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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2010

Claire Griffiths and Kevin Bales

Kevin Bales' work on contemporary slavery has brought this under‐researched field of social enquiry to the attention not only of the academic world but to a wider global…

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Abstract

Purpose

Kevin Bales' work on contemporary slavery has brought this under‐researched field of social enquiry to the attention not only of the academic world but to a wider global audience through his prolific publishing, his film work and not least his presidency of Free the Slaves, the US anti‐slavery organisation. The purpose of this paper is to explore some of his findings and methodologies currently prevailing in this field.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on an interview with Kevin Bales conducted in April 2009 and subsequent discussions with Claire Griffiths.

Findings

Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, the book that brought Bales global recognition over a decade ago, reinstated slavery as a key human rights issue on the research agenda for the twenty‐first century. This interview is condensed from a longer discussion between Kevin Bales and Claire Griffiths on researching contemporary slavery. In this conversation they explore the relationship between slavery, trafficking and prostitution, a theme that leads the discussion to the gendered nature of slavery through the centuries. The interview concludes with some indications of where slavery studies research is going in the twenty‐first century.

Originality/value

This paper provides new insights into the emerging and interdisciplinary field of modern slavery studies.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2022

Kathyayini Kathy Rao, Roger Leonard Burritt and Katherine Christ

There is a growing concern over the need for greater transparency of quality information by companies about modern slavery to contribute toward elimination of the…

Abstract

Purpose

There is a growing concern over the need for greater transparency of quality information by companies about modern slavery to contribute toward elimination of the practice. Hence, this paper aims to examine factors behind the quality of voluntary modern slavery disclosures and major sources of pressure on Australian company disclosures in a premodern slavery legislated environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis and cross- sectional regression modeling are conducted to analyze factors determining the quality of voluntary modern slavery disclosures of the top 100 firms listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and their implications for institutional pressures.

Findings

Results indicate that size, assurance by Big-4 firms and publication of stand-alone modern slavery statements are significant drivers of disclosure quality in the sample. Profitability, listing status and the degree of internationalization are found to be unrelated to the quality of voluntary modern slavery disclosures. Industry classification is significant but only partly supports the prediction, and further investigation is recommended.

Practical implications

This paper provides a foundation for regulators and companies toward improving the quality of their modern slavery risk disclosures with a particular focus on prior experience, assurance and size. In practice, contrary to suggestions in the literature, results indicate that monetary penalties are unlikely to be an effective means for improving the quality of modern slavery disclosure. Results of the study provide evidence of poor quality of disclosures and the need for improvement, prior to introduction of modern slavery legislation in Australia in 2018. It also confirms that regulation to improve transparency, through the required publication of a modern slavery statement, is significant but not enough on its own to increase disclosure quality.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first research examining company level factors with an impact on voluntary modern slavery disclosure quality and the links to institutional pressures, prior to the introduction of the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 11 June 2014

In this introductory chapter, the main issues running through Child Labour in Global Society are identified and a perspective on making sense of these issues is outlined.

Abstract

In this introductory chapter, the main issues running through Child Labour in Global Society are identified and a perspective on making sense of these issues is outlined.

The central concern is child labour within the schooling process of modern and modernizing societies under globalization, that process through which children’s labour power is produced for consumption during the process itself and beyond.

The driving issue is the implications of the compulsory aspect of schooling given prevailing notions of ‘slavery’, and especially that definition which is well established in law on all planes from the international to the regional to the domestic.

Given these notions, the question arises: ‘can the modern schooling process be regarded as enslaving?’

The view that slaves are commoditized people is addressed, along with the argument that the commodification of people is a culturally contingent process.

From the ‘processual perspective’, slavery at the individual and societal levels appears as a process of transformation that involves changes and phases.

Just as individual slaves undergo transformations in their social status, so societies undergo transformations over various matters relating to slavery, including which people can be enslaved, what counts as slavery, and so on.

The claim that in modern and modernizing societies, people are enslaved in so far as they are compulsorily required to perform labour within the schooling process is introduced, as is the argument that such slavery is endorsed by human rights law and agreements, not least by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Book part
Publication date: 22 July 2021

Jelena Brankovic

Rankings are widely regarded as particularly well-suited for capturing the public eye, which is considered a reason why they have become ubiquitous. However, we know…

Abstract

Rankings are widely regarded as particularly well-suited for capturing the public eye, which is considered a reason why they have become ubiquitous. However, we know little about how rankings direct media attention, as well as how media in turn shape and help sustain careers of specific rankings in the public over longer periods of time. To advance our understanding of the discursive dynamics at the intersection of rankings and the press, this study examines the media career of the Global Slavery Index (GSI) by analyzing 361 newspaper and magazine articles, published between the release of index’s inaugural edition in 2013 and until the end of 2019. To interpret the media coverage, the study draws attention to GSI’s universality, highly rationalized character, and a pledge to spotlight violation of the global moral order. The examination of the media coverage points to the following properties of the index as having shaped and helped sustain its career in the public: (1) repeated publication; (2) broad conceptualization of modern slavery; and (3) the construction thereof as a measurable global burden. The study finds that, throughout the period, the media were remarkably consistent in amplifying the most dramatic elements of the index. Over time, however, the index was increasingly more invoked for other purposes, usually either to lend credibility to a story or as a way of embedding local and situational concerns into global narratives.

Details

Worlds of Rankings
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-106-9

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 March 2022

Kezban Yagci Sokat and Nezih Altay

Modern slavery is a humanitarian problem that affects global supply chains. Given the increasing pressures from legislature, consumers and investors, firms have a growing…

Abstract

Purpose

Modern slavery is a humanitarian problem that affects global supply chains. Given the increasing pressures from legislature, consumers and investors, firms have a growing interest in eliminating forced labor and modern slavery from their supply chains. However, the impact of modern slavery on firm performance has not been shown before. This paper aims to investigate the impact of modern slavery allegations on companies’ operational performance. It also looks at the role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts with respect to modern slavery.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collect news articles on modern slavery in the global supply chains. The authors use an event study and use a robust matching method to measure the operational impact of modern slavery allegations. The authors also analyze the effects of media coverage and CSR practices on the relationship between allegations and firm performance.

Findings

The results show that modern slavery allegations do have a negative impact on performance, but this impact does not last long. The authors also show that strong CSR practices help firms mitigate the negative effect of these allegations.

Research limitations/implications

Because the issue is hidden, as a result limited data, the research results may lack generalizability. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to retest the proposed propositions in the future.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for the development of socially responsible supply chains and financial impact.

Originality/value

This paper presents the first empirical research investigating the impact of modern slavery allegations on companies’ operational performance.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 28 March 2022

Renisa Mawani

In the first decades of the nineteenth century to the first decade of the twentieth century, the US Federal and Supreme Courts heard several cases on the legal status of

Abstract

In the first decades of the nineteenth century to the first decade of the twentieth century, the US Federal and Supreme Courts heard several cases on the legal status of ships. During this period, Chief Justice John Marshall and Justice Joseph Story determined that a ship was a legal person that was capable to contract and could be punished for wrongdoing. Over the nineteenth century, Marshall and Story also heard appeals on the illegal slave trade and on the status of fugitive slaves crossing state lines, cases that raised questions as to whether enslaved peoples were persons or property. Although Marshall and Story did not discuss the ship and the slave together, in this chapter, the author asks what might be gained in doing so. Specifically, what might a reading of the ship and the slave as juridical figures reveal about the history of legal personhood? The genealogy of positive and negative legal personhood that the author begins to trace here draws inspiration and guidance from scholars writing critically of slavery. In different ways, this literature emphasises the significance of maritime worlds to conceptions of racial terror, freedom, and fugitivity. Building on these insights, the author reads the ship and the slave as central characters in the history of legal personhood, a reading that highlights the interconnections between maritime law and the laws of slavery and foregrounds the changing intensities of Anglo imperial power and racial and colonial violence in shaping the legal person.

Details

Interrupting the Legal Person
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-867-8

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 February 2022

Peter Jones and Daphne Comfort

Modern slavery has been identified as a problem in the construction industry, but the issue has received very limited attention in the academic literature. This…

Abstract

Purpose

Modern slavery has been identified as a problem in the construction industry, but the issue has received very limited attention in the academic literature. This exploratory paper looks to explore one of the ways in which the United Kingdom (UK)'s largest housebuilding companies have publicly addressed the issue by reviewing their modern slavery statements.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a simple methodological approach to review the modern slavery statements of the largest housebuilding companies within the UK and offers some reflections on these statements.

Findings

The findings identified a number of policy and practice responses, which characterised the selected housebuilding companies' approaches to modern slavery. The companies' approaches to modern slavery statements were seen as aspirational and perhaps best described as a work in progress.

Research limitations/implications

The authors recognise that the paper has a number of limitations. The empirical material for the review is drawn exclusively from the corporate websites of the selected housebuilding companies at a set point in time and does not include any primary information supplied by, or obtained from, the companies' executives, managers or employees or any information obtained from the companies' contractors, subcontractors or suppliers.

Originality/value

The paper offers an exploratory review of the modern slavery statements published by the largest housebuilding companies within the UK. As such, the review makes a small contribution to addressing a gap in the academic literature on modern slavery within the housebuilding industry and will hopefully stimulate future research in the field.

Details

Property Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-7472

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2011

Dylan Rodríguez

A devastating racial logic remains at play in the moment of a “post-civil rights” Black presidency. Barack Obama's ascent has amplified a national mythology of racial…

Abstract

A devastating racial logic remains at play in the moment of a “post-civil rights” Black presidency. Barack Obama's ascent has amplified a national mythology of racial progress in the US multiculturalist age. This mythology has fundamentally undermined both the credibility and critical traction of existing scholarly-activist languages of racism, antiracism, white supremacy, and institutionalized racial dominance. Thus, the discourse of national-racial vindication that animates Obama's ascendance can and must be radically opposed with creative historical narrations. These narrations must attempt to explain how and why systems of racial dominance and state-condoned, state-sanctioned racist violence remain central to the shaping of our present tense. The chapter approaches this problematic by examining how the historical social logics of racial chattel slavery cannot be historically compartmentalized and temporally isolated into a discrete “past,” because they are genocidal in their structuring and are thus central to the constitution of our existing social and cultural systems. The apparatus of the North American racial chattel institution must be theorized in its present tense articulations because its logics of power, domination, and violence have never really left us. The essay offers a schematic elaboration of this reconceptualization of racial genocide focusing on how the slavery's abolition in the latter-19th century provides the political, cultural, and legal basis for slavery's “reform” into the apparatuses of policing, criminalization, widespread and state-sanctioned antiblack bodily violence, and ultimately massive imprisonment. This examination allows for an elaboration of how slavery's genocidal social logics permeate the present tense social formation, particularly at the site of massive racial criminalization and imprisonment.

Details

Rethinking Obama
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-911-1

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 20 April 2022

Ana Paula Londe Silva

Adam Smith recognized that slavery, despite its economic disadvantages, was the rule rather than the exception in the eighteenth-century commercial society. How did he

Abstract

Adam Smith recognized that slavery, despite its economic disadvantages, was the rule rather than the exception in the eighteenth-century commercial society. How did he explain the massive employment of enslaved Africans in the American and Caribbean colonies? Several scholars have been highlighting that Smith attributed the persistence of slavery to an almost natural inclination of humanity toward tyranny and dominion. However, the mere reference to the love of domination is not enough to fully answer the question above. This paper addresses another feature of Adam Smith’s account of Atlantic slavery: the relation between the love of domination and the mercantile policies regulating colonial trade. We conclude that Smith saw the extraordinary profitability arising from such policies as an enabling condition to the massive employment of slave labor in the sugar and tobacco colonies.

Details

Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including a Symposium on David Gordon: American Radical Economist
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-990-3

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 20 December 2017

Rasmus Sielemann

Drawing upon recent interests in Michel Foucault’s anti-essentialist conception of the state, I provide an analysis of state power in colonial slave societies that is…

Abstract

Drawing upon recent interests in Michel Foucault’s anti-essentialist conception of the state, I provide an analysis of state power in colonial slave societies that is attentive to the ongoing processes of “statification” and governmentalization of the state. This approach represents an alternative to classic state theory, which seems inadequate to describe the diverse political context of Caribbean colonial slave societies.

I apply the Foucauldian conception of the state to the empirical case of the Danish West Indies in the second half of the 18th century. Here, I focus on the problem of public order and its formation in relation to growing concerns over general economic, social, demographic, and political risks that the institution of slavery posed to colonial society. I argue that the slave laws of the 18th century can be seen as a governmental strategy to manage the risks of slavery by constituting a public order that would be subject to policing by the state. I also argue, however, that the specific circumstances of colonial slavery shaped the regulative practices toward the necessities of a flexible, adjustable, responsive government. I suggest that this should be interpreted as a governmental strategy calibrated to the realities of the specificities of colonial rule, rather than simply a reflection of incoherence and incompetence on the part of colonial authorities. The larger argument is that actual state practices have to be seen as results of problems of government in a given context, and as a function of the dynamic and reciprocal processes of government.

Details

Rethinking the Colonial State
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-655-6

Keywords

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