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The identification and treatment of human trafficking victims : policy, practice and protection

Wilson, Chloe Joanna


Chloe Joanna Wilson


Gerry Johnstone

Simon (Simon T.) Green


This thesis explores practitioner insights into the problems of supporting the victims of human trafficking, within the first 24-48 hours of their initial identification by a first responder. It looks at victim experiences of trafficking, through a practitioner lens and the way in which organisations offer support and protection to victims. There is a lack of current research about the immediate time period after a victim is identified by the authorities. This thesis addresses this gap in research, as well as the associated lack of knowledge about how organisations use (or don’t use) the guidance given to them to support the victims of human trafficking. These considerations led to the formation of the following research questions:
• Are the current Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU) frameworks working to ensure victims of human trafficking are successfully identified and supported, as well as helping to reduce victims of human trafficking?
• What happens to victims of human trafficking within the first 24 to 48 hours following their identification, or self -referral?
• Do victim interactions with official organisations follow the MSHTU framework?

To successfully explore this, primary evidence was gathered in the form of an online questionnaire. This allowed any practitioner involved in identification and/or referral, to consider their own practices and identify whether they are in line with the MSHTU guidance. The responses gathered were explored qualitatively, they identified key weaknesses in the current system; both practically and within the government policy.

The research identified the following key issues; a lack of knowledge about correct identification and referral processes. A lack of confidence in the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). A lack of understanding: creating a safe environment for potential victims. A lack of clarity about how to treat potential victims. The concluding chapters suggest improvements to the current frameworks and future policy and practical recommendations. The aim of these improvements being to help progress the identification, referral and rehabilitation of human trafficking victims in the UK.


Wilson, C. J. (2020). The identification and treatment of human trafficking victims : policy, practice and protection. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Apr 7, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Law
Public URL
Additional Information Law School, The University of Hull
Award Date Oct 1, 2020


Thesis (2.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2020 Wilson, Chloe Joanna. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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