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Study of forced labour and human trafficking announced

06 Jul 2010

A researcher at the University of Manchester is to investigate the links between the global problem of forced labour and the contemporary UK economy, in a three-year project starting in October.

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, Professor Nicola Phillips will examine the 'big picture' of human trafficking for labour exploitation, focussing on the situation in the UK economy and the global networks of production and trade in which it is embedded.

Professor Phillips, based in University's School of Social Sciences and Co-director the Political Economy Institute, said: "Human trafficking and forced labour are seen by many as global problems which affect only poor countries.

"But this is not the case: these problems are important in the UK and in other countries too.

"However, our basic understanding of this issue remains very limited despite much attention from global and national policy makers.

"The research will thoroughly re-examine the big picture and ask how these kinds of labour exploitation emerge and why they are so resilient."

She added: "The key concerns of this research are the geographies and practices of production in different sectors.

"If we are to understand the problem as it relates to the UK economy, then we need to examine how and why these practices manifest themselves within our national borders but also within the global production networks within which the UK economy is rooted.

"The research will also highlight the issues of poverty and inequality that are so relevant to trafficked and forced labour, as well as the role of government immigration and labour market policies."

Notes for editors

For media interviews contact:

Mike Addelman
Media Relations
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881567