Staff Profile


Dr Lorena Arocha


School: School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 923756

Profile summary

Lorena has conducted research on issues related to 'modern forms of slavery' and exploitation, including 'forced labour', 'bonded labour', 'human trafficking' and 'sexual exploitation'. She's done this in a variety of geographical contexts, covering various parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. Her research interests include the study of 'new’ and 'old' forms of exploitation and slavery and worst forms of child labour; how these question understandings and practices around human rights and social justice; how globalisation processes, especially those linked to migration and development shape policy and practice and how these connect to discourses on global crime. She also has an interest on research methods and their application.

Prior to joining Canterbury Christ Church University in 2013, Lorena was the Lead for International Development at the International Centre for the Study of Sexually Exploited and Trafficked Young People at the University of Bedfordshire, was the principal researcher for the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group in their first year of existence and has taught at Birkbeck University, Regent's American College, University of Surrey Roehampton, among others. She has been a visiting lecturer at Kingston University and the University of Kent.

Lorena is currently third year coordinator for the Sociology Programme and sits in the Faculty International Committee. 

Research and knowledge exchange

Lorena gained a scholarship to conduct doctoral research, using both, quantitative and qualitative methods to analyse modern forms of slavery. She conducted field research in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, studying the circumstances under which families, especially children, become bonded and/or trafficked. In 2012-2013, she did fieldwork in India and Nepal to study the intersection between identities and anti-trafficking measures. She has been involved in a series of research projects and programme evaluations as principal researcher and consultant and these have covered a variety of contexts, including local (London and the South East of England), national (UK-wide) and international (parts of Europe, South Asia and Africa). She has studied understandings of and responses to children involved in armed conflict, looking at their situation either when displaced within their own countries (the Democractic Republic of Congo) or in contexts of asylum (in the UK). She has contributed to a number of oral history projects with diasporic communities (South Asian and African) in London, providing training on social research methods to community members participating in the projects. In order to achieve this, Lorena has gained funding from a wide range of external and internal sources to conduct this research and has worked with a variety of stakeholders, including other academics, policy makers and statutory and non-statutory organisations. Her research has been heard in the Houses of Parliament in the UK, the ILO Special Action Programme To Combat Forced Labour and the Council of Europe. She recently gained funding from the ESRC to host an event as part of the Festival of Social Science on 'understandings of human trafficking', with an emphasis on responses to this in the South East of England. The event was hosted at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. Lorena is currently developing this work further. 

Teaching and subject expertise

Lorena has designed and taught courses on 'modern slavery', migration, transnationalism and globalisation, gender and sex roles, quantitative and qualitative research methods, introduction to sociology, social theory, reading human rights and introduction to anthropology. She has provided support as a personal academic tutor to undergraduate students and has supervised students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She has also contributed to developing academic curriculum at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

At CCCU, Lorena has been convening and teaching on a number of modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. As an innovation, she is leading second year students in an applied research methods module, partnering with local charities to implement year-long research projects that combine both quantitative and qualitative methods and contribute to meet the needs of our partners. In 2013-2014, second year students conducted an evaluation of the Supporting Vulnerable Refugee Youth Project as part of KRAN and in 2014-2015, students worked with Catching Lives to assess the general public's perceptions of homelessness in Canterbury. 

Lorena is a member of the British Sociological Association,  Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth and the National Working Network Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation. She is an Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy and is currently working to become a Fellow.

External activities

Lorena has contributed to the following: 

  • Freedom from Torture (former Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture) organisation. They support former children involved as combatants in conflict, London
  • The Child Trafficking Working Group at the Home Office, London
  • The Women’s Studies Centre, Calcutta University, India
  • The Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour (International Labour Organization), Geneva

Publications and research outputs

  • (2013) ‘Intersections in ‘Trafficking’ and ‘Child Sexual Exploitation’ Policy’ in Melrose, M. and Pearce, J. (eds.) Critical Perspectives on Child Sexual Exploitation. Palgrave Macmillan
  • (2012) What are the key components of a successful awareness raising and prevention campaign to combat cross border trafficking of young people up to 25 years old? Report to Comic Relief UK and International Funding teams with an emphasis on Eastern Europe, Western and Southern Africa and South and South-East Asia.
  • (2011) Jago, S. with Arocha, L., Brodie, I., Melrose, M. Pearce, J., Warrington, C. What’s going on to safeguard children and young people from sexual exploitation. Luton, University of Bedfordshire.
  • (2010) ‘Theoretical Perspectives on Understanding Slavery: Past and Present Challenges’ in Wyle, G. and McRedmond, P. (eds.) Human Trafficking in Europe: Character, Causes and Consequences. Great Britain: Palgrave MacMillan. (pages 30-40).
  • (2010) Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group. Wrong Kind of Victim – One year on, an analysis of UK measures to protect trafficked persons. London: Anti-Slavery International.
  • (2007) Review of Johnson, Ericka. ‘Dreaming of a Mail-Order Husband. Russian-American Internet Romance’ Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale.
  • (2008) Slavery in the Indian Ocean and Indian Sub-continent: the past and present. WISE, University of Hull, Hull, UK.
  • (2006) with Sikora, M. First evaluation of the Diversion Scheme for street prostitution in Tower Hamlets, London, UK.


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 03:57:00