25 minutes | Oct 13th 2019

Life after slavery: what does freedom really look like?

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In Episode 8 Series 4, Todd talks with Juliana Semione, a research associate at the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, who is working to reduce the likelihood of slavery survivors of going back into slavery by better understanding what can help them be resilient and what support they need from practitioners and policy makers.

0:00 – 4:18

Juliana has been researching the concept of freedom from slavery across three cohorts: survivors, law enforcement officials and providers of care in the USA and the UK.

Todd and Juliana begin by discussing the idea of ‘freedom’ and how it is slightly different depending on the cohort’s perception and lived experiences. She states that their definitions are not entirely different but have different priorities. The biggest similarity across the cohorts was a universal agreement that freedom means being free from coercion and free will to do as you wish.

4:19 – 8:09

Todd asks whether responses lean towards ‘freedom from’ rather than ‘freedom to’ do things and Juliana says they were more frequently framed as ‘freedom to’. For example, having the ability to defend yourself against those who would try to limit your free will.

She also mentions that a common concept of freedom was the ability to heal from the damage inflicted by modern slavery and human trafficking. 

Todd asks if Juliana got a sense of how long it took for survivors to feel free? To which she replies no, and it is very individualised, but it is not when you are physically removed from your trafficker.

8:10 – 19:02

Todd moves the discussion on to the methodology behind Juliana’s research by asking why she chose the UK and the USA. She highlights three key reasons:

  • Their shared principles.
  • Their perception that they are leaders in the fight against modern slavery.
  • Public discourse around legislation that can be drawn upon.

Juliana points out that access to three groups was really varied but most were very engaged. One of the hardest groups to access were survivors and she relied on referrals from practitioners and other survivors.

Juliana then outlines the steps she took in utilising the Q methodology in her research:

  1. Concourse - she pulled together 700 statements relating to freedom.
  2. Q sample - Juliana narrowed this down to 49 statements for the participants to look at. She discusses how difficult this process was.
  3. Hit the road - took statements to different cohorts with an organising mat. She asked them to read the statements and pick the two they agreed and disagreed with the most. Then place the remaining cards in order of agree/disagree alternatively.
  4. Score - the placement of each statement is assigned a score, but this is not written on the mat.
  5. Factor analysis - each statement has a number, which is put into a Q study package allowing you to create a frequency and weighting analysis.

 19:03 – 20:49

Juliana discusses some of the preliminary results and patterns but notes she has not finished the analysis.

20:50 - end

Todd asks what Juliana hopes to achieve with this research? She hopes this will start a conversation in the modern slavery world and allow us to be able to answer the question what freedom is. She envisages two main audiences:

  1. Policy makers - to help them consider what legislation directs us towards. What are survivors freed to? And how do we build steps to get them there?
  2. Practitioners - to help service provision to act with greater efficiency.

 

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