Vaughn, Leona

Vulnerable Populations Lead

  • Leona Vaughn

    Research Interests

    • Human trafficking
    • Modern Slavery


    • Doctorate in Sociology Social Policy & Criminology – University of Liverpool
    • Master of Research in Social Research - University of Liverpool
    • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology - University of Liverpool

    Biographical Statement

    Dr Leona Vaughn is the Vulnerable Populations Lead for the Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) initiative, a project based at United Nations University Centre for Policy Research.

    Dr Vaughn is a sociologist with over 25 years of experience working as an equalities and social justice expert, both nationally and internationally, within higher education, civil society and government, including as Chief Executive of the UK hate crime charity Anthony Walker Foundation and Non-Executive Director of the Liverpool FC Charitable Foundation.

    She worked on the first-ever public prosecution policy on race hate crimes as National Policy Advisor at the Crown Prosecution Service for England and Wales and pioneered an award-winning positive action scholarship scheme with the UK Attorney General’s office to address the persistent underrepresentation of Black prosecutors.

    More recently, at the University of Liverpool (UK), Dr Vaughn has worked on a number of interdisciplinary international projects with academic, civil society and community-based partners researching risk, vulnerability and labour exploitation globally, and the impacts on racialized and minoritized populations, especially women and children.

    This work includes the Clothes, Chocolate and Children: Realising the Transparency Dividend project, researching the impact of the Transparency in Supply Chains section of the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015) on the lived experience of workers and children in the cocoa and garments sectors in Bangladesh, Ghana, Dominican Republic and Myanmar, and Enhancing Safeguarding in Efforts to Address Modern Slavery through the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, an exploration of safeguarding concepts and victim/survivor-centred practices in antislavery/anti-trafficking community-led research projects in Western, Eastern and Central Africa. In 2020, Dr Vaughn led a consultancy team to deliver the UK Collaborative for Development Research (UKCDR) international consultation on safeguarding, part of the research community’s response to the abuses revealed in Haiti. The resulting report and Safeguarding Guidance was adopted by all UK Research Councils within the collaborative.

    Dr Vaughn holds a Doctorate in Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology and a Master’s degree in Social Research.