“Negating Humanity”: Modern Slavery in its Historical Context and its Implications for Policy

Principal Investigator

Dr Kristofer Allerfeldt

Research Institution

University of Exeter

Project Summary

By placing the US’ 1910 White Slave (Mann) Act and the UK’s 2015 Modern Slavery Act in their historical context this project seeks to enhance knowledge of how policy has aimed to define, control and prosecute trans-national crime in terms of human trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable groups over the last century in the US and UK.

Gathering together UK and US expertise and experience, this project will provide a comparative and collaborative backdrop for historical research and present-day policymaking. It will draw on expertise ranges from reporting the kidnapping and enslaving of the homeless and disabled in modern British cities, to co-ordinating and advising the current anti-trafficking efforts, as well as running a variety of charities dedicated to exposing those who are enslaving others, and protecting the victims of their crimes. This range of knowledge and experience will provide not only different dimensions, but also different frameworks for investigation.


While very much a pilot project, this investigation has the potential to achieve a broad public impact by involving a deliberately wide range of participants and practitioners from outside academic who are grappling with similar and related questions. However, at present these scholars, policy makers, enforcers, commentators and advisors are speaking to different audiences on a subject which not only has huge scholarly interest, but is also exciting great public debate. It is the object of this study to create a variety of means by which the participants can not only discuss the issues at stake with each other, but also disseminate those ideas with a wider, more general, audience.

Contact Information

For further information, please email Kristofer at K.M.Allerfeldt@exeter.ac.uk