|Position||PhD Candidate; Vice Chair of the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership|
|Institution||Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull|
|Affiliations||Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation; Humber Modern Slavery Partnership|
Alicia is a third year PhD candidate at the Wilberforce Institute. She is funded by a scholarship from the University of Hull to explore the relationship between conflict and contemporary slavery.
Alicia has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology and Master’s degree in Human Rights and Political Science – both from the University of Manchester. She has worked with various human rights agencies across the world. This included working in the relief efforts with Peaceboat in Japan; working in a women’s refuge and with a gay rights charity in northern Thailand; undertaking research for Means of Exchange – an initiative using emerging technologies to support self-sufficiency at a local level; and interning with the British Council in New Delhi. After graduating from her Master’s, Alicia began to work for an international NGO, working to identify situations of slavery and support victims. She focused on developing community networks to help identify, combat and prevent contemporary slavery. This work identified how little focus was placed on the root causes of slavery, which led Alicia to The Wilberforce Institute as a PhD candidate. Since becoming part of The Wilberforce Institute, Alicia has extended her participation in anti-slavery networks, having also joined the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership as the Vice Chair. In 2018, Alicia was the recipient of a High Sheriff’s award in recognition of ‘tireless work and dedication in supporting vulnerable members of the community’ and was named as one of the UK’s top 100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers.
Alicia’s PhD studies focus on understanding the link between conflict and contemporary slavery. Her intention is to generate usable data to make policy recommendations and assist in the implementation of prevention programmes.
Alongside her PhD research and work for the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, Alicia has led and taught on various innovative modules including Social Policy, Murder, Analysing Social Data and Learning Together – an initiative looking at desistance from crime with third year students and prison inmates.
Conflict and Contemporary Slavery
Alicia’s doctoral research focuses on understanding how conflict may lead to situations of contemporary slavery. Using understandings of conflict that can impact an individual – including marital, political and familial conflict – as well as large scale violent conflict, she undertook empirical, qualitative research via interviews. Respondents were those who had fled conflict zones and those who had experienced contemporary slavery as well as agency workers supporting people from those categories. By analysing these interviews, Alicia was able to identify identity intersections and situations that may lead one person to becoming more vulnerable to instances of contemporary slavery than others. This understanding linked predominantly to the UK’s asylum system and the huge discrepancy between government goals of ‘leading the way in tackling modern slavery’ whilst simultaneously creating a hostile environment for illegal immigrants.
Humber Modern Slavery Partnership
In addition to her doctoral research, Alicia is the Vice Chair of the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, a strategic network of frontline agencies covering the four local authority areas of the region. As part of this partnership she has developed and delivered training packages to staff including the police, fire service, GPs, midwives, nurses, psychologists and the Job Centre. She has also created a package for local businesses which are required to publish annual modern slavery statements, defining what is legally required of them and advising them how to go about writing their statements. In addition, Alicia has also worked with front line agencies to help them write internal policies on ‘modern slavery’.
Transparency in Supply Chains
Alicia has overseen a research project on the Transparency in Supply Chains clause of the Modern Slavery Act. The research involved identifying all the businesses registered in the Humberside region with an annual turnover of £36 million or more who are required to submit a modern slavery statement. The project then assessed rates of compliance with the legislation and analysed the content of the statements.
A Kidd and R Nelson, ‘Approaching contemporary slavery through an historic lens: an interdisciplinary perspective’  Journal of Modern Slavery (forthcoming).