Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Experts

Finalist category: Community Impact Award

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Community Impact Award, Finalist, 2019

The Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery Expert Directory (HTMSE) is an e-commerce initiative working within the human rights and antislavery sector. It was founded in 2015 by leading human trafficking lawyer Philippa Southwell, after identifying a desperate need for a single resource for professionals working in the counter human trafficking and modern slavery sector. The directory is an advanced search engine established in order to link specialists not just within the UK based legal community, but to connect with lawyers, medical experts, academics and corporate stakeholders globally that can advance development on this issue, and create the link between modern slavery victims and support.

Contemporary slavery is a current global issue, which directly affects even the corporate and commercial markets with the introduction of the s54 of the UK Modern Slavery Act, and similar legislation in the USA and Australia. Furthermore, the migrant crisis and forced migration has also compounded human trafficking and modern slavery, it has become an ever present issue and there has been an increase in media and public awareness on this topic. Almost 21 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery, which generates  $150 billion for traffickers each year and is a growing market. For each victim identified, they will on average need a team of 7-10 professionals, including 5 lawyers, 2 medical experts, a  country expert, a trafficking expert, a support worker and therapist.

The open, free, online, central contact directory and eLearning platform enables collaboration and cooperation between stakeholders in the human trafficking and modern slavery sector. It provides access to specialists in all different professions and disciplines from around the globe. To combat the complex and global issue of contemporary slavery and labour abuses, the need for international and interdisciplinary cooperation is critical. The platform connects both victims to professional support and professionals to professionals for engagement on research, litigation and projects.

The geographical context of this directory is global (with translation into any language), which means the capacity to make a difference in this sector is vast amongst many communities and industries. The initiative has 3 major lines of impact:

1) Connecting victims to professional support services they need, enabling access to victim care.

2) Linking professionals to professionals, working in the modern slavery sector. By bringing together experts in very nuanced specialist areas pertaining to human trafficking and modern slavery they facilitate growth, understanding, research and policy change in a cross section of industries.

3) Providing an open educational resource assisting the public and professionals in learning about developments in the modern slavery sector. This includes an eLearning platform, a blog and social media platforms.

Since its launch, the initiative has established itself as a leading global directory. It enables individuals to search for professionals by their specialist fields and location worldwide – whether it may be to assist a victim, connect a lawyer to an expert, or to enable a company that is looking to enhance their transparency or human rights compliance to reach the right person. HTMSE collaborates and supports all professionals and organisations listed on the platform. Furthermore, the directory has acted as a free advertising platform for NGOs, organisations and all professionals working in the anti-slavery sector, offering space to advertise events, publications and other materials in relation to human trafficking and modern slavery.

The team’s main aim is to grow the platform and spread awareness to global stakeholders. Researchers will continue to conduct international research seeking out professionals working in the sector.  Once the database has grown, further areas of development include professional awards, an annual global professionals conference, lectures and personal training, publications, development of an app and growing the database.

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