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What is modern slavery?

news editor2 November 2012

Written by Neil Rodger, UCL Communications Manager

So, what is modern slavery? That was the question posed in a Lunch Hour Lecture given by Dr Virginia Mantouvalou (UCL Laws), Co-Director of the UCL Institute for Human Rights.

Dr Mantouvalou takes the stance that forms of slavery exist in the UK and Europe today – particularly in the area that falls under the catch-all title of ‘domestic work’.

Domestic work can mean anything from care of children or the elderly, to cooking, cleaning and gardening. She explained that some of these domestic workers have their passports taken away and are often denied permission to leave the house.

Some even struggle to get enough food and water.

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The Ethics of Human Rights Philanthropy

news editor11 June 2012

Claire Lougarre, UCL Laws PhD candidate

Professor Philippe Sands and Sigrid Rausing

What would you do if  Saif Gaddafi offered you millions of pounds towards a research project, or if Rupert Murdoch did? Accepting money for research from philanthropic sources, or from people who might want to set research agendas, is a difficult ethical minefield.

Luckily, at this UCL Institute for Human Rights event on 29 May, we had capable guides to see us through the issues. Even if they did not have all the answers, they were certainly equipped to ask and deepen our understanding of the right questions.

Professor Philippe Sands QC welcomed Sigrid Rausing (Rausing Trust), Professor Jonathan Wolff (UCL Philosophy), Anthony Tomei (Nuffield Foundation) and Dr George Letsas (UCL Laws) to the panel.

Preserving independence
Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia (UCL Political Sciences), co-director of the Institute, welcomed the large audience by highlighting the recent UCL campaign to raise more than £300 million for UCL projects from donors. Does giving money buy you influence and power?

UCL Council has asserted its commitment to preserve the university’s independence from any donor agenda. Nevertheless, in the light of recent scandals, such as Gaddafi’s funding of the LSE, which led to the Woolf Enquiry, the question of ethics in research philanthropy remains.

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