This research is the first study of its kind looking at the transport needs of survivors of modern slavery, who are supported through the UK’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM). It sought to provide concrete evidence of the situation regarding transport, which was anecdotally regarded as a significant challenge. The research is a multi-stakeholder initiative that brought together survivors, NGOs, academia and the private sector. The mixed methods study involved providing Oyster cards to 100 survivors and topping them up remotely with £50 every fortnight, for a period of 12 weeks. Participants answered survey questions before and after the 12-week period, and a sample took part in in-depth interviews to understand the impact that free transport had on their recovery

At the time of the research, survivors in the NRM were entitled to get any travel over £101 per return journey reimbursed if the travel was for specific purposes related to the European Convention on Anti-Trafficking (ECAT), and out of their local area. However, in practice few were able to claim for local travel because it did not reach the threshold, it was difficult to prove that the travel was for ECAT purposes or there were administrative barriers to reimbursement. For example, survivors need to register their Oyster card for their support organization to see evidence of their travel history and make a claim for reimbursement. However, survivors cannot register the cards easily as they often do not have a smartphone, access to mobile phone data or access to WIFI.

Going Places: Journeys to Recovery - University of Nottingham Rights Lab, 2020 DOWNLOAD

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