Modern slavery

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  • 1 Open University, , UK
  • | 2 Cardiff University, , UK
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Three contributions to this issue of the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice form a themed section focused on modern slavery from the perspective of the United Kingdom. The contributions for this themed section were commissioned well over a year ago but its publication is timely. With the mass displacement of Ukrainian citizens seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine, charities and organisations working in this area have warned of the risks of exploitation and abuse, especially in the UK’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ sponsorship scheme.1 It is therefore a particularly useful moment to examine the workings of the current protections against modern slavery and the provisions for help and support for survivors.

Modern slavery is a wide-ranging umbrella term, often contested. In the UK, under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the definition covers human trafficking, sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude and forced criminal activity. In the first article, ‘Protection and support for survivors of modern slavery in the UK: assessing current provision and what we need to change’, Alexandra Williams-Woods and Katarina Schwarz (2022) take a critical perspective on the Act’s implementation in the five years since its passage (pp 98–119). The second article, ‘The making of irregular migration: post-Brexit immigration policy and risk of labour exploitation’, takes a different starting point. Here, Meri Åhlberg and Lucila Granada (2022) examine how states create the conditions under which labour exploitation can occur. In particular, they focus on how the UK’s exit from the European Union may result in an environment conducive to labour exploitation (pp 120–140). Finally, as a Policy and Practice paper, April McCoig, Ines Campos-Matos and Liz Such (2022) look at a new approach to modern slavery that is emerging, using a public health, as opposed to criminal law, perspective (‘Exploring a public health approach to modern slavery: potential, problems and translating principles into practice’, pp 141–150).

Outside of this themed section, you will find two articles examining failures in welfare systems. In the first, ‘Universal Credit and the invalidation of mental health problems: claimant and Jobcentre Plus staff experiences’, Sharon Wright, Laura Robertson and Alasdair B. R. Stewart (2022) report the findings of a qualitative study on the working of Universal Credit in relation to people with mental health problems. Examining the increasingly punitive approach to benefits for disabled people taken in Britain since 2010, they conclude that, judging Universal Credit by what it does rather than what it promises, ‘its primary purpose is to disqualify those with common mental health problems from state support’. In the second article, ‘Stigma and emergency and community food assistance: “But… beggars can’t be choosers”’, Fiona McKay (2022) adds to our growing knowledge of food insecurity in a study of the experiences of people who use emergency and community food assistance in Australia.

Joanna Mack and Marco Pomati, April 2022

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

References

  • Åhlberg, M. and Granada, L. (2022) The making of irregular migration: post-brexit immigration policy and risk of labour exploitation, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 120140, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16492615015710.

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  • McCoig, A., Campos-Matos, I. and Such, L. (2022) Exploring a public health approach to modern slavery: potential, problems and translating principles into practice, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 141150, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16449406109455.

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  • McKay, F., McKenzie, H. and Lindberg, R. (2022) Stigma and emergency and community food assistance: ‘But… beggars can’t be choosers’, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 171191, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16461506229420.

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  • Schwarz, K. and Williams-Woods, A. (2022) Protection and support for survivors of modern slavery in the UK: assessing current provision and what we need to change, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 98119, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16418164636200.

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  • Wright, S., Robertson, L. and Stewart, A. (2022) Universal Credit and the invalidation of mental health problems: claimant and Jobcentre Plus staff experiences, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 151170, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16437383460256.

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  • Åhlberg, M. and Granada, L. (2022) The making of irregular migration: post-brexit immigration policy and risk of labour exploitation, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 120140, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16492615015710.

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    • Export Citation
  • McCoig, A., Campos-Matos, I. and Such, L. (2022) Exploring a public health approach to modern slavery: potential, problems and translating principles into practice, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 141150, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16449406109455.

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    • Export Citation
  • McKay, F., McKenzie, H. and Lindberg, R. (2022) Stigma and emergency and community food assistance: ‘But… beggars can’t be choosers’, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 171191, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16461506229420.

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    • Export Citation
  • Schwarz, K. and Williams-Woods, A. (2022) Protection and support for survivors of modern slavery in the UK: assessing current provision and what we need to change, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 98119, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16418164636200.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wright, S., Robertson, L. and Stewart, A. (2022) Universal Credit and the invalidation of mental health problems: claimant and Jobcentre Plus staff experiences, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 30(2): 151170, doi: 10.1332/175982721X16437383460256.

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    • Export Citation
  • 1 Open University, , UK
  • | 2 Cardiff University, , UK

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