Research details

Contemporary slavery in the UK: overview and key issues

Author[s] Craig, Gary; Gaus, Aline; Wilkinson, Mick; Skrivankova, Klara and McQuade, Aidan

Date 2007



To map the extent and nature of slavery, review the evidence on key areas of slavery in the UK, particularly forced labour, debt bondage, sexual slavery, and children trafficking and labour as a contribution to the debate about slavery and the conditions under which it is still possible for it to happen.


The report, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, reviewed published literature, unpublished policy papers provided by service delivery agencies, and websites. Interviews were undertaken with key actors.

Key issues

The report reviews definitions of slavery, available data and difficulties in measuring slavery. Modern slavery in the UK is discussed in relation to the international context of types of slavery, estimates of numbers and agencies involved in working around slavery. The discussion of slavery in the UK addresses places and types of work, forms of control, government responses and provides case studies from around the UK, including Yorkshire and Humber.


The report recommends national action on slavery, victim-centred responses, resources for enforcement, training on how to identify slavery conditions and a public awareness campaign.

Further details

Resource type
Published by
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York

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