The Skills Training and Reintegration (STAR) Project focuses on supporting survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery on their journey towards employment and integration in the UK. 

The project started in November 2020 and is helping survivors to overcome barriers to employment by providing them with skills development training and personalised employment support. Working alongside survivor care organisations who can refer eligible people to the project, up to 30 survivors will be provided with training and support during the project. The training is delivered to three groups of up to 10 survivors over a period of three months per group. The skills development training programme includes: 


Digital Skills     |           Employment Skills     |       Life Skills


Alongside the skills development programme, personalised employment support will be provided to individual survivors to access vocational training opportunities, prepare CVs, apply for jobs or access job placement and volunteering opportunities. Survivors will also receive support to overcome practical barriers which may prevent them from entering the labour market such as: access to devices and data, childcare support, transport support as well as wider forms of support covering other aspects of their lives from their referral organisations. The project will run until to 31 October 2021.



The STAR project objectives are: 

  • To provide survivors with a stronger set of skills to help towards gaining employment.
  • Increase their confidence in the job search and application process.
  •  Set them up on a pathway to employment by offering personalised support to apply for jobs, placements, vocational training. 
  • Increase their understanding of UK work culture and recruitment processes.
  • Widely disseminate the bespoke package of training covering digital skills, life skills and employment skills created for this project.



How potential victims of modern slavery are identified in the UK?

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the UK’s framework for referring and identifying potential victims of modern slavery and providing them with support for a period of at least 45 days.  At the end of this period, a positive or negative conclusive ground decision is issued by the government. For those with a positive conclusive grounds decision, who are formally recognised as a victim of modern slavery, support beyond the NRM varies with a number of reports highlighting a “cliff-edge” for survivors who experience difficulties and gaps in transitioning to, or accessing, longer-term care. Survivors often face challenges trying to rebuild their lives in their new communities, including finding decent work which can help them to establish a more stable personal and economic situation, increasing their independence and financial autonomy. Gainful employment is also important to helping some survivors regain a sense of agency and a feeling of self-worth.

They are likely to have little experience looking for jobs, presenting themselves effectively to employers, and/or navigating the requirements of entering the labour market (such as having a national insurance number in place). They may also lack employable skills and experience and face
practical challenges which may prevent them from entering the labour market such as: access to devices and data, childcare support, transport support.


Read more: The victims of ‘unknown exploitation’ hiding within the UK National Referral Mechanism, Open Democracy, 27 January 2021 | by Patrick Bruland, IOM counter trafficking specialist



IOM's work in the area of human trafficking

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is the leading organisation in the field of migration. Established in 1951, IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. IOM has been working in the area of human trafficking and modern slavery for over 20 years. Over the past twenty years, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has provided direct assistance to almost 90,000 victims of trafficking all over the world.  It is essential that people affected by human trafficking and modern slavery are provided with appropriate short- and long-term care to help them recover from the exploitation they have endured. We work alongside various government and non-governmental organisations to help improve the way in which support is provided, following a victim-centred approach, with strong decision-making and better end-to-end care that extends as long as necessary to support their recovery. IOM UK works to strengthen the capacity of local authorities and other organisations to detect and respond to issues of trafficking and modern slavery. We seek to improve the support conditions for those affected by these crimes by implementing projects that directly support survivors such as the STAR project, as well as research to better understand vulnerabilities to trafficking.




For further information please contact:

Catherine Cullen, STAR Project Coordinator,

"Migration is one of the key realities of our time. It cuts across communities, influences priorities, and shapes societies.
To realise the benefits of migration for migrants and host communities alike, our responses must be innovative, collaborative and designed beyond the immediate."


Dipti Pardeshi, Chief of Mission of the IOM UK Office