New modern slavery partnership with University of Hull

published on 26 Mar 2024

On the anniversary of the Modern Slavery Act (2015) becoming law the University of Hull and The Salvation Army have announced a new partnership. With a shared goal to improve immediate and long-term support for survivors of modern slavery, they will work together to prevent re-trafficking and to help survivors reintegrate and move forward with their lives.

Salvation Army Mug

The announcement comes at a time of great change for survivors of modern slavery. Recent legislation, such as the Nationality and Borders Act and Illegal Migration Act, have swiftly changed the landscape in the UK’s response to modern slavery and the House of Lords is currently reviewing the effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act (2015).

The review of the Act, which focuses on the role of the independent anti-slavery commissioner, impact of recent legislation and transparency in supply chains, is welcomed by both the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation and the church and charity. Both organisations are calling for:

  • Increased duties to be placed on businesses to consider the entirety of their supply chains.
  • Significant improvements to the resourcing of the office of the anti-slavery commissioner and its powers to scrutinise and hold the government and its agencies to account.
  • Improved systems of identification and support are also urgently needed and both organisations will share evidence to build and improve experiences of survivors in the National Referral Mechanism, the Government’s system for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support.


The Wilberforce institute is delighted to be working with The Salvation Army – a leading organisation in British and international efforts to mitigate the scourge of modern slavery."
Professor Trevor Burnard, Director of the Wilberforce Institute

He continues "The Modern Slavery Act provides organisations such as The Salvation Army and the Wilberforce Institute with the inspiration and tools to do serious and impactful work into modern slavery.”

The partnership will develop:

  • A proactive and energetic practice research partnership.
  • A shared PhD research project that examines the reintegration of people who have experienced modern slavery and human trafficking back into communities.
  • Empowerment of victim-survivor voices in the delivery of practice and policy influence.
  • Improvements to the understanding of the survivor journey domestically and internationally. 
  • Sustainable victim-survivor research. 
  • Improvements to the immediate and long-term support for victim-survivors of modern slavery. 
  • Co-production of quality learning and knowledge exchange events that support and empower practitioners and law makers.
Major Kathy Betteridge
We are privileged to be able to help survivors of modern slavery who have been referred to us for specialist support as they rebuild lives after exploitation."
Major Kathy Betteridge, Director of Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army

Kathy goes onto say "in 2015 The Modern Slavery Act was a ground-breaking piece of legislation that marked the UK as a world leader in the response to modern slavery, but only as a first step.  More recent legislation has had the opposite effect and placed the protections that survivors of modern slavery need and deserve at risk. It is vital that the Modern Slavery Act is built on and the rights of survivors are advanced.

Partnerships such as ours with the Wilberforce Institute are even more critical nearly ten years on as it is only by working together that we can have a significant and lasting impact on this evil trade. We are delighted that this partnership will help us make the voice of survivors central to debates about how best to tackle modern slavery and improve outcomes for those people who have already been tricked trapped and traded.”

A New Partnership

The first milestone in the new partnership is an annual learning event: a spring forum ‘From Slavery to Freedom' which will be held on 1-2 May 2024 at The Regent Hall, Salvation Army Church on London's Oxford Street.

Eleanor Lyons, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, will speak at this two-day forum which offers a unique shared opportunity to bring together specialist training, good practice guidance and input from researchers, practitioners, and survivors with lived experience. It aims to enable an exchange of ideas and experiences that will improve responses and inform policy. Full details about the forum, including how to book can be found on Eventbrite

A Salvation Army volunteer/staff member talking with Max on a grey sofa inside a Salvation Army building.

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