The Impact of COVID-19 on Modern Slavery in the UK

The Impact of COVID-19 on Modern Slavery in the UK

Oct 28, 2020
02:00 pm to 03:15 pm
  • Online

The COVID-19 crisis is posing new and increasing challenges to the ability to identify potential cases of modern slavery and support survivors across the UK. To mark this year’s Anti-Slavery Day, IOM UK will host an online panel discussion to explore the impact of COVID-19 on modern slavery in the UK and how the lessons learned during this time can shape future responses.

The panel will discuss the trends in identification and NRM referrals of potential victims of modern slavery since the start of the pandemic, and the dynamics of exploitation forms and vulnerabilities, as well as the challenges of providing support to victims and how these can be overcome. In addition, the panel will discuss the ways in which criminal justice proceedings have adapted to the COVID-19 context in relation to modern slavery crimes.

Detailed programme and list of speakers will be confirmed shortly.

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Alex Balch, Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool and Acting Director of Research at the Policy and Evidence Centre on Modern Slavery and Human Rights



Patrick Burland, Senior Project Officer at IOM UK.

He will discuss the increase in the number of potential victims of criminal exploitation being referred to the UK NRM and present case studies of potential victims of criminal exploitation since the introduction of the UK wide C-19 lockdown in the UK.


Rebecca Helme, Team Manager at Hestia’s Modern Slavery Response Team

She will speak about challenges faced by service users during the C-19 pandemic and adaptations made to support delivery, considering trends and negative impact. Rebecca will reflect on some of the positive changes including client and staff wellbeing and forecast future challenges and Hestia’s continuing commitment to robust support delivery.


Tatiana Gren-Jardan, Head of Modern Slavery Unit at Justice and Care

She will discuss the findings and recommendations of the recently published report It Still Happens Here which focuses on the UK’s response to slavery five years after the MSA including the C-19 impact.


Pam Bowen, Senior Policy Advisor at the Crown Prosecution Service

She will discuss:

  • The impact of C-19 on modern slavery crimes and victims
  • The impact of C-19 on criminal justice
  • The impact of C-19 on investigation and prosecution including international investigations and cooperation
  • The impact of C-19 on access to justice for victims of human trafficking