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Study information

Human trafficking and modern slavery

Module titleHuman trafficking and modern slavery
Module codeLAW3100
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Inga Thiemann ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery are topics of near constant discussion in the media. But what is human trafficking? How can we legally define modern slavery?  In this module you will examines the development of law in the area of human trafficking and modern slavery from a legal, theoretical and comparative perspective. You will consider the complex history of counter-trafficking legislation, critiques the limitations of current counter-trafficking measures and discusses its problems, e.g. the conflation of prostitution and trafficking, the complex victim category and alternative responses to human trafficking.

Module aims - intentions of the module

After completing this module, you will have gained a detailed understanding and appreciation of the key topics in the law on human trafficking. You will develop your legal research skills, particularly in the realms of analysis, critical thinking and problem-solving.

You will learn to critically engage with theoretical debates and conflicting standpoints on human trafficking and its interplay with borders, migration, labour regulation and access to rights. Furthermore, you will develop an understanding of counter-trafficking law’s role in creating and maintaining complex, yet limiting categories of victimhood in human trafficking in a national and international context. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the principle features of the law on human trafficking, including the scope, but also limitations of counter-trafficking legislation; the history of human trafficking and its legacies; the complex notions of victimhood and culpability
  • 2. Demonstrate coherent and critical knowledge of the relationship between law, policy and societal norms in the area of human trafficking
  • 3. Identify, explain and critically assess/analyse issues arising in the context of human trafficking and modern slavery and apply relevant legal rules to those issues

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Exercise critical thinking, judgment and analysis concerning the assumptions and aspirations of law
  • 5. Select and explain relevant information from primary and secondary legal resources, independently and efficiently using appropriate techniques

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Identify, retrieve and use a range of resources with minimal guidance
  • 7. Manage time independently and efficiently in preparing for learning activities, to be proactive in developing your own learning

Syllabus plan

It is envisaged that the syllabus will include the following topics. Precise content and order may vary.

Introduction to the law on human trafficking

  • How to define the phenomenon
  • The different forms of human trafficking
  • The history of human trafficking

Human trafficking legislation:

  • International (UN Trafficking Protocol & other relevant international agreements)
  • Regional (EU Directive, Council of Europe and the case law of the ECtHR)
  • Domestic implementation (the UK Modern Slavery Act)

Human trafficking in context:

  • Between criminal law, labour law and migration law
  • Victims and perpetrators in trafficking legislation
  • Alternative responses to human trafficking

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities189 x 2 hour Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 x 1 hour Lectures (introductory and revision sessions)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities63 x 2 hour Workshops
Guided independent study55Individual reading and lecture preparation
Guided independent study20Workshop preparation
Guided Independent Study40Summative assessment preparation
Guided Independent Study9Formative assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay outline1,000 words1-7Written feedback; individual consultation meetings with students as required

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002,750 words1-7Written feedback; individual consultation meetings with students as required

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (2,750 words)1-7August\September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Julia O’Connell Davidson, Modern Slavery: The Margins of Freedom Palgrave Macmillan: 2015

Anne Gallagher, The International Law of Human Trafficking, CuP:2010

Key words search

Human trafficking, modern slavery, migration, exploitation, labour, human rights

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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Last revision date