Genevieve LeBaron is a Research Fellow at SPERI and Professor of Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations.

Her research draws from international theory in order to understand forced labour and labour standards in the global economy. Based on original research gathered through field-based methods including ethnography, surveys, interviews, and supply chain mapping, her research investigates the vital role of forced labour in contemporary business, exploring why and how it emerges and the reasons for its resilience. She is particularly interested in how the changing nature, power, and ownership structure of corporations is impacting labour standards in the global economy. She also researches the effectiveness of corporate social responsibility and state-based regulation in combatting forced labour in supply chains.

Genevieve’s research has attracted international recognition within and beyond academia. She was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada in 2020 and has received several prizes, including the British Academy’s Rising Star Award, UK ESRC Future Research Leaders fellowship, and multiple best paper awards. She has been included in the 2018 UK Top 100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers and the 2017 global Top 100 Human Trafficking & Slavery Influence Leaders lists, alongside world leaders from the UK and US governments and industry leaders from companies like Apple and Ford. Her research has been covered widely in the media, including by The New York Times, Financial Times, Forbes, The Guardian, The Economist, and the BBC.

She has successfully completed research grants from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences; British Academy / UK Department for International Development (DFID); Ford Foundation; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC); Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF); and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, amongst others.

Genevieve joined the University of Sheffield as Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in 2013. Prior to that, she was a Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. She has held visiting positions at around the world, including at Yale University, the International Labour Organization in Geneva, the University of California, Berkeley, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Sciences Po, Paris.

In 2015-2016, she held the prestigious Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Fellowship at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, part of the MacMillan Center at Yale University, and continues to lead the Yale Modern Slavery Working Group, based at the Center.

Further information about Genevieve can be found at

Research Interests

Genevieve’s work is at the forefront of the emerging evidence base on forced labour, human trafficking, and slavery in the global economy. Since 2008, she has been investigating the business of forced labour, and its role and dynamics within domestic and global supply chains.

She currently leads two major research grants. The first, Understanding the Impact of Covid-19 on Modern Slavery in Global Garment Supply Chains, has been awarded by the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre through the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and runs through March 2021. It will be conducted in collaboration with the Worker Rights Consortium.  The second, Restructuring Business Models and Supply Chains to Promote Fair, Equitable Labour Standards and Worker Rights in the Face of Pandemic, will be conducted in collaboration with colleagues at Yale University and Stanford University. It runs through August 2021 and is supported by Humanity United, in partnership with The Freedom Fund.She is also Co-Investigator on the SSHRC grant, The Hidden Costs of Global Supply Chains, based at the University of British Columbia’s Global Reporting Centre. This grant brings scholars and journalists together to research and report on the complexities of global trade, and includes partnerships with The New York Times, Frontline, NBC News, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Google News Lab, and others.

Key Publications


Journal Articles

Journal Special Issues