Call for Papers: Rights, dignity and religion: responding to ‘modern slavery’

Call for Papers: Rights, dignity and religion: responding to ‘modern slavery’

On Friday 24 January 2020, St. Mary’s Conference Centre in Sheffield will be hosting a one-day conference on rights, dignity and religion in responding to ‘modern slavery’. The conference is part of an ESRC project on  understanding the roles of faith based organisation in anti-trafficking (ES/N014979/1), and has been organized by Dr Hannah Lewis, Dr Rebecca Murray (University of Sheffield), Professor Emma Tomalin, and Professor Louise Waite (University of Leeds)

Throughout the conference, attendees will consider the efficacy, quality and direction of support and policy responses, the ramifications of victimising imagery that frequently circulates in campaigns, and how religious responses may (or may not) shape how ‘modern slavery’ is framed and addressed. They will also examine whether the type and framing of responses and the faith identity of who delivers them matter for efforts to ‘end modern slavery’ and to support people exiting exploitation. 

At this point, there is a call for papers and other contributions – including poetry, film and art, which reflect on these questions: 

Standards and effectiveness

o   What do we know about the effectiveness of responses to human trafficking and modern slavery?

o   What constitutes best practice in working with people with past experiences of coercion and deception?

Representations, outcomes, rights and dignity

o   Do ‘modern slavery’ responses, discourse and visuals as currently framed adequately address the rights and dignity of people exiting severe exploitation?

o   Does a focus on individual rescue from a particular exploitation situation detract resources and attention from securing broader rights for vulnerable migrants and workers?

o   How do the images used to portray ‘modern slavery’ affect public imaginations and policy responses?

Religion and welfare provision

o   How might faith actors best articulate their contribution in this field?

o   What can we learn by comparing the roles of religious actors in different countries?

o   Are faith-statutory partnerships ‘postsecular’ if religious principles and identity are intentionally hidden?

o   What can we learn for the anti-trafficking field from faith based action in other areas such as food banks, homelessness and drug and alcohol dependency?

Abstracts can be submitted until 31 October 2019, and conference registration (£30 higher education, business, statutory; £15 charity and voluntary; unwaged free) is open until 10 January 2020.

If you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Murray at