Emma Franck-Gwinnell

Durham University - Social Sciences
Evaluating the effectiveness of s54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
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Im a second year law student at Durham University, and Im going into my second period of research with the Laidlaw Scholarship this year. With the Laidlaw scholarship, my research is focusing on how businesses can tackle modern slavery. It focuses specifically on legislation that’s been brought in around the world, and how businesses have responded to that when it comes to modern slavery in supply chains.

When I first came into the Programme, I was expecting it to be a little bit of leadership development and to do my research project but that ultimately my research project would be quite limited in its scope. Now, having done the first half of it, Ive developed more in terms of wanting to push myself further for the research project and for the leadership development. I think I now have a higher standard in terms of where I want my research to end up and what I want to do with it. Having joined the programme, I think its been really beneficial for my long-term aims.

What is Emma up to now?

Currently studying Law at Durham University

Evaluating the effectiveness of s54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015

I think the leadership component of the Laidlaw Programme has been really good because its quite applicable to a lot of things, and not just what you would do as an academic if you wanted to be progressing within an academic career. Its very applicable to sports, and to other careers too. For example – knowing how to put together a good team, knowing yourself and knowing what attributes that you might need to work on to become a better leader or to become a better team player is really helpful in terms of figuring out what you want to do in the future, and also how you would go about working with other people to make sure that youre able to get that to happen.


A lot of people think that law is pretty boring! While Ill admit some aspects can be a little tedious, the aspect that Im working on, Im obviously very interested in. Im looking at international responses to modern slavery and how that relates to business. It includes the UK, EU, and US and Im essentially looking at obligations that theyve put on businesses to publicise what theyre doing to fight modern slavery and human trafficking. I find it really interesting because Ive been doing a lot of anti-slavery work for a couple of years now, and I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to combine my interest in that with my interest in law and do something that I thought would make a difference in the long run.

Networking and Scholar Community

Ive been able to connect with people who have the specific research interests that I have and also go to a few conferences, where Ive been able to learn about ongoing developments in the area that I can factor that into my research, so the Laidlaw Programme has been really good for developing my professional network in that way. As were part of the first cohort, it was a bit difficult to get everybody on board with a social network at the beginning, but weve really worked to develop that in the time that weve been part of the Laidlaw Programme. We had our first leadership development weekend and then everybody went their separate ways for the summer, but even over the summer there were about 10-12 of us around who went to the pub a few times and went out for pizza, and we kept on catching up every so often throughout the year. This year theres even more of a focus on building a scholar community, especially because we see each other a lot more often through the leadership development aspects of the Programme.