Modern slavery and wider forms of exploitation are increasingly recognised as a social problem. But we are not all equally vulnerable to this form of abuse.
The University of Nottingham has been successful in securing funding from the Nuffield Foundation for a new research project: Evidencing Links Between Cognitive Impairment and Exploitation in England.
The Ann Craft Trust’s Head of Safeguarding Adults and Young People Lisa Curtis will be working alongside university colleagues on this project over the next two years.
The objectives of this research are to investigate and evidence the connections between exploitation and different forms of cognitive impairment in England, providing both a comprehensive descriptive account and an insight into potential causative relationships.
We will also seek to understand what policy and practice responses currently exist. We shall explore how we might improve current responses to enable more effective prevention, intervention and support.
Alison Gardner, Assistant Professor in Public Policy & Administration Sociology & Social Policy at the University of Nottingham, said:
The connection between forms of cognitive impairment and vulnerability to exploitation is often anecdotally acknowledged but poorly evidenced.
Through this ground-breaking research we hope to shed light on how these issues intersect, helping to improve existing policy and practice, and providing important information and resources for those who may be at risk.
Our work with the Ann Craft Trust and Human Trafficking Foundation will ensure this research engages with those who have direct experience of these issues.
Lisa Curtis, Head of Safeguarding Adults and Young People at The Ann Craft Trust, said:
We know exploitation can be one of the biggest challenges faced by young people and adults who may have additional complex needs.
But at the same time, it can be difficult for practitioners, families and the person concerned to recognise the signs of exploitation.
Through our involvement with experts and partnership working we will establish preventative ways of working empowering those who may be exploited whilst raising awareness of indicators.