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Introducing the Slave Next Door

Birks, Jen; Gardner, Alison

Authors

Jen Birks

Alison Gardner



Abstract

Past studies have indicated that the British public consider human trafficking to be remote from their personal experiences. However, an increase in local press reporting, alongside the emergence of locally co-ordinated anti-modern slavery campaigns, is starting to encourage communities to recognise the potential for modern slavery and human trafficking to exist in their own localities. In this article, we examine how local media and campaigns may be influencing public perceptions of modern slavery and human trafficking. We draw upon a content analysis of local newspapers to review how reports represent cases of modern slavery, and use focus group discussions to understand how local coverage modifies—and sometimes reinforces—existing views. We find that, whilst our participants were often surprised to learn that cases of modern slavery and human trafficking had been identified in their area, other stereotypical associations remained entrenched, such as a presumed connection between modern slavery and irregular migration. We also noted a reluctance to report potential cases, especially from those most sympathetic to potential victims, linked to concerns about adequacy of support for survivors and negative consequences relating to immigration. These concerns suggest that the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ to migrants may be undermining the effectiveness of ‘spot the signs’ campaigns, by discouraging individuals from reporting.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 26, 2019
Journal Anti-Trafficking review
Print ISSN 2286-7511
Publisher Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2019
Issue 13
Pages 66-81
Institution Citation Birks, J., & Gardner, A. (2019). Introducing the Slave Next Door. Anti-Trafficking Review, 2019(13), 66-81. https://doi.org/10.14197/atr.201219135
DOI https://doi.org/10.14197/atr.201219135
Keywords human trafficking, modern slavery, local, media, campaigns, perceptions
Publisher URL https://www.antitraffickingreview.org/index.php/atrjournal/article/view/407

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