Tag Archives for forced labour

Ethical Certification Doesn’t Eradicate Forced Labour

In the tea industry, on almost every indicator we used to measure labour standards, certified plantations fared about the same, if not worse, as non-certified plantations. Buying ethically certified products makes us feel better about the things we buy, but what evidence do we have that these programs actually work? Staring at tea boxes lining the grocery store shelf one … Continue reading

21 October 2018 by
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The Endemic Problem of Forced Labour in Global Tea and Cocoa Supply Chains

What do tea and cocoa have in common? Both products are widely consumed by households around the world; the early world market for both industries was intertwined with the history of colonialism; and in today’s global economy, both products are made with forced labour. Over the past two years, I’ve led The Global Business of Forced Labour research project, funded by the … Continue reading

27 September 2018 by
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Unions in the 21st century: adapt to survive, co-opt to grow

Could a clever campaign make support for unions an integral part of corporate social responsibility? It has always surprised me how rarely trade unions are raised in the conversation on forced labour. Their fundamental purpose is to secure better conditions for workers, in part by using collective action to identify and rectify the structural and systemic problems occurring within their … Continue reading

27 July 2018 by
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Understanding vulnerability to forced labour in global supply chains

Forced labour is prevalent in the tea and cocoa industries and is happening in the context of widespread labour abuse In my remarks at an ETI Ethical Insights discussion on what drives modern slavery in global supply chains, I outlined findings from my Global Business of Forced Labour project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The project systematically mapped the business … Continue reading

25 June 2018 by
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The political economy of forced labour

Genevieve LeBaron

‘Confronting Root Causes: Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains’, a new report that call for innovative approaches to tackle forced labour in global supply chains is published today. The first chapter of the report is republished here. It is by now widely recognised that effectively tackling forced labour in the global economy means addressing its ‘root causes’. Policymakers, business leaders … Continue reading

10 January 2018 by
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New study identifies innovative approaches to tackle forced labour in global supply chains

A major new report published today proposes new policy interventions to tackle previously unaddressed root causes of exploitative work conditions. ‘Confronting Root Causes: Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains’, is published by researchers from Beyond Trafficking and Slavery, an organisation that studies labour exploitation, in partnership with SPERI. Dr Genevieve LeBaron, leader of SPERI’s Labour and Work in the Global Political … Continue reading

10 January 2018 by
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Overseas anti-slavery initiatives flourish, but domestic governance gaps persist

UK-based companies are ramping up efforts to combat slavery in their overseas supply chains. But companies also need to be working harder to address the severe labour exploitation taking place at home. The passage of the UK 2015 Modern Slavery Act has prompted companies to be more open about their efforts to combat forced labour in global supply chains. To … Continue reading

14 September 2017 by
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Mandatory transparency, discretionary disclosure

Genevieve LeBaron

New transparency regulations in some places theoretically require companies to report on forced labour in their supply chains, but a new review finds that’s not what’s happening The challenge of governing labour standards globally has never been greater. Incidents such as Apple’s detection of ‘bonded servitude’ at its major subsidiary factories in China; the discovery of slave labour in the Thai prawn industry, … Continue reading

23 November 2016 by
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Rethinking Recovery: Poverty chains and global capitalism

Reorienting value generated within ‘global poverty chains’ is essential to improve the lives of an impoverished world labour force Contemporary global capitalism is characterised by extreme wealth concentration and a rapidly expanding and largely impoverished global labour force. Mainstream institutions such as the World Bank and International Labour Organisation encourage integration into global value chains as a development strategy that, … Continue reading

12 July 2016 by
Categories: Development, Economics, Global crisis, Inequality, Rethinking Recovery, SPERI Comment, trade | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SPERI-WOERRC workshop: real recovery will require decent work

Academics and labour market experts from across the UK met in Sheffield on May 26-27, 2016 for a workshop hosted by SPERI and WOERRC (Work Organisation and Employment Relations Research Centre) and funded by the ESRC. The papers presented uncovered the impacts of the austerity-based recovery model on the domestic labour market, as well as on labour conditions in global supply … Continue reading

31 May 2016 by
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Call for Papers: Conceptualizing Labour ‘Unfreedom’ and Degradation Along the Supply Chain

WOERRC SPERI Workshop at the University of Sheffield, May 26-27, 2016   Since the economic crisis of 2008-2009, labour unfreedom has intensified at the bottom end of the labour market. Working conditions, remuneration, and collective bargaining rights have stagnated or declined for large-swathes of the low-waged workforce. At the same time, evidence from several sectors suggests that the practices commonly … Continue reading

10 March 2016 by
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Inaugural Professorial Lecture by Nicola Phillips

Last night, Professor Nicola Phillips, SPERI Associate Fellow and Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics, delivered her inaugural professorial lecture at the University of Sheffield. In a wide-ranging and powerfully argued lecture, which was entitled ‘Forced Labour and Human Trafficking in the Global Economy’, Nicola set out and explained the complex array of interlocking symmetries of market … Continue reading

10 December 2015 by
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Symposium on Forced Labour Research

The first of two symposia on forced labour took place in the Sheffield Town Hall on Thursday 8th October and Friday 9th October. Organised by SPERI Research Fellow, Genevieve LeBaron, as part of her British Academy Rising Star award, the symposium brought together an interdisciplinary group of international expert scholars who focused on one pressing issue: the lack of reliable … Continue reading

12 October 2015 by
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Inequality Redux III

Genevieve LeBaron

Fighting slavery, flaming labour exploitation? Growing wealth and power inequalities between classes, and between business and workers, is fuelling labour exploitation.  And the UK’s Modern Slavery Bill – set to become law in March 2015 – will do little to stop it.  Forced labour is not an isolated issue separable from labour exploitation more generally.  Both are driven by inequality … Continue reading

5 March 2015 by
Categories: Economics, Inequality, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, trade | Tags: , , , , | 1 comment

Time to get serious about forced labour in supply chains

Genevieve LeBaron

We now know that our shopping carts are full of forced labour. So why are governments and industry doing so little to stop it? In June 2014, The Guardian ran a headline news story revealing the widespread use of conditions it described as modern slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour by employers in the Thai prawn industry.  It traced the … Continue reading

7 October 2014 by
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Forced Labour, Trafficking & Slavery BISA-IPEG/ University of Sheffield seminar

We are pleased to announce an upcoming seminar to take place here in Sheffield entitled ‘Forced Labour, Trafficking, and Slavery: The Political Economy of Exploitation and Protection in the 21st Century’. The seminar is jointly hosted by SPERI, The University of Sheffield Department of Politics and Faculty of Social Sciences Migration Research Group, and the British International Studies Association International … Continue reading

28 March 2014 by
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Live Guardian web chat at 1pm today on slavery and supply chains

At 1pm today, Genevieve Le Baron will take place in a live Guardian web chat on ‘how to tackle slavery in supply chains’ with Beate Andrees (Head of the Special Action Programme to combat forced labour, International Labour Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland), Dan Viederman (Chief Executive, Verité, Amherst, US), Andrew Wallis (Chief Executive, Unseen, Bristol, UK), Neill Wilkins (Migration Programme Manager, … Continue reading

5 December 2013 by
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What do food, construction and cannabis have in common?

A report by Genevieve Le Baron was published this week (on Monday 18th November) on the business of forced labour in the UK’s food, construction and cannabis industries by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The paper entitled Forced Labour’s Business Models & Supply Chains was launched yesterday at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation office in London, and has generated a wealth of publicity already. Genevieve … Continue reading

20 November 2013 by
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