Tackling modern day slavery through new alliances

MP Karen Bradley, UK Home Office Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, speaking in the House of Commons “I am grateful for the vital work being carried out by the University of Derby and the GLA, to help consign slavery to the history books” Karen Bradley MP, UK Home Office Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime

Training UK employers to identify human exploitation

Our experience

Our academic team has been working to develop responses to modern slavery, dealing with local issues in a global context. The team has supported the first national workshop on tackling human trafficking, and contributed to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

We have also been working with the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA; part of the UK Home Office) for several years, helping them to upskill their workforce in readiness for the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

About the GLA

The GLA’s remit is to protect vulnerable and exploited workers, by regulating businesses that provide employees to the following industries:

  • horticultural
  • agricultural
  • shellfish gathering, or
  • any associated processing and packaging industry.

People working in these sectors – as for example, crop pickers, factory fruit packers, or meat processing plant workers – can be vulnerable to wage exploitation by unscrupulous employers, in ways amounting to modern slavery.

The new international anti-slavery academy

Working with the GLA, we have set up an international anti-slavery academy. The aim of this is to help supply chains learn how to police their own suppliers and ensure that products and services are not delivered as a result of human slavery or trafficked humans.

In our latest strand of work, we are planning, delivering and accrediting training, which will help employers in these and other sectors, carry out the new statutory duties required of them by the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The GLA, in partnership with the Institute, will offer a range of courses to key employers such as supermarkets and recruitment agencies. These will include training for different levels of employee:

  • front line managers will learn to identify the signs of exploitation
  • human resource managers, contract managers and others will be taught how to better manage and audit their supply chains.

This work has been welcomed by Karen Bradley MP, the UK Home Office Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime.

Partnership with the University of Pasundan, Indonesia

The work on modern slavery has an international scope, evidenced by our recent partnership with the University of Pasundan in Indonesia.

During April 2015, eight members of the University of Pasundan visited Derby to sign a memorandum of understanding: a statement of intent that both universities would work to broaden their relationship and investigate future collaborations.

PhD research

Initially, two academics from the International Policing and Justice Institute – Professor Kevin Bampton and Dr David Walsh – will be supervising a Pasundan academic, Roedy Wiranatakusumah, for his PhD about human trafficking to and from Indonesia, particularly in the shipping industry.

This is a major issue for the country and has tragic human consequences. The aim of the PhD research is to examine whether current legislation is adequate, and make recommendations that will help tackle the problem.

A promising partnership

In addition, our two universities are exploring ideas for future research projects, staff exchange opportunities and guest lecture programmes. 

Mr Roedy Wiranatakusumah, International Partnership Manager at the University of Pasundan, expressed his excitement at this new partnership: 

“The agreement between our two universities will be highly beneficial to our long-term mission and will enable us to advance our knowledge and better educate our students by observing and learning British education systems. In return, we wish to show the University of Derby the value of local wisdom.”

He continued: “Our delegation was so pleased to meet a world-class university like the University of Derby. We received plenty of information and opportunities during the presentation that enriched our knowledge; it was an overwhelming experience.”

“The University of Pasundan has marked itself as a distinctive Indonesian voice in international education. The desire to focus on a partnership that starts with countering the trade in labour exploitation, reflects how progressive our Indonesian partners are, as well as the growing profile of the University of Derby, which has become a centre of excellence in this area of study.”

Professor Kevin Bampton, Director of the Institute

The UK client:

“The GLA Academy will utilise the skills and experience of the Authority, along with the expertise and knowledge available within the University’s criminology and business schools." 

Paul Broadbent, Chief Executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA)

Project lead:

“Food and agriculture are seen as sectors where employees may be more vulnerable to exploitation. Buyers, who visit their supermarket’s suppliers and see working conditions first hand, are in a good position to blow the whistle if they witness what they believe to be illegal activity. Our new academy sessions, run jointly with the GLA, will give them the confidence to assess a situation and know how to act.”

Dr David Walsh, the Institute's Lead for Research

The international client:

The agreement between our two universities will be highly beneficial to our long-term mission and will enable us to advance our knowledge and better educate our students by observing and learning British education systems. In return, we wish to show the University of Derby the value of local wisdom.” 

Mr Roedy Wiranatakusumah, International Partnership Manager at the University of Pasundan, Indonesia