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Tackling Modern Slavery: An Introduction

Develop your knowledge of modern slavery and how businesses and consumers play a crucial role in tackling this global issue.

549 enrolled on this course

Lonely teenage girls felt desperate like slavery sitting on a dark environment
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Understand what we mean by modern slavery

In the UK, modern slavery is a significant issue. In just the second quarter of 2021, over 3,000 people were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (a framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery).

This six-week course will provide you with an overview of modern slavery and its many forms, including human trafficking, domestic slavery, and forced labour.

With an estimated 40 million people trapped in modern slavery worldwide, you’ll learn what can be done to tackle this huge global issue.

Explore the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015

In 2015 in the UK, Theresa May introduced new legislation in the form of the Modern Slavery Act.

You’ll unpack this Act and learn to describe the legislative responses to modern slavery across different jurisdictions.

Recognise the role of businesses and consumers in tackling human rights issues

Tackling modern slavery is a responsibility for both businesses and consumers.

On the course, you’ll investigate the role of businesses and consumers in modern slavery, exploring purchase decisions and business operations. This knowledge will help you understand what future developments should look like without slavery.

Learn from experts at the University of Central Lancashire

Although the course will have a UK legislation focus, global audiences will also find the materials useful. You’ll explore other approaches and learn how many jurisdictions are in the process of considering how to address issues of modern slavery.

Guided by a team of academics from the University of Central Lancashire, you’ll finish the course feeling empowered with the knowledge of how to tackle modern slavery.


  • Week 1

    An introduction to modern slavery

    • Welcome to the course (5 minutes)

      Here, the lead educator, Debbie welcomes you to the course and explains some of the areas you will be exploring over the next six weeks. We are really pleased to have you on board.

    • Introduction to modern slavery (50 minutes)

      In this first activity we will be developing a basic understanding of what modern slavery is and we will be looking at statistics which highlight the scale of the issue around the world.

    • Types of modern slavery (65 minutes)

      In the last activity we were introduced to the fact that there are different types of modern slavery. In this section, we are going to look at some of these in more detail.

  • Week 2

    Modern slavery - case studies

    • Case studies - Types of exploitation (50 minutes)

      In this section of the course, we will build upon week 1. We will review case studies to further develop our understanding of the different types of modern slavery.

    • Industry Case study 1 - Construction (35 minutes)

      In this section of the course we will be looking at an industry that is high risk in terms of modern slavery - construction.

    • Industry Case study 2 - Fast fashion (35 minutes)

      In this area of the course we will be looking at the fashion industry and the way in which modern slavery can infiltrate supply chains in fashion.

  • Week 3

    Legislative responses to modern slavery

    • International law and modern slavery (40 minutes)

      In this section of the course we will consider how international law has responded to modern slavery.

    • Domestic law and modern slavery (60 minutes)

      In this section of the course, we will be looking at how countries around the world have brought in laws to tackle modern slavery and will be considering what action still needs to be taken.

    • Case Studies (20 minutes)

      In this section, we will look at a few examples of legislation to tackle modern slavery, with a particular focus on the UK's Modern Slavery Act 2015. We will build upon this learning in Week 4 and Week 5.

  • Week 4

    Tackling modern slavery - part 1

    • National Referral Mechanisms (45 minutes)

      In this section of the course we are going to learn about something called National Referral Mechanisms and how they can be used to support victims of modern slavery.

    • A Multi-Agency Approach to Modern Slavery (35 minutes)

      In this step of the course we are going to learn about some of the organisations that are involved in the fight against modern slavery and the role they play.

    • The public and modern slavery (40 minutes)

      In this section of the course we will consider our role in relation to modern slavery in more depth. We will consider the signs of modern slavery and how we can become more aware of the issue.

  • Week 5

    Tackling modern slavery - part 2

    • Businesses and modern slavery (40 minutes)

      In this activity, we will be considering the role businesses can play in tackling modern slavery.

    • Fashion and construction (40 minutes)

      In week 2, we were introduced to two high risk industries for modern slavery, construction and fashion. Here, we will look at what is being done around the world in these industries, to try and tackle modern day slavery.

    • Practical activity - reviewing modern slavery statements (40 minutes)

      In this task we will look at modern slavery statements published by companies in the fashion and construction sector.

  • Week 6

    Tackling modern slavery - future challenges

    • Challenge 1 - Legislation, accountability and enforcement (40 minutes)

      Here we will be looking at ongoing challenges with legislation and modern slavery.

    • Challenge 2 - Modern slavery in a changing world (25 minutes)

      In this section we will consider how the fight against modern slavery cannot stand still in an ever-changing world.

    • Challenge 3 - Raising awareness of modern slavery (55 minutes)

      In this activity, we will think about how we can continue to raise awareness of the issue of modern slavery and join the fight against it.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe modern slavery including different forms of modern slavery
  • Compare different legislative responses to modern slavery
  • Discuss the role of consumers, the third sector and businesses in tackling modern slavery
  • Explain the challenges faced by those tackling modern slavery

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone wanting to increase their awareness of modern slavery.

You could be involved in procurement or supply chain management, a student interested in corporate social responsibility, or a consumer wanting to learn more about your purchasing decisions.

Who will you learn with?

I am a lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire and also teach at the Open University. I am an accountant and a postgrad law student. I volunteer for a number of social justice organisations.

Who developed the course?

University of Central Lancashire

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is a leading modern university with thriving campuses in Preston, Burnley, Westlakes (Cumbria) and Cyprus.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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