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Top 20 source non-UK countries for modern slavery in the UK (UK focused)

Research Summary for UK-focused actors

Published: 14th April 2021

This is a Research Summary of the report The top 20 source non-UK countries for modern slavery in the UK, focused on actors in the UK, with a separate Research Summary looking at the implications of the research for internationally-focused actors.

The report was funded by the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC) and developed by a collaboration of researchers from the Right Lab at the University of Nottingham and the Wilberforce Institute at the University of Hull. You can find the full report at the Rights Lab website.

Although potential victims from a significant proportion of the world’s countries have been referred into the UK’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) since its inception, a small group of countries have consistently represented the majority of cases. From 2013-2019, the top twenty non-UK source countries have represented almost 70% of all referrals into the NRM. Understanding the specific experiences and dynamics of modern slavery for these national groups is therefore valuable in enriching UK programming and decision making to protect victims, pursue accountability, and prevent future exploitation.

The research explored the different journeys and experiences of potential victims of modern slavery from the top twenty non-UK countries of origin referred into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the UK’s framework for referring and identifying potential victims of modern slavery and providing support. This was combined with consideration of decision making in the NRM and in UK asylum processes.

Key findings:

  • The profile of potential victims of modern slavery varies substantially between the 20 countries assessed.
  • Potential victims of modern slavery from different nationalities experienced diverging NRM and asylum decision outcomes.
  • The dynamics of modern slavery and transnational trafficking from the different source countries should be fully accounted for in the UK’s NRM, immigration, and asylum decision making.

Authors: Katarina Schwarz, Ana Valverde Cano, Alexandra Williams-Woods, Daniel Ogunniyi.