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Volunteers' Week: Supporting victims of modern slavery

Rosanna McCurrie is a School Education Manager in the School of Education, Communication & Society at King’s. She is also a volunteer First Responder with the Salvation Army and uses her Service Time to interview and support potential victims of modern slavery. In this feature for Volunteers' Week, Rosanna shares her volunteering experience and how King’s Service Time policy enabled her to give back.

What does it mean to be a First Responder and what training is required?

The First Responder role is part of the national framework for finding and supporting potential victims of modern slavery. First Responder organisations in England and Wales are authorised to make referrals into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – the framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support.

These organisations include police forces, UKVI, the National Crime Agency and Local Authorities, but occasionally someone who is not part of an authorised organisation may spot someone who shows signs of being a potential victim of modern slavery. In these cases, they may be referred to a charity who, with the support of volunteers, can interview and refer the person to the NRM.

I am currently one of the volunteer First Responders with the Salvation Army.

Once you are given a case, you complete an interview with the client to find out what happened to them. This is to build a picture of any exploitation that occurred and any indicators of modern slavery which will then be used by the Competent Authority (based in the UK Human Trafficking Centre) to make a decision as to whether there are ‘reasonable grounds’ that the person is a potential survivor.

If the client receives a positive reasonable grounds decision, they are assigned a dedicated case worker to ensure that they obtain appropriate support. This could include access to accommodation, medical support, counselling support, assistance during any criminal proceedings and education for dependent children.

All volunteers attend a compulsory training session with the Anti-Trafficking Response Coordinators before taking on their first case. The Salvation Army also provides e-learning courses around safeguarding and GDPR for example. The team are supportive, provide guidance and answer questions throughout, especially when completing your first few cases.

Acting as a First Responder is an extremely rewarding role as it is often the first step in supporting someone to begin their journey to recovery.– Rosanna McCurrie, School Education Manager in the School of Education, Communication & Society at King’s and volunteer First Responder with the Salvation Army

How much time did you give as a First Responder?

I used my Service Time to complete two referrals. Each interview took two hours (everything takes twice as long when you’re speaking through an interpreter!) and then notes from the interview were typed up and submitted to the Competent Authority to make a decision.

I’m grateful that King’s offers Service Time and would encourage more staff to make use of this. It can be easy to get bogged down with work and forget that there are more important things than programme administration! Volunteering is a really good way to gain some perspective and balance.– Rosanna McCurrie, School Education Manager in the School of Education, Communication & Society at King’s and volunteer First Responder with the Salvation Army

What motivated you to volunteer?

I was motivated to volunteer by the Service Time offered at King’s. One of my resolutions for 2022 was to finally make the most of this opportunity!

I chose to become a First Responder as I am very passionate about helping and supporting victims of human trafficking and modern slavery. As a Christian I try to follow the teachings of the Bible and see a strong directive throughout to work for social justice and speak out against oppression.

Before I joined King’s in 2019, I worked as an Anti-Trafficking Case Worker for a charity called City Hearts. I was based in a safe house for women and families. My role was supporting clients who had been referred into the NRM and had received a positive reasonable grounds decision to ensure that their needs were met and to provide emotional support along the way. All the clients who came to us were initially interviewed by someone in a First Responder role.

Modern slavery and human trafficking are huge issues globally. In 2021, 12,727 potential victims were referred to the NRM, and it is estimated that there are more people living in slavery today than at any point in history.


Were you inspired by anyone that you volunteered with?

The Anti-Trafficking Response Coordinators have been incredibly inspiring, right from my initial interview through to support when completing referrals. They are truly passionate about the work they do.

In the training session, one of the facilitators shared a story about a man walking along a beach littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore. The man came across a young boy eagerly throwing them back into the water one by one. The man commented that there must be tens of thousands of starfish on the beach so he wouldn’t be able to make much of a difference. The young boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. He turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

Although there are millions of people today affected by human trafficking and modern slavery, helping even one is immensely valuable.


How did it feel to be a part of the King’s Global Day of Service?

Volunteering is a great way to gain some perspective and balance, and to contribute towards something you feel passionate about. I’m very happy to have shared my experiences and hope that others are encouraged to use their Service Time!

King's Volunteering

Discover volunteering opportunities

We’re launching King’s Volunteering, a new and exciting service for King’s staff and students.

King’s Volunteering is your one-stop shop for discovering opportunities and building connections with organisations that are driving positive change in our local, national and international communities.

Sign up to connect with charities and organisations, discover opportunities and make a difference.

Become a community partner

If you are an organisation with a clear social mission and are looking for volunteers to enhance the impact of your work, join King’s Volunteering and share your opportunities on our new platform.

Visit our Community Organisations page for more information.


Share your volunteering story and inspire others to give back

Do you have a volunteering story to share, or a question about volunteering? Contact the King’s Volunteering team at

Let us know how you’re making a difference by tagging @ServiceAtKing’s on Twitter and Instagram, and by using the hashtags #ServiceAtKings #KingsVolunteering #WeAreKings.

In this story

Rosanna McCurrie

Rosanna McCurrie

School Education Manager

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