About Beyond Trafficking and Slavery

Beyond Trafficking and Slavery (BTS) seeks to help those trying to understand forced labour, trafficking and slavery by combining the rigour of academic scholarship with the clarity of journalism. Our goal is to use evidence-based advocacy to unveil the structural political, economic, and social root causes of global exploitation.

Contributing Editors  |  Advisory Board

Contributing Editors

Neil Howard

Neil Howard

Neil Howard is Prize Fellow in International Development at the University of Bath. His research focusses on the governance of exploitative and so-called 'unfree' labour and in particular the various forms of it targeted for eradication by the Sustainable Development Goals. He conducts ethnographic and participatory action research with people defined as victims of trafficking, slavery, child labour and forced labour, and political anthropological research on the institutions that seek to protect them. Presently he is exploring the use of action research and unconditional cash transfers as potential policy responses to indecent or exploitative work. His book Child Trafficking, Youth Labour Mobility and the Politics of Protection was published in 2017 by Palgrave Macmillan. He is a Founding Editor of Beyond Trafficking and Slavery and sits on the Steering Committee of the Children and Work Network. You can follow him on twitter @NeilPHoward.

Emily Kenway

Emily Kenway

Emily Kenway is a writer and activist. She is a former policy adviser to the NGO Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) and to the UK's first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Prior to that, Emily spent several years working on a range of social justice campaigns, often with a focus on workers and the private sector. She is on the board of the Public Interest Research Centre and Common Wealth think tank and is currently embarking on her second book, on care. She tweets at: @emilykenway.

Prabha Kotiswaran

Prabha Kotiswaran

Dr Prabha Kotiswaran is Professor of Law & Social Justice at King's College London. Her main areas of research include criminal law, transnational criminal law, sociology of law, postcolonial theory and feminist legal theory. She has authored Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India (Princeton 2011, winner of the 2012 SLSA-Hart Prize for Early Career Academics) and co-authored Governance Feminism: An Introduction (Minnesota 2018, with Janet Halley, Rachel Rebouché and Hila Shamir). She has edited Sex Work(Women Unlimited, Delhi 2011), Towards an Economic Sociology of Law (Wiley 2013, with Amanda Perry-Kessaris and Diamond Ashiagbor), Revisiting the Law and Governance of Trafficking, Forced Labor and Modern Slavery(Cambridge University Press 2017) and Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field (Minnesota 2019, with Janet Halley, Rachel Rebouché and Hila Shamir). She is currently working on an ERC funded project on the laws of social reproduction .

Julia O'Connell Davidson

Julia Davidson

Julia O’Connell Davidson is a professor in social research at the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol. She has a longstanding research interest in work and economic life, which she has explored through studies of employment relations in the privatized utilities, as well as through research on sex work and sex tourism. Since 2001, she has been involved in research on various aspects of ‘human trafficking’, as well as on child migration, child ‘trafficking’ and children’s rights. Julia currently holds an ERC Advanced Grant for a project titled 'Modern Marronage? The Pursuit and Practice of Freedom in the Contemporary World', which explores how Atlantic World histories of enslaved people's marronage and fugitivity, and of post-emancipation struggles for freedom, might add to our understanding of the contemporary pursuit and practice of freedom on the part of migrant, refugee, and other marginalised and rightless peoples. This 5-year project includes fieldwork studies in Brazil, Ghana, and Europe. Julia is author of Modern Slavery: The Margins of Freedom, Palgrave (2015), and Children in the Global Sex Trade (2005, Polity), among others.

Sam Okyere

Sam Okyere

Sam is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bristol. He holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy and Administration from the University of Nottingham. He is primarily interested in sociological, anthropological and policy analysis of childhood, child rights, human rights, social justice, (in)equality, globalisation, migration, racism and identity. He has researched children’s involvement in artisanal gold mining and actively contributes to discussions on this topic and to related debates. Through a number of publications, events and a BBC radio interview, he has argued for more complex analysis of and solutions to this phenomenon and to others deemed to constitute contemporary child or human enslavement. Sam previously worked at the University of Sheffield on a research project on children’s participation rights in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

Joel Quirk

Joel Quirk

Joel Quirk is a Professor of Politics at the University of the Witwatersrand. His research focuses on slavery and abolition, human mobility and human rights, global governance and the political economy of human rights activism, repairing historical wrongs, and the history and politics of sub-Saharan Africa. Recent works include Mobility Makes States (Penn, 2015), and Contemporary Slavery (Cornell, 2018). 

Gabriella Sanchez

Gabriella Sanchez

Gabriella Sanchez is Research Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Florence, Italy. She is an ethnographer interested in the everyday dynamics of irregular migration facilitation. Her work (carried out in the Americas, North Africa, the Middle East and Europe) draws from the experiences and perspectives of migrants and the people behind their journeys. She is the author of Human Smuggling and Border Crossings (Routledge 2016) and co-editor of the 2018 Special Issue on Migrant Smuggling of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

Elena Shih

Elena Shih

Elena Shih is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University. Her current book project, Manufacturing Freedom: Trafficking Rescue, Rehabilitation, and the Slave Free Good, is based off 40 months of ethnographic participant observation of the transnational movement to combat human trafficking in China, Thailand, and the US. She is also a Faculty Fellow leading the Human Trafficking Research Cluster through Brown's Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. She tweets at: @uhlenna.

Cameron Thibos

Cameron Thibos

Cameron Thibos is the managing editor of Beyond Trafficking and Slavery. He previously worked as a research associate at the Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute in Florence. Cameron received his D.Phil in 2014 from the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford.

Advisory Board

Bridget Anderson

Bridget Anderson is Professor of Mobilities, Migration and Citizenship at the University of Bristol. She was previously Research Director at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Controls (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Doing the Dirty Work? The Global Politics of Domestic Labour (Zed Books, 2000). In her research, Bridget explores the tension between labour market flexibilities and citizenship rights. Her interest in labour demand has meant an engagement with debates about trafficking and modern day slavery, which in turn led to an interest in state enforcement and deportation, and in the ways immigration controls increasingly impact on citizens as well as on migrants. Bridget has worked closely with migrants’ organisations, trades unions and legal practitioners at local, national and international level.

Read Bridget Anderson's contributions to openDemocracy

Sharan Burrow

Sharan Burrow has been the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) since June 2010. Prior to this, she held the position of ITUC President since its Founding Congress in Vienna (November 2006) and the position of President of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) since 2004. She is the first woman to have held any of these positions. Sharan was previously Vice-President of Education International from 1995 to 2000. Education International is the international organisation of education unions representing 24 million members worldwide. Sharan became the second woman to be elected President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in May 2000, and in October 2000 she also became the first woman to be elected President of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Asia Pacific Region Organisation. She has also served as a member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation and as a member of the Stakeholder Council of the Global Reporting Initiative.

Read Sharan Burrow's contributions to openDemocracy

Ali Moussa Iye

Ali Moussa Iye is Chief of the History and Memory for Dialogue Section of UNESCO, where he runs the Slave Route Project and the General and Regional Histories Project (including history of humanity, general history of Africa, general history of Caribbean, history of civilisations of Central Asia, general history of Latin America, and the different aspects of Islamic Culture). Prior to this, he was Coordinator of the UNESCO Programme of Culture of Peace in the Horn of Africa based in Addis Ababa. He then ran the Democracy Programme and finally the Programme on the Fight against Racism and Discrimination at UNESCO headquarters.

Parallel to his functions within UNESCO, Ali continues his research in the field of political anthropology, in particular on the democratic traditions and customary laws of Somali Pastoralists. He has published in several research books and international reviews and journals on the Horn of Africa. He is the author of a pioneer work on the ‘pastoral democracy’ of Somalis, “Le verdict de l’Arbre : essai sur une démocratie endogène africaine”. Ali holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Political Sciences in Grenoble, France. Before joining UNESCO in 1997, he occupied different positions in his home country of Djibouti, including working as a journalist and editor in chief.

Read Ali Moussa Iye's contributions to openDemocracy

Kamala Kempadoo

Kamala Kempadoo is Professor in the Department of Social Science at York University (Toronto). She also holds appointments in the graduate programmes in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies, Political Science, Social and Political Thought, and Development Studies. She is a former director of the Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought at York University. She has lived and worked in Britain, the Netherlands, the USA, several countries in the Dutch- and English-speaking Caribbean, and, since 2002, in Canada. Her areas of specialisation include: transnational and Caribbean feminisms, human trafficking discourses, studies of sexual labour-economic relations, Black studies, Caribbean studies, and gender and development. Kamala is the author of several books, including: Global Sex Workers (Routledge 1998); Sun, Sex and Gold: Tourism and Sex Work in the Caribbean (Rowman and Littlefield 1999); Sexing the Caribbean: Gender, Race and Sexual Labour (Routledge 2004) and Trafficking and Prostitution Reconsidered: New Perspectives on Migration, Sex Work, and Human Rights (Paradigm 2005/2012).

Read Kamala Kempadoo's contributions to openDemocracy

Sally Engle Merry

Sally Engle Merry is Silver Professor of Anthropology at New York University and faculty Co-director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law. Her research interests include anthropology of law; human rights; gender and race; forms of governance; audit culture, and governmentality. She is the author most recently of Gender Violence: A Cultural Perspective (2009). Her forthcoming book regards indicators as a technology of knowledge used for human rights monitoring and global governance.

Read Sally Engle Merry's contributions to openDemocracy

Genevieve LeBaron

Genevieve LeBaron is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, Chair of the Yale University Working Group on Modern Slavery, and a UK ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow. With Neil Howard and Cameron Thibos, she founded openDemocracy's Beyond Trafficking Slavery in 2013 and was its Editor from 2013-2017. Her research focuses on the global business of forced labour and the politics and effectiveness of governance initiatives to combat it.  She has held visiting positions at Yale University, the University of California, Berkeley, the International Labour Organization (Geneva), Osgoode Hall Law School, and Sciences Po, Paris. In 2015, Genevieve was awarded the British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award by the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences for her research and policy work on forced labour. Her recent publications can be found here and you can follow her on twitter @glebaron.

Read Genevieve LeBaron's contributions to openDemocracy

Aidan McQuade

Aidan McQuade has been the Director of Anti-Slavery International, the oldest international human rights organisation in the world, since 2006. Prior to this, he worked for over 13 years in humanitarian response, development and human rights. This included periods in Ethiopia and Eritrea working on rural water supply and soil conservation, and Afghanistan. He also spent five years in Angola at the end of the civil war managing an emergency relief programme for over a quarter of a million people in the besieged cities of the interior as well as working with the UN on human rights protection of civilians from military excesses. He wrote his doctorate on ethical choice making in professional practice.

Charles W. Mills

Charles W. Mills is John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University. He works in the general area of social and political philosophy, particularly in oppositional political theory as centered on class, gender, and race. His first book, The Racial Contract (Cornell University, 1997), won a Myers Outstanding Book Award for the study of bigotry and human rights in North America. His second book, Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (Cornell University, 1998), was a finalist for the award for the most important North American work in social philosophy of that year. His most recent book is a collection of his Caribbean essays, Radical Theory, Caribbean Reality: Race, Class and Social Domination (University of the West Indies Press, 2010). Before joining Northwestern, Charles taught at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was a UIC Distinguished Professor.

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Nandita Sharma

Nandita Sharma is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoā and Director of its International Cultural Studies Graduate Certificate Program. She is the author of Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of 'Migrant Workers' in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2006). Nandita supports No Borders movements and those struggling for a global commons, and her research interests address themes of human migration, migrant labor, national state power, ideologies of racism and nationalism, processes of identification and self-understanding, and social movements for justice.

Read Nandita Sharma's contributions to openDemocracy

Ronald Weitzer

Ronald Weitzer is Professor of Sociology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He has published extensively in the areas of sex work and human trafficking, including an edited book Sex For Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry (Routledge 2010) and Legalizing Prostitution: From Illicit Vice to Lawful Business (New York University Press, 2012). He has conducted ethnographic research on legal prostitution systems in Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands, and is the co-editor of a special issue devoted to human trafficking of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (May 2014).

Read Ronald Weitzer's contributions to openDemocracy

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