David Gadd Robert McLean James Densley Ross Deuchar Rose Broad Ella Cockbain

Demystifying Modern Slavery + Contesting County Lines: Case Studies in Drug Crime and Deviant Entrepreneurship

A Talk by Dr Rose Broad , Ella Cockbain , Robert McLean , Ross Deuchar , Professor David Gadd and James Densley

About this Talk

Who are the perpetrators of modern slavery? Why do they exploit others? What might be done to stop exploitation recurring? These are the questions answered in this book. Reporting on the first primary study of modern slavery offenders, the book depicts the findings of in-depth interviews with people accused of, and convicted for, committing modern slavery offences. The different forms that modern slavery takes are explained chapter by chapter: organized crime, people smuggling, labour exploitation, domestic servitude, sham marriage, the trafficking of adults for sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking. Using case studies to illuminate the perspectives of those deemed perpetrators, we show that few modern slavery offenders conform to stereotypes of people traffickers.

Through an interpretive analysis of offenders’ life stories, we reveal the points in the past and present where interventions could have prevented victims from becoming trapped in exploitation. We show that while national governments and international bodies often appear resolute in their efforts to tackle modern slavery and people trafficking, they have also obscured their own roles in compounding the plights of those at the sharp ends of globalization. In racializing the actions of sex traffickers, grooming gangs, and organized criminals, the modern slavery agenda has mystified the roles market dynamics, the absence of workers’ rights, and immigration controls play in generating vulnerabilities to exploitation.

This book will be of interest to a wide range of students, policymakers and practitioners concerned with modern slavery, human trafficking, border control and immigration, globalization and inequality, as well as the more disciplinefocused criminological audiences concerned with why people commit crimes, what should be done about them and the, often paradoxical, consequences of social control across borders. Given the book’s strong focus on narrative, psychosocial and social network methodologies, it will also appeal to audiences across the social sciences concerned with applying these novel approaches to difficult to reach populations.

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Combining a compulsive read with rigorous academic analysis, this book tells the real-life stories of drug dealers involved in county lines networks, including their methods, motives and misfortunes. Conventional wisdom surrounding county lines often portrays drugs runners as exploited victims and gang proliferation as a market-driven exercise, and suggests a business model facilitated exclusively by smart phone technology and routinely regulated by violence. Aimed at students, scholars, practitioners and policymakers, this myth-busting, accessible book offers a novel way of thinking about county lines in relation to gangs and serious organised crime and presents new ideas for drug crime prevention, intervention and enforcement.

18 October 2023, 08:30 PM

08:30 PM - 09:45 PM

About The Speakers

Rose Broad

Dr Rose Broad

University of Manchester

Modern slavery, human trafficking


Ella Cockbain

Ella Cockbain

Associate Professor, UCL

Dr Ella Cockbain's research focuses primarily on human trafficking, child sexual abuse and labour market abuses. She is interested in rigorous, nuanced and context-sensitive approaches to understanding complex social issues.


Robert McLean

Robert McLean

University of West Scotland


Ross Deuchar

Ross Deuchar

University of West Scotland


David Gadd

Professor David Gadd

University of Manchester

Criminal biographies, modern slavery, hate crimes, domesti abuse


James Densley

James Densley

Metro State University

Professor and Department Chair of Criminology and Criminal Justice