8. Victims perpetrating a crime: a critique of responses to criminal exploitation and modern slavery in the UK
Barlow, C. H. (2022). 8: Victims perpetrating a crime: a critique of responses to criminal exploitation and modern slavery in the UK. In Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, Bristol, UK: Policy Press.
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is a new criminal law encapsulating the British government’s determination to lead the world in combating modern slavery. In this chapter, I initially offer a broad overview of relevant tools in relation to forms of slavery and human trafficking, in order to provide the background that underpins the UK response. In the following sections, I argue that the Act, together with the whole UK strategy against organised crime, is not reaching its ambitions. This is because there is a failure to integrate civil and criminal legal instruments, as well as statutory safeguarding systems and investigative procedures, to address the problem as an output of systematic abuse and organised crime. The predicament of criminally exploited people is that they are victims who are perpetrating a crime. Investigation therefore needs to be conducted cooperatively between law enforcement and social care agencies. I critically evaluate policies and safeguarding responses. I identify how implementation of existing tools can be improved by developing theory-informed and integrated policy and practices. This chapter is rooted in my research using complex systems theory to develop a theoretical model, as well as in my practice experience as a professional investigator and expert witness to the criminal and civil courts.
Improving support for British survivors of modern slavery
READ MORE AT THE MODERN SLAVERY POLICY AND EVIDENCE CENTRE CLICK
Working with colleagues at the Bakhita Centre and Wilberforce Institute on this important scoping study that is examining the experience of British nationals with lived experience of modern slavery in the support and criminal justice systems.
Journal Article: A Review of Modern Slavery in Britain: Understanding the Unique Experience of British Victims and Why it Matters
Heys, A., Barlow, C., Murphy, C. and McKee, A., 2022. A Review of Modern Slavery in Britain: Understanding the Unique Experience of British Victims and Why it Matters. Journal of Victimology and Victim Justice, 5(1), pp.54-70.
This article offers an original contribution to the field of victimization studies by investigating the current context of, and responses to, British nationals who are victims of modern slavery in the UK (BVs). Through the examination of National Referral Mechanism and Duty to Notify statistics, a current picture of specific experiences of BVs in the UK is illustrated with reference to identification and access to support. An exploration of the reasons for non-engagement of BVs with services and the detrimental impact this may have on their recovery highlights pertinent issues of mistrust, stigma and shame. Compounded by the current criminal justice approach towards modern slavery, the effects on the well-being of victims and survivors document the barriers to accessing services. A lack of engagement with the complexity of modern slavery; a lack of knowledge, training and expertise; and a lack of comprehensive guidance result in poor outcomes for BVs. Overall, the findings of this article are important in recognizing that the needs of BVs are currently not adequately met. A comprehensive investigation is required to examine the specific needs and experiences of BVs so that responses can be improved to effectively and appropriately support them into long-term and meaningful recovery.
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