Leeds Beckett University

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Modern Slavery Survivor Pathways: A Critique of UK Policy, Legislation and Practice

posted on 2022-11-29, 15:15 authored by Anne-Marie GreensladeAnne-Marie Greenslade

This thesis examines the Modern Slavery survivor pathway from intervention to recovery and assesses the support systems available to survivors throughout this process. It also explores links to other traumatic crimes and investigates how the role of “witness” in the criminal justice system impacts survivors’ experiences. The work showcases findings from interviews with frontline practitioners alongside analysis of Government publications and independent reports. 

This research builds on existing literature and draws on a range of sources to develop a broad and detailed picture of the survivor support system in the UK. Against this backdrop, the thesis offers a unique perspective based on the experiences of frontline practitioners within the survivor support system and provides a holistic contribution to the current body of work in this field. 

This thesis posits that the current Modern Slavery legal framework is failing survivors of this horrific crime. The UK Government is falling short of its commitment to protect and support survivors and much of the financial cost of support is subsidised through the voluntary sector’s own fundraising efforts. Combined with a greater Governmental focus on immigration enforcement, many survivors end up homeless or in immigration detention. Poor monitoring and communication practices mean that many survivor outcomes are not known at all. 

The findings emphasise the importance of holistic care pathways with a consistent, benchmark standard of support across all services, including advocacy for each individual. The thesis further argues that the UK Government needs to extend its anti-slavery efforts towards long-term support and understanding of survivor needs, which should include a focus on survivor narratives and input. This would not only improve recovery outcomes but would advance the criminal justice process in this area through witness retention and stronger evidence.


Qualification name

  • PhD


Anna Kawalek; Douglas Morrison

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


Qualification level

  • Doctoral


  • eng

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