent
  • Inclusive
  • Transparent
  • Rigorous
  • Collaborative

Equality, diversity and inclusion

The Modern Slavery PEC aims to demonstrate a genuine and ongoing commitment to supporting equality, diversity and inclusion across the work that we do. We will do this by:

  • Involving people with lived experience in our work
  • Diversifying the people undertaking modern slavery research
  • Ensuring our recruitment processes actively address and remove bias
  • Monitoring and evaluating our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

Our guiding principles for research

1. Effectiveness

Research should address evidence gaps relevant to policy and improve understanding of what works.

2. Equity

Research should address structural inequalities, root causes and wider issues of social justice alongside a more equitable approach to allocation of research funding.

3. Survivor involvement

Research should involve people affected by modern slavery at all stages, from selection, through design, production and implementation.

Our research priorities

To determine the PEC research priorities, we held a wide-ranging consultation, co-designed by a working group that included academics, policymakers and other actors from the sector.

We developed four key research areas, with one cross-cutting area:

1. Prevention

Our consultation highlighted strong interest in ‘what works’ to prevent modern slavery, what factors make individuals more at risk (in particular the implications of wider immigration policies), the causes and consequences of modern slavery and challenges around data sharing.

2. Survivor support

The consultation highlighted the need for evidence about effectiveness of support in meeting recovery needs and longer-term outcomes for individuals, and in how to improve access to justice for vulnerable groups.

3. Slavery in supply chains

Our consultation highlighted the need for more research on effectiveness of different regulatory and non-regulatory actions to address supply chains risks and on amplifying worker voice.

4. Effectiveness of legal enforcement measures

Our consultation identified a need for more evidence on the linkages between modern slavery and labour market regulation, particularly as a new Single Enforcement Body (SEB) is being introduced, and evaluating effectiveness of enforcement powers in Modern Slavery Act ten years on.

5. Emerging and cross-cutting areas

We introduced a new research area to enable us to respond to cross-cutting issues, such as impact of Covid-19 and the scale and nature of modern slavery.

Mechanisms for delivering research

1. Modern Slavery PEC open research calls

This mechanism is based on commissioning of research through open calls, led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

2. Partner-led work strands

Our partner-led work strands are utilising the existing expertise within the PEC partners and allowing both agile and longer-term approaches to meet the needs of policymakers.

3. Responsive Research

The Responsive Research mechanism has been created to fund responsive and agile research projects and the research calls will be led by the PEC.

Policy impact

Policy impact is central to the Modern Slavery PEC vision. We aim to build bridges between research and the world of policy making, law making and international standard-setting, so that they can guide one another. Our research and evidence will be:

  • Relevant: our research covers topics and issues that align with policy priorities.
  • Timely: our research and insight are available at the most appropriate points in the policy lifecycle.
  • Trustworthy: our values of independence, transparency and rigour guide all of our research.
  • Accessible: our research is presented in a way that is clear and accessible.

Key decision-makers and audiences

We will regularly engage the following groups we are seeking to influence:

  • Policymakers, who can directly influence policies addressing and preventing modern slavery.
  • Lawmakers, who can influence new laws improving responses to modern slavery and hold the government to account.
  • Businesses, that can improve their practices preventing exploitation in their supply chains.
  • Practitioners, who work in the framework of modern slavery laws and policies.

We will also engage people affected by modern slavery, as well as academics, civil society, the media and the public.

Building narratives

Based on the evidence produced by our research, we will build compelling narratives on modern slavery to transform its understanding amongst our audiences and to help enhance constructive solutions to it. We will use all relevant communication channels available to us to increase the overall impact of our research.

Building collaborations

Collaboration is one of the fundamental values that guide the work of the Modern Slavery PEC. We strive to create relevant connections between partners to build on our collective knowledge and make progress.

This involves bringing together and facilitating relationships between the many different actors in the space to maximise their collective influence, for example PEC-funded researchers, policymakers, legislators, businesses, international organisations, other experts researching modern slavery, NGOs and civil society.