Advancing a Child Rights Informed Approach to Antislavery Policy and Practice

Event date
24 April 2023
Event time
13:00 - 14:30
Oxford week
TT 1
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights - Gilly Leventis Meeting Room

Urmila Bhoola, former UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

Dr Elizabeth Faulkner, Lecturer in Law at Keele University

Pamela Vargas-Gorena, Research Fellow in Human Rights and Anti-slavery Law at the University of Nottingham

Notes & Changes

This is a hybrid event. It will be held in-person in the Gilly Leventis Meeting Room at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights. To attend the event online, please register here.

For over 20-years states have committed to pay particular attention to children in their efforts to combat modern slavery. Yet recent data shows children account for 1 in 3 trafficking victims worldwide (UNODC, 2021). Current measures to combat modern slavery fail to adequately protect children. A child rights informed approach to combating modern slavery is needed in order to fully protect children and recognise their agency and autonomy.

This event will launch the findings of a systematic literature review that has synthesised the two traditionally separate fields of children’s rights and modern slavery to deliver new theoretical insights that will help reshape practice, taking understandings of both fields in new directions. It demonstrates the value of applying the child rights framework to pressing issues of global concern, considering awareness of children’s rights as key to tackling modern slavery. The evidence review reveals the ways in which the two fields—modern slavery and children’s rights—interact and can inform each other. In doing so, the project has highlighted gaps in theory and understanding within and between the two fields and exposes what child rights issues are deemed central to countering modern slavery and child labour.


Dr Naomi Lott

Dr Naomi Lott

Dr Naomi Lott is an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law, and Early Career Fellow at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights. Her primary research interests are in the field of children's rights, with a particular focus on children's economic, social and cultural rights, and on the notion of ‘forgotten rights’ in general human rights law. Naomi has also worked on numerous research projects relating to modern slavery, including projects in conjunction with the United Nations University, Delta 8.7 and the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham. Her most recent modern slavery related project was funded by the ILO and IOM and examined the intersections between the fields of modern slavery and children's rights.

Naomi completed a PhD at the University of Nottingham on the child's right to play, examining the right from conception through to implementation. She holds a LLM in Human Rights Law and MA in Socio-Legal Research Methods from the University of Nottingham, and a BScEcon in International Politics from Aberystwyth University. Her forthcoming monograph is the first comprehensive work on the right of the child to play.


Urmila Bhoola

Urmila Bhoola

Urmila Bhoola is the former UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.  She is a former Judge of the Labour Court of South Africa, and Chief Legal Drafter of South Africa's Employment Equity Act, designed to redress disadvantages caused by apartheid. She is a former Executive Director of International Women's Rights Action Watch (Asia Pacific), a women's rights advocacy organization which monitors compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). She is currently a Research Fellow on global anti-slavery policy at the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab and is also Visiting Professor at University College London.


Dr Elizabeth Faulkner

Dr Elizabeth Faulkner

Dr Elizabeth Faulkner is a Lecturer in Law at Keele University, having previously held a Lectureship in Contemporary Slavery at the Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull and within the Law Schools of De Montfort University and Staffordshire University. Her interests, broadly conceived, are in international child law, human rights, crime, legal history, specialising in human trafficking, slavery, children’s rights, exploitation, and sexual violence.

She is the author of ‘The Trafficking of Children: International Law, Modern Slavery and the Anti-Trafficking Machine’ due to be published in spring 2023 by Palgrave Macmillan and editor of ‘Modern Slavery in Global Context: Human Rights, Law and Society’, under contract with Bristol University Press and due to be published later this year. The monograph charts the emergence, decline and re-emergence of child trafficking law and policy during the twentieth and twenty-first Centuries. Through providing a systematic and comprehensive overview of the historical origins of child trafficking through research within archives of the League of Nations. Her research seeks to centralise the neglected histories of child trafficking and the entanglements of children’s rights and colonialism in relation to the mobility and exploitation of children. Through deploying the theoretical framework of the “anti-trafficking machine” to illustrate that the contemporary anti-trafficking agenda is both imperialist and a continuity of colonial attitudes.


Pamela Vargas-Gorena

Pamela Vargas-Gorena

Pamela Vargas-Gorena is a Research Fellow in Human Rights and Anti-slavery Law at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on mapping global anti-slavery legislation and policy in order to understand trends, successes, and failures and identify factors contributing to positive legislative change. Her research background includes comparative law and jurisprudence as well as the assessment of government law, policies and capacities. She holds a Master of Science in Public Policy from the University of Bristol and master’s degrees in Constitutional Law and Administrative Law from Latin American universities.



Dr Maayan Niezna

Maayan Niezna

Dr Maayan Niezna is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Modern Slavery and Human Rights at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, and a Fellow of the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre. Her research focuses on trafficking for labour exploitation and the regulation of labour migration. She holds PhD in Law from Kent Law School, MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics, and LL.B in Law and Philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prior to her doctoral studies, she led the legal work on trafficking at the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants-Israel, and worked on issues related to trafficking at the Office of the National Anti-trafficking Coordinator, Israeli Ministry of Justice, and UNHCR. Her work on trafficking and slavery has been cited by NGOs, policymakers, and Israel’s Supreme Court.

Found within

Human Rights Law