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GLOBE Webinar | Combatting Modern Slavery: Why Labour Governance is Failing and What We Can Do About It

Thursday June 10, 2021, from 15:00 to 16:00
Research seminar

Genevieve LeBaron (Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, University of Sheffield)

Webinar available in video:

Genevieve LeBaron (Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, University of Sheffield) joins the GLOBE Webinar Series to discuss her new book "Combatting Modern Slavery: Why Labour Governance is Failing and What We Can Do About It" (Polity, 2020). A discussant will then offer reflections before a Q&A with the audience.

The GLOBE Webinar Series – The Future of Global Governance – presents the latest and most cutting-edge research in global governance and gives audience members the opportunity to directly engage with leading scholars in the field. Each webinar focuses on a significant new book that has potential to shape future thought on global governance, featuring a presentation by the author, an intervention from an expert discussant, and a Q&A session with the audience.

Participation is free and the webinar can be joined from anywhere in the world. Access the GLOBE Webinar Channel and check the featured videos for the past webinars

About the book: Over the last decade, the world's largest corporations from The Coca-Cola Company to Amazon, Apple to Unilever, have taken up the cause of combatting modern slavery. Yet, by most measures, across many sectors and regions, severe labour exploitation continues to soar. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not working. This book explores why more than twenty years of CSR initiatives have failed to produce worksites that are free of forced labour, modern slavery, and human trafficking, in spite of this being a key aim. Drawing on ground-level data in tea, cocoa, and garment supply chains - including over 1200 interviews with vulnerable workers at the base of global supply chains - the book seeks to understand how dynamics of corporate power, profit, and consolidation and supply chains give rise to forced labour. She will argue that the booming private industry of accounting firms, social auditors and consultants that have emerged to monitor and enforce labour standards do little to disrupt business models configured around forced labour, and ultimately, while CSR serves to bolster corporate growth and legitimacy, it is failing to protect the world's most vulnerable workers.

About the author: Genevieve LeBaron is Professor of Politics and Co-Director of Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) at the University of Sheffield. She is an Editor of Review of International Political Economy. 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.

Moderator: Kari Otteburn (KU Leuven)

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