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School of Geography

Citizenship & Belonging Projects

Precarious lives: Asylum seekers and refugees' experiences of forced labour

PI: Louise Waite (University of Leeds)

Co-I: Stuart Hodkinson (University of Leeds)

Overview: The overall aim of this research is to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences of forced labour among asylum seekers and refugees (AS/R) based in England.

This new evidence base will contribute to ongoing academic and policy debates on the causes of, and solutions to, forced labour in the UK among AS/R.

The research focuses on a group of migrants whose susceptibility to forced labour in the UK remains under researched ie AS/R. Whilst it has been widely recognised that the lives of many AS/R are characterised by high unemployment, poverty, social exclusion and destitution there is no robust research documenting their experiences of forced labour and the reasons why they may be engaged in it, despite much anecdotal evidence that AS/R are touched by forced labour.

The concept of precarity (i.e. lived experiences that are characterised by uncertainty and instability) will be used to help understand the key factors and processes that render AS/R vulnerable to forced labour.

A range of qualitative methods will be used from socio-legal mapping, interviews with key informants working with agencies and in-depth semi-structured interviews with AS/R themselves. Findings will be disseminated to policy makers, users and academic and migrant audiences.

Start Date: 01 March 2011

End Date: 31 December 2012

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Details: www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-062-23-2895/read and http://precariouslives.org.uk/