Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre moves to Oxford University after receiving continuation funding

The Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC, or the Centre) has moved to Oxford University after being awarded extension funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The Modern Slavery PEC was created in 2019 by the investment of public funding to enhance understanding of modern slavery and transform the effectiveness of laws and policies designed to address it.

The Centre has built a reputation of funding and producing high quality research, evidence and analysis laser-focused on policy impact. Having funded over 50 research projects, the PEC has built a wealth of evidence with a strong record of influencing policy and practice. 

The Centre has also been successful in bringing together actors working to address modern slavery from various fields to facilitate new collaborations capable of generating innovative solutions to modern slavery. This work has been underpinned by strategic efforts to include people with lived experience at the heart of the Centre’s work, including appointing lived experience roles and a Lived Experience Advisory Panel to embed lived experience in its day-to-day work.

The continuation funding enables the PEC to build upon its work, support its move to a new host at Oxford University in April 2024, and transition to long-term sustainability beyond AHRC funding.

The Centre will be part of the Humanities Division at Oxford, as part of the University’s vision for the new Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities which is currently being built and will open in 2025.  It will continue to work closely with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, in keeping with its interdisciplinary nature. 

The Universities of Liverpool and Hull will also continue as core partners in the ongoing collaboration since the start of the Centre.

Murray Hunt, Director of the Modern Slavery PEC, said:

“Since 2020 the PEC has established itself as a recognised UK centre of excellence for research and evidence to inform UK policy on modern slavery.  We have ambitious plans to grow and develop over the next few years to become a permanent feature in the human rights research and policy landscape both in the UK and globally.  We are delighted that Oxford shares this vision for the development of a pioneering policy-influencing centre, providing a respected voice in politically contested areas of policy, and look forward to working closely with them over the coming years to achieve it. I look forward to announcing more soon about our exciting plans.”

Professor Daniel Grimley, Head of the Humanities Division at Oxford, said:

“Hosting the highly respected and impactful Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre is transformational for Oxford. We are committed to ensuring continuity of the Centre’s achievements and its future development, through a network of globally connected partners. Hosting the Centre sits at the heart of our vision for the Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities: to be a creative, innovative and multi-disciplinary hub that champions the value of the humanities in response to major global challenges. The Centre is a pioneer in humanities-led policy-influencing research, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to support its transition to long term sustainability.”

Professor Kate O’Regan, Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford, said:

“The Bonavero Institute has been a consortium partner since the start of the Centre and we are delighted to continue to be centrally involved as it moves to Oxford and embarks on an exciting evolution. We see the Centre as being of profound national and global significance for developing effective policy in this field, properly informed by human rights standards. As a research institute dedicated to research in the broad field of human rights, we look forward to helping the Centre achieve its aspiration of increasing its human rights focus.”

Professor Spyros Maniatis, Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL), which has hosted the Policy and Evidence Centre during its first phase from 2019 to 2024, said:

“BIICL is proud to have hosted the PEC since its inauguration in 2019 and to have successfully incubated it. We are delighted to see it move to Oxford University in April with continuation funding which will help it to establish its long-term sustainability. The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, an integral part of BIICL, will continue as a Project Partner of the PEC, continuing to collaborate closely in our areas of core expertise.”

Former Prime Minister Theresa May, who chairs the Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, which the PEC was instrumental in establishing, commented:

“As Prime Minister I supported the establishment of the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre in 2019 to try to bridge the divide between research and policy on modern slavery and I have been pleased to see it develop to become such an important part of the policy landscape. As Chairman of the Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, I’ve seen the importance that the PEC attaches to rigorous evidence-based research and I look forward to continuing working with the PEC as it moves to its new home at Oxford and embarks on this exciting new phase.”

Notes for editors

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Fiamma Mazzocchi Alemanni, Head of Communications, Oxford Humanities Division, [email protected]

You can read about what the Centre has done and the impact it has had in its Impact Report 2023.