A new collaboration aims to uncover the realities facing UK survivors of exploitation, in the wake of controversial changes to support made under the Nationality and Borders Act. Through first-hand testimony, policy and non-intrusive photography, Amy Romer (photojournalist, National Geographic Explorer and author of The Dark Figure*), Maya Esslemont (of After Exploitation) and six experts by experience in trafficking, slavery and exploitation will develop exclusive reporting on the subject. The team is funded by the Global Reporting Centre, with academic support from University of Bath scholars Professor Andrew Crane and PhD Candidate Emma Barnes-Lewis.
This multidisciplinary collaboration proposes to shed light on new challenges to identification and support, whilst creating space to envisage what a more just future looks like for survivors of modern slavery.
As part of a trauma-informed workshop at Glass Arch Studio, experts by experience will work with the team to share insight, and develop areas of focus for reporting, with all attendees paid the same hourly rate as the wider team for their expertise. Participants will have access to a specialist counselling sessions provided by ANC Therapy and Emmalyn Williams following the workshop, if they feel it would be helpful to debrief after dealing with difficult topics.
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About the Nationality and Borders Act
In May 2022, the Nationality and Borders Act was passed by U.K. parliament. The law, which contains provisions on nationality, asylum, immigration and victims of modern slavery, subjects survivors of modern slavery to a stricter determination process and increased risk of incarceration in immigration detention, whilst narrowing pathways to support.
Among the provisions, is a mechanism branded by the charity sector as a “trauma deadline”, which increases the risk of support rejection if survivors do not provide evidence in their case quickly enough. Survivors are also subjected to criminal background checks during decision making, with many at risk of losing support if they have received a sentence of twelve months or more, despite nearly half of trafficking victims being forced to undertake criminalised activity as a direct result of their trafficking.
About Amy Romer
Amy Romer is a British visual journalist. Her stories interrogate human rights and environmental issues, particularly where there is an intersection. Her writing and photography has been published widely, in outlets including The Guardian, Globe and Mail, Reuters, Les Echo Week-End and The Walrus.
Romer is a National Geographic Explorer, and is currently documenting the criminalization of Indigenous fishers, and the impacts of wild salmon decline on the Pacific northwest coast of North America.
In the U.K., she is best known for her photo series The Dark Figure*, which documented neighbourhoods affected by modern day slavery. The Dark Figure* was published as a photobook by Another Place Press, and has been exhibited nationally, including at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. Romer has given multiple talks on modern slavery and ethics in photography, including at the International Slavery Museum and universities globally.
About Maya Esslemont
Maya Esslemont is an advocate and researcher in the field of human rights, investigating injustice against survivors of exploitation through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests as part of the non-profit group After Exploitation. Through investigative work, they have secured data on the immigration detention of potential victims, wide scale failure to refer survivors for support, and erroneous decision making within the trafficking determination process. They write in a freelance capacity on policy, data transparency, and modern slavery, with bylines in Thomson Reuters, The Independent, and HuffPost UK.
About Professor Andrew Crane
Andrew Crane is Professor of Business and Society and Director of the Centre for Business, Organisations and Society in the School of Management at the University of Bath, UK. He is also an International Affiliate Faculty at Audencia Business School in France, and has been a visiting professor at Bocconi University, Copenhagen Business School, Royal Holloway University of London, among others. He is a leading author, researcher, educator and commentator on corporate responsibility. His books include an award-winning textbook on Business Ethics, the Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility, and Social Partnerships and Responsible Business.
He is particularly known for his work on the changing role of the corporation in the global economy, where he has been influential in developing a new view of corporate citizenship that addresses the political roles and responsibilities of business. He has also focused on how ideas of ethics, freedom, and responsibility are communicated and practiced by corporations, consumers and other stakeholders. His recent work has focused on understanding the business of modern slavery and helping public, private and civil organizations develop evidence-based solutions to the problem. His work has been published in some of the world’s leading academic journals, been a frequent contributor to the media, including the Financial Times, New York Times, Globe and Mail, Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian, and launched the Bath Business and Society blog.
About Emma Barnes-Lewis
Emma Barnes-Lewis is a second-year PhD Candidate at the Centre for Business, Organisations and Society, School of Management at the University of Bath. Her research focuses on modern slavery through re-examining the role of consumption in escaping or enabling exploitation. The inquiry seeks to survey two key domains. First, by exploring what agency victims may have had while participating in consumption practices alongside suffering exploitation. Then, by analyzing how this may have affected freedoms through data collected from survivors with lived experience and the practitioners who provide support in helping rebuild their lives.
Emma holds an MSC in Global Governance and a BA in Public Services. Formerly she has worked as a change agent across private, public and NGO organizations.
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