Theresa May puts Yorkshire university at heart of new £10m centre to combat modern slavery

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May
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Prime Minister Theresa May has today put the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute at the heart of a major new £10m centre that aims to combat the “scourge” of modern slavery in the UK.

The Wilberforce Institute is one of the partners behind the new Policy and Evidence Centre on Modern Slavery and Human Rights, the first of its kind in the world.

The Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation in High Street, Hull

The Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation in High Street, Hull

Modern slavery has been described by the Prime Minister as “the great human rights issue of our time” and the world’s governments have agreed to work towards its elimination by 2030.

The centre will bring together academics, policy-makers, businesses and charities to drive forward new studies, share knowledge, and improve collaboration to tackle modern slavery.

It will be independent from the Government and challenge it where necessary.

Professor John Oldfield, Director of the Wilberforce Institute, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the Wilberforce Institute to work collaboratively with others to develop a dynamic and agile research agenda on modern slavery that will inform the priorities of a range of key stakeholders, including business, policymakers and international organisations.

“The new centre will put the Wilberforce Institute and the University of Hull at the forefront of UK efforts to devise effective legal and policy responses to the scourge of modern slavery.”

The other partners in the consortium, led by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, are the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham, the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool, the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at the University of Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, in London.

Prime Minister Theresa May, said: “More than a 100 years ago the world condemned slavery to the history books, but the stark reality for around 40 million men, women and children is that they are still trapped in modern slavery.

“As both Home Secretary and Prime Minister I have endeavoured to shine a light on this hidden crime, to speak out for victims and put modern slavery firmly on the domestic and international agenda.

“There is much we can be proud of in our progress so far, but we need to accelerate our efforts, better share knowledge and build on our expertise.

“That is why we commissioned an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act to ensure our laws are keeping pace with the rapidly evolving nature of these crimes, and why I am pleased to support new, innovative research to inform global efforts to end this barbaric crime by 2030.”