A house is not a home: housing disadvantage, homelessness, and modern slavery
by Nick Clare, Steve Iafrati, Carla Reeson, Nicola Wright, Charlotte Gray and Henri Baptiste
- 04 May 2023
- Journal of the British Academy, volume 11 (2023)
- Digital Object Identifier
- Number of pages
Abstract: This commentary focuses on the underexplored links between housing disadvantage, homelessness, and modern slavery. Despite significant anecdotal evidence, there is a pressing need for proper theorisation of the connections between housing situation and vulnerability to modern slavery. This commentary combats this lacuna by focusing on four types of (un)housing: homelessness, safehouses, social housing, and the private rented sector. While each site has its own relationship to modern slavery, be it cause, consequence, or potential solution, commonalities emerge. Modern slavery is a form of ‘hyper-precarity’, and the ‘ontological security’ of a place to call home is crucial when combatting this. But a house is not a home, and security of tenure alone is insufficient – in fact in some cases tenure security can actually increase vulnerability to modern slavery. A sense of home can act as a bulwark against modern slavery, but poor housing and bad policies increase precarity, homelessness, and exploitation.
Keywords: Modern slavery, homelessness, social housing, safehouses, housing crisis