Genevieve LeBaron https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/15597/all cached version 17/01/2019 12:42:56 en ¿Podemos acabar con el trabajo forzoso para el 2030? https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/genevieve-lebaron/podemos-acabar-con-el-trabajo-forzoso-para-el-2030 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Si la Alianza 8.7 quiere realmente erradicar el trabajo forzoso de las cadenas de suministro, debe realizar un cambio radical en su manera de abordarlo. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/can-world-end-forced-labour-by-2030">English</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/8394332909_b9bd64d445_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Rice farmers working in the field in Kandal province. ILO/ Khem Sovannara/Flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/iloasiapacific/8394332909/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p>El gran interés del mundo en la esclavitud moderna y la trata de personas se debe, en parte, a que se ha demostrado que muchas compañías de marcas de primera línea se benefician de prácticas laborales de explotación en sus cadenas de suministro. Firmas importantes han tenido que tomar medidas y responsabilizarse por sus trabajadoras y trabajadores, presionadas por <a href="https://cleanclothes.org/resources/publications/follow-the-thread-the-need-for-supply-chain-transparency-in-the-garment-and-footwear-industry">campañas</a> y <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">denuncias públicas</a> que comprueban estos vínculos. Además, en los últimos años hemos observado un aumento en el número de iniciativas <a href="http://3blmedia.com/News/Global-Business-Coalition-Against-Human-Trafficking-Expands-Scope-and-Steps-Efforts-End">corporativas</a> y <a href="https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/sb657/resource-guide.pdf">gubernamentales</a> destinadas a mejorar los estándares laborales en todo el mundo. En general, el mecanismo principal adoptado ha sido una mayor transparencia en las cadenas de suministro, y no tanto la regulación punitiva o las sanciones. El argumento es que las «buenas» empresas encontrarán y solucionarán los casos ocultos de explotación, mientras que las «malas» empresas quedarán expuestas y serán castigadas por quienes consumen y el mercado.</p> <p>La tendencia hacia «trabajo decente para todas las personas» renovó su impulso en 2015, cuando Naciones Unidas lo reconoció como uno de los 17 <a href="http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/">Objetivos de desarrollo sostenible (ODS)</a> a alcanzar para el 2030. Desde ese momento, se constituyó una gran red de agentes institucionales conocidos como <a href="http://www.alliance87.org/">Alianza 8.7</a> —bautizada así por la sección del ODS 8 dedicada en particular al trabajo forzoso— para liderar el esfuerzo mundial en torno a este objetivo. Como quizás era de esperar, debido a su composición, reina un gran entusiasmo en la Alianza por el desarrollo de enfoques de gobernanza voluntarios y liderados por el sector privado, para erradicar el trabajo forzoso en las cadenas de suministro. Entre ellos se cuentan aquellos que persiguen una mayor transparencia en estas cadenas. Existe un único problema: hay muy poca evidencia que sustente su entusiasmo.</p> <p>La explotación laboral severa se mantiene como un problema endémico en muchos sectores y regiones del mundo. Un gran conjunto de investigaciones académicas, periodismo de investigación y campañas de trabajadoras y trabajadores ha dejado claro que los abusos laborales tales como el incremento de horas extra obligatorias, el robo de salarios, la manipulación de relaciones entre deudas y créditos, los casos de acoso sexual y violencia, junto a otras formas de coerción y explotación florecen hoy en día en la economía mundial. Si la Alianza 8.7 desea alcanzar su objetivo o avanzar de manera demostrable hacia la erradicación del trabajo forzoso, la trata de personas, la esclavitud moderna y los terribles casos de trabajo infantil dentro de los próximos trece años, debe abordar de forma dramática y significativa las causas fundamentales de estos problemas en las cadenas de suministro globales.</p> <h2>Los límites de la transparencia </h2> <p>Las iniciativas y estrategias en discusión en la actualidad implican, en general, una expansión de las auditorías sociales existentes, las certificaciones éticas y los programas de concienciación. Al perpetuar el statu quo, ignoran el creciente volumen de investigación empírica que <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14747731.2017.1304008">cuestiona</a> la eficacia de estos tipos de programas, y la necesidad de un cambio de enfoque radical para enfrentar este desafío. ¿Por qué?</p> <p>La poca eficacia de las «iniciativas de transparencia» se debe en parte a problemas de diseño. Por ejemplo, la calidad de las auditorías sociales y éticas varía en gran manera porque son las empresas que las realizan las que deciden sobre su profundidad, exigencia y alcance. Además, la mayoría de las auditorías se centran en los proveedores de primer nivel —es decir, en las personas contratadas directamente por la empresa para producción—. Sin embargo, sabemos que <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1748-5991">el trabajo forzoso prospera y afecta a trabajadores y trabajadoras contratadas por agencias laborales</a> o contratistas, y no tanto a productores directos. También aparece entre subcontratistas no autorizados del sector ilegal e informal, desde trabajo desde casa hasta operaciones mineras ilegales. Estas personas raramente son alcanzadas por las auditorías sociales. Asimismo, en general las auditorías se centran en cadenas de suministro de productos y no en las del plantel laboral, lo que ignora las «<a href="https://theconversation.com/why-businesses-fail-to-detect-modern-slavery-at-work-82344?utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=twitterbutton">redes no regularizadas a través de las cuales agentes de terceras partes pueden reclutar y transportar víctimas del trabajo forzoso o de trata de personas para ser utilizadas por empresas</a>».</p> <p>Debido a la gran repercusión de casos de explotación laboral descubiertos recientemente en cadenas de suministro «éticamente certificadas», se cuestiona aún más a las iniciativas corporativas «de buena fe». Entre ellas: el derrumbe de la fábrica textil Rana Plaza en Bangladesh en 2013, poco después de aprobar una auditoría; el descubrimiento de un <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">abuso laboral descontrolado</a>, incluyendo asesinatos por parte de empleadores en el «éticamente certificado» sector pesquero de Tailandia; y el descubrimiento de <a href="http://thesourcefilm.com/">trabajo infantil en plantaciones de café</a> que habían sido certificadas como libres de explotación. Todos estos ejemplos cuestionan la confianza que se deposita en los programas voluntarios de gobernanza de las cadenas de suministro, y plantean serias preguntas sobre la integridad de las iniciativas de «supervisión» llevadas a cabo por la industria. Existe muy poca evidencia sólida del trabajo de las industrias para abordar la lucha contra el trabajo forzoso, la esclavitud moderna, o la trata en las cadenas de suministro globales, y mucha de sus fallas.</p> <h2>Los límites de la legislación «poco severa»</h2> <p>Iniciativas gubernamentales recientes y de gran impacto —como la Ley californiana de transparencia en las cadenas de suministro (2010), la <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/patricia-carrier-joseph-bardwell/how-uk-modern-slavery-act-can-find-its-bite">Ley sobre esclavitud moderna del Reino Unido</a> (2015), y el requerimiento propuesto por Australia para <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/komala-ramachandra/australia-s-modern-slavery-proposal-falls-short">informes sobre la esclavitud moderna en las cadenas de suministro</a>— también priorizan una mayor transparencia antes que castigar las violaciones. Se han aprobado docenas de estas leyes desde 2009, las cuales exigen que las grandes empresas revelen qué están haciendo para prevenir y solucionar el trabajo forzoso en las cadenas de suministro. Sin embargo, en la mayoría de las jurisdicciones no existe sanción para aquellas que informen de no estar haciendo nada. La mayoría de estas leyes son muy poco severas, ya que incrementan las obligaciones de informar pero no establecen responsabilidad extraterritorial, no crean estándares públicos vinculantes y no sancionan el incumplimiento, todo lo cual es fundamental.</p> <p>Mi colega, Andreas Rühmkorf y yo hemos publicado recientemente un <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1758-5899.12398/full">estudio</a> sobre la eficacia de este tipo de legislación en la revista <em>Global Policy</em>. Observamos a 25 empresas importantes e investigamos si sus códigos de conducta, los códigos de conducta de proveedores, los términos y condiciones de compra y la sustentabilidad que reportaban evolucionaron a partir de la entrada en vigor de la Ley sobre esclavitud moderna del Reino Unido y, de ser así, de qué forma sucedió. Encontramos que el progreso significativo fue muy reducido.</p> <h2>Crear una ratonera más eficaz </h2> <p>El enfoque de la Alianza 8.7 frente al trabajo forzoso y la esclavitud en las cadenas de suministro globales debería basarse en la evidencia de lo que funciona. En la actualidad, existe una marcada falta de evidencia sobre la efectividad de las leyes poco severas sobre la transparencia y los esfuerzos voluntarios de las industrias para reducir los casos de explotación laboral en la totalidad de las cadenas de suministro globales. Queda por descubrir si sería mejor comenzar de nuevo o trabajar seriamente para mejorar las iniciativas existentes. En cualquier caso, es importante comprender que el obstáculo principal para tener éxito con cualquiera de las dos opciones no es técnico, sino político.</p> <p>Una característica curiosa de muchas de las iniciativas ya mencionadas es que con frecuencia durante su diseño y ejecución dejan a un lado a trabajadoras y trabajadores, en vez de empoderarlos para ejercer sus derechos y controlar la eficacia de las iniciativas. Además, aun cuando se incluye al plantel laboral en iniciativas de participantes múltiples, éste suele informar de que únicamente se le permitió participar de forma superficial.</p> <p>Esto es una señal de alarma importantísima. Si el objetivo de estas iniciativas es reducir el trabajo forzoso y la esclavitud, entonces las personas empleadas son una parte esencial de la lucha. Nadie tiene más razones para supervisar y promover estándares laborales que ellas y, además, son más efectivas en su trabajo cuando conforman una parte organizada e involucrada de cualquier proceso de ejecución de iniciativas. Los programas de <a href="https://wsr-network.org/">«responsabilidad social de trabajadores y trabajadoras»</a> liderados por grupos como la <a href="http://www.ciw-online.org/">Coalición de Trabajadores de Immokalee</a> en Estados Unidos, por ejemplo, son buenos ejemplos de cómo puede involucrarse al plantel laboral en la gobernanza de la cadena de suministro.</p> <p>Otra gran señal de alarma es el entusiasmo con el que las empresas han aceptado las leyes de transparencia. Un supuesto fundamental en la bibliografía sobre economía política en los negocios es que las empresas se resisten a cualquier regulación que pueda impactar en sus actividades. Aun así, las empresas han estado luchando a favor de estas leyes de transparencia.</p> <p>En el Reino Unido, por ejemplo, el gobierno quitó la cláusula sobre la transparencia en las cadenas de suministro de una versión posterior de la Ley sobre esclavitud moderna, y una coalición industrial lo presionó para que la volviera a incluir. Las empresas no son organizaciones humanitarias benevolentes; cuando luchan por nuevas legislaciones, es necesario cuestionar sus motivos. ¿Se promueve este tipo de leyes en particular para cerrar el camino a formas más severas de legislación? Tales preguntas deben tomarse seriamente en cuenta si se quiere alcanzar un progreso significativo.</p> <p>Para terminar, debemos pensar con cuidado y ser escépticos en extremo con respecto al poder desproporcionado de agentes industriales en el inicio, diseño y ejecución de iniciativas en contra de la esclavitud, tanto públicas como privadas. El poder corporativo impide eliminar de raíz las causas de la explotación laboral en las cadenas de suministro globales. Aunque las razones detrás de la demanda de trabajo forzoso por parte de las empresas varían según el tipo, sector e industria a la que pertenecen, hay patrones claros de las causas fundamentales que pueden ser abordados. Esto, sin embargo, requiere cambios fundamentales en los modelos empresariales dominantes en la economía minorista global. Si la Alianza 8.7 desea tener éxito en esta tarea, eso es lo que debería impulsar.</p> <hr style="border-top: #0061BF 3px solid;margin-bottom:10px;clear:both;" /> <a href="http://gaatw.org/"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/GAATWlogo.png" width="110" alt="GAATWlogo.png" /></a><a href="http://translatorswithoutborders.org/"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/TWB_Logo_RGB_920.jpg" width="220px" style="float:right;margin-top:5px;margin-bottom:15px;" /></a> <p><em>BTS en Español has been produced in collaboration with our colleagues at the <a href="http://gaatw.org/">Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women</a>. Translated with the support of <a href="http://translatorswithoutborders.org/">Translators without Borders</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LanguageMatters?src=hash">#LanguageMatters</a></em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/joel-quirk/ret-rica-y-realidad-del-fin-de-la-esclavitud-moderna">Retórica y realidad del «fin de la esclavitud moderna»</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JOEL QUIRK</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/anne-t-gallagher/el-informe-sobre-la-trata-de-personas-de-eeuu-de-2015-se-ales-de-decliv">El Informe sobre la trata de personas de EE.UU. de 2015: ¿señales de declive?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANNE GALLAGHER</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/benjamin-harkins/por-qu-no-sabemos-si-funcionan-las-iniciativas-contra-la-trata">¿Por qué no sabemos si funcionan las iniciativas contra la trata?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">BENJAMIN HARKINS</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/michael-dottridge/ocho-razones-por-las-que-no-deber-amos-usar-el-t-rmino-esclavitud-mo">Ocho razones por las que no deberíamos usar el término «esclavitud moderna»</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MICHAEL DOTTRIDGE</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/julia-oconnell-davidson-sam-okyere/walk-free-midiendo-la-esclavitud-global-o-enmascara">Walk Free: ¿midiendo la esclavitud global o enmascarando la hipocresía mundial?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JULIA O'CONNELL DAVIDSON AND SAM OKYERE</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/julia-oconnell-davidson-neil-howard/sobre-la-libertad-y-la-inmovilidad-c-mo-el-estado-">Sobre la libertad y la (in)movilidad: cómo el estado crea vulnerabilidad mediante el control del movimiento humano</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">NEIL HOWARD AND JULIA O'CONNELL DAVIDSON</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/neil-howard-sheldon-zhang/tr-fico-de-personas-el-t-nel-que-se-esconde-bajo-el-aparthei">Tráfico de personas: el túnel que se esconde bajo el apartheid económico</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">SHELDON ZHANG AND NEIL HOWARD</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/jenna-holliday-cameron-thibos/entrevista-la-peligrosa-invisibilidad-de-las-mujeres-mig">Entrevista: la peligrosa invisibilidad de las mujeres migrantes</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JENNA HOLLIDAY</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/fran-ois-cr-peau/una-agenda-nueva-para-facilitar-la-movilidad-humana-despu-s-de-las-cu">Una agenda nueva para facilitar la movilidad humana después de las cumbres de Naciones Unidas sobre personas refugiadas y migrantes</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">FRANÇOIS CRÉPEAU</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/chris-gilligan/es-ut-pico-luchar-por-fronteras-abiertas">¿Es utópico luchar por fronteras abiertas?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">CHRIS GILLIGAN</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/ben-lewis-cameron-thibos/entrevista-la-detenci-n-como-nueva-forma-de-gesti-n-migratori">Entrevista: ¿la detención como nueva forma de gestión migratoria?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">BEN LEWIS</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/nandita-sharma/inmovilidad-como-protecci-n-en-el-r-gimen-de-controles-migratorios">Inmovilidad como protección en el régimen de controles migratorios</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">NANDITA SHARMA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/nicola-phillips/qu-tiene-que-ver-el-trabajo-forzoso-con-la-pobreza">¿Qué tiene que ver el trabajo forzoso con la pobreza?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">NICOLA PHILLIPS</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/antonio-de-lauri/las-trabajadoras-y-trabajadores-del-ladrillo-y-la-trampa-de-la-deuda-">Las trabajadoras y trabajadores del ladrillo y la trampa de la deuda en Punyab, Pakistán</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANTONIO DE LAURI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/benjamin-selwyn/promover-el-trabajo-digno-en-las-cadenas-de-suministro-una-entrevista-">¿Promover el trabajo digno en las cadenas de suministro? Una entrevista a Benjamin Selwyn</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">BENJAMIN SELWYN</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/mark-anner/voces-de-la-cadena-de-suministro-una-entrevista-con-mark-anner">Voces de la cadena de suministro: una entrevista con Mark Anner</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARK ANNER</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/sharan-burrow/cadenas-globales-de-suministro-qu-quiere-la-mano-de-obra">Cadenas globales de suministro: ¿qué quiere la mano de obra?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">SHARAN BURROW</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/anannya-bhattacharjee/la-organizaci-n-regional-y-la-lucha-para-conseguir-un-salario-di">La organización regional y la lucha para conseguir un salario digno en Asia</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANANNYA BHATTACHARJEE</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/adam-fishwick/organiz-ndose-contra-la-econom-de-los-peque-os-encargos-gig-economy-lecc">Organizándose contra la economía de los pequeños encargos (gig economy): ¿lecciones de América Latina?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ADAM FISHWICK</span><hr /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery DemocraciaAbierta Genevieve LeBaron BTS en Español Thu, 23 Aug 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron 118842 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: where do we go from here? https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A lot of work remains to be done in order to end forced labour. Thankfully, organisers and advocates around the globe are pioneering promising solutions. It's time to follow their lead.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Conclusion_Facebook.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Illustration by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.carysboughton.com/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>Globalisation's promise was to pull people out of poverty by integrating them into the world market and offering them decent work. It hasn't delivered. Today, hundreds of millions of people are unemployed; more than 75% of the global workforce is on temporary or informal contracts; the ranks of the working poor are expanding daily; the provision of social and labour protection has been reduced; migrant rights are under threat; and exploitative as well as forced labour appear endemic in a number of industries. What is worse, many of the policy efforts aiming to address these problems don’t seem to be working. What, therefore, is to be done? In this, our concluding chapter, we point in a number of promising new directions and outline the kinds of actions that can be and have been taken, as well as suggest several avenues of research that could help strengthen the evidence base on exploitation in the global economy.</p> <h2>What do we know?</h2> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img width="230" style="border: 1px solid black;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>First, let’s review: this report has explored the structural root causes of forced labour in global supply chains. Our core message has been that those roots lie in systemic features of the contemporary global political economy, and that forced labour cannot be successfully tackled without changing these dynamics.</p> <p>The mechanics and structures of the contemporary global economy create both a ‘supply’ of vulnerable workers and a business ‘demand’ for their labour. On the supply side, the key dynamics include poverty, social discrimination, limited labour protection, and restrictive mobility regimes. These, both on their own and in interaction with each other, create a global workforce vulnerable to exploitation. On the demand side, what matters most is the concentration of wealth and ownership, the business models structuring supply chains, major firms’ power to dictate the rules of global production, and the manifold governance gaps which make the business of exploitation not only viable but profitable.</p> <p>These features of the world economy have not evolved spontaneously. Rather, they have been set in motion or catalysed by elite-led processes of neoliberal globalisation that have dramatically changed approaches to economic regulation. States have been fundamental to their institutionalisation, curtailing the structural and individual power of workers to say no and intensifying the structural and individual power of employers to compel them to accept dangerous, risky, and exploitative work. This means that the root causes of forced labour are fundamentally and inherently <em>political</em>.</p> <p>It follows that states and political institutions must take responsibility and push towards genuine solutions. On the supply side, this means tackling distributional questions about poverty and inequality, creating and enforcing meaningful forms of labour and social protection, and responding humanely to the complex dynamics of migration. On the demand side, it means grappling with the dynamics of subcontracting and outsourcing, including in long, complex and informal labour supply chains. It also means asking fundamental questions about the role and power of corporations in the twenty-first century.</p> <h2>What do we still need to learn?</h2> <p>Much is known about the political economy of forced labour, but even more remains to be learned. We need detailed, in-depth and comparative research, with a special focus on causes as well as on the people, institutions and organisations that make the causes of forced labour possible. Below are a few of the key themes that are most urgent for scholars and activists to address.</p> <p><strong>Political economic policy:</strong> It is clear that states produce the conditions needed for forced labour to remain part of many profitable business models, even as sitting governments claim to champion anti-slavery causes. They do this through their political and economic policies relating to labour markets, to immigration and to the regulation of firms. Further research is needed to establish the links between political economic policy frameworks and the prevalence of forced labour and exploitation.</p> <p><strong>Corporate self-regulation:</strong> We know that allowing businesses to police themselves is not enough and we know that the non-enforcement of labour standards helps make forced labour a viable business model. However, further research is needed to understand when, why and how public and private governance of labour standards fall short, and to establish which alternative models of governance could address these failings.</p> <p><strong>Inequality:</strong> The widespread use of forced labour in the contemporary global economy is rarely linked to soaring inequality. Yet our research has led us to believe that the two trends are strongly connected. Although neoliberal discourses have effectively divorced ‘poverty’ from ‘inequality’, arguing that only the former is a problem,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn1" id="ffn1">1</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn2" id="ffn2">2</a>]</sup> the latest research on inequality<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn3" id="ffn3">3</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn4" id="ffn4">4</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn5" id="ffn5">5</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn6" id="ffn6">6</a>]</sup> and the social nature of power<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn7" id="ffn7">7</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn8" id="ffn8">8</a>]</sup> suggests that inequality is in fact causally related to poverty, with higher rates of inequality worsening deprivation. Further research is needed to understand how income and wealth inequality influence the prevalence of forced labour, as well as to explore forms of wealth redistribution that can successfully address it.</p> <p>Beyond these big questions, it is also clear that we need focused research into specific supply chains. Scholars must map the length, breadth and depth of individual chains to parse out the distributions of profit and value between actors along the chain, as well as the labour practices linked to these patterns of distribution.</p> <h2>What is to be done?</h2> <p>Thankfully, although more work is needed, a wealth of struggles from all over the globe are pointing the way towards policies and actions able to push back against the root causes of forced labour. Although these neither form a cohesive global movement nor work from a single overarching theory, they include promising initiatives that together form the pillars of an emerging framework for pushing beyond our current neoliberal impasse. Below, we explore a number of promising initiatives to address both the ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ factors that we have identified.</p> <p><strong>Enforcement of labour standards and innovative, worker-led models:</strong> An immediate and obvious starting point for better enforcement of labour standards is for states to reverse the labour reforms pushed through by neoliberalisation and to drastically increase both the size and mandate of their labour inspectorates. This will require altering budgetary priorities in favour of workers and their rights. Other promising strategies to bolster workplace standards and decrease exploitation include: the creation of penalties for businesses who violate labour standards, such as Brazil’s ‘dirty list’ for companies found to have used forced labour;<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn9" id="ffn9">9</a>]</sup> targeted enforcement of labour standards in sectors and portions of the supply chain with the highest risks of exploitation;<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn10" id="ffn10">10</a>]</sup> and the protection of collective action and the right to organise.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn11" id="ffn11">11</a>]</sup> Given the growing evidence that these new strategies are effective in reducing exploitative practices in supply chains, their potential to reduce forced labour should be investigated and bolstered further.</p> <p>However, in recent years, as governmental monitoring and enforcement of labour standards has decreased, workers’ organisations and advocacy groups have pioneered their own alternative strategies to protect workers from exploitation. These include innovative models of labour standards enforcement, such as formally including unions and workers’ centres as monitors. Found mainly in low-wage sectors in the United States,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn12" id="ffn12">12</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn13" id="ffn13">13</a>]</sup> these models of “co-produced enforcement”<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn14" id="ffn14">14</a>]</sup> have led to decreases in wage theft, unsafe working conditions, discrimination and gender-based violence, and have facilitated the refunds of illegal wage deductions to workers.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn15" id="ffn15">15</a>]</sup> The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a farmworker organisation based in Florida, has pioneered this type of worker-led labour standards enforcement<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn16" id="ffn16">16</a>]</sup> and underpinned it with a worker-drafted code of conduct agreed to by partner firms. Worker-driven social responsibility initiatives have been demonstrated to protect and improve conditions for vulnerable and low-wage workers. As such, they should replace traditional, industry-led corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives – the shortcomings of which have been well-documented – to address forced labour in supply chains.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">As governmental monitoring and enforcement of labour standards has decreased, workers’ organisations and advocacy groups have pioneered their own alternative strategies to protect workers from exploitation.</p> <p><strong>Value re-distribution and living wages in global supply chains:</strong> Activists and workers’ organisations are putting forward a number of novel bargaining strategies to capture a greater share of the value they help to produce, and to achieve living wages in global supply chains. One example is the Asia Floor Wage Campaign,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn17" id="ffn17">17</a>]</sup> a regional initiative to establish a living wage for garment workers across Asia by bargaining with big brands at the helm of clothing and apparel supply chains. By raising the wage floor for all workers within a regional sector, this type of initiative could reduce the demand for forced labour in global supply chains since it ensures workers get a larger share of the pie.</p> <p><strong>Increased public goods provision and basic income:</strong> If being poor increases a person’s vulnerability to forced labour, then policies that reduce poverty will likely reduce the supply of people vulnerable to exploitation. In the age of neoliberalism, with public goods privatised and social protections rolled back, the obvious option is to reverse the neoliberal trend – pushing towards increased social protection, stronger safety nets, more extensive public goods provision, and greater redistribution of wealth.</p> <p>One potential option for doing this is Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). UBI is defined as a regular payment given to all people without means test or work requirement. It seeks to give all people a solid material base, which could in turn provide them with the monetary security they need to walk away from forced labour. Although it has long been theoretically attractive,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn18" id="ffn18">18</a>]</sup> it is now increasingly being tested empirically. UBI is currently being piloted in several locations around the world, and the recent results of a UNICEF trial in India are arresting.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn19" id="ffn19">19</a>]</sup> There, UBI led to an increase in economic activity among the poor and generated improvements in health and welfare indicators ranging from nutrition to sanitation. Its effects also worked against traditional axes of discrimination, resulting in greater benefits for women and the poor than men and the wealthy. Most significantly, however, it engendered a clear decrease in debt bondage, as poor villagers were able either to pay off their debts or to accumulate sufficient cash reserves to avoid indebting themselves in the first place. Given these results, the potential of UBI to contribute to a decreased supply of vulnerable workers should be further explored, in particular with populations vulnerable to or currently experiencing exploitative or forced labour.</p> <p>Yet cash alone may never be enough. For this reason, we must also explore modalities for the provision of basic needs outside of market relations, such as cooperative natural resource management, land redistribution and legally enshrined guarantees of the means of subsistence to all.</p> <p><strong>Better immigration policies and the ‘employer pays’ principle:</strong> If punitive mobility and border control regimes facilitate the use of forced labour, then it follows that policies to ensure safe passage and improve conditions and rules for migrant workers must play an important role in curtailing the supply of workers vulnerable to forced labour. Around the world, migrant workers and migrant rights organisations are pushing for better policies and protections to address the exploitation and untimely death<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn20" id="ffn20">20</a>]</sup> of migrant workers. They are pioneering strategies to protect and empower migrant workers from forced labour. One promising idea that features in many such strategies is the “employer pays principle”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn21" id="ffn21">21</a>]</sup> This recognises that many migrant workers are made vulnerable by the recruitment and service fees they pay to obtain jobs, and seeks to alter that dynamic by shifting the financial burden of recruitment to the employers instead.</p> <p>Efforts to address the vulnerabilities shaped by immigration policy must be closely intertwined with the robust labour standards enforcement systems described above. As Janice Fine and Gregory Lyon, both professors at Rutgers University, have argued, “preventing the exploitation of vulnerable low-wage immigrant workers requires integrating into immigration reform proposals significantly strengthened labour standards enforcement”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn22" id="ffn22">22</a>]</sup> We must be careful though. While all of these strategies are promising methods of curtailing the immediate crisis of widespread worker vulnerability to forced labour, they do not fundamentally transform the power dynamics between employers and workers, nor do they disrupt the political economic processes – such as inequality, immiseration, privatisation or land enclosure – that shape the global political economy.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Efforts to address the vulnerabilities shaped by immigration policy must be closely intertwined with the robust labour standards enforcement systems.</p> <p><strong>Better governance, including a binding global convention on labour standards in supply chains:</strong> Traditional, national, regulatory frameworks – particularly where they are poorly enforced – have proved insufficient for governing labour standards in global supply chains. Put less kindly, they frequently facilitate the use of forced labour by overseas suppliers in global supply chains, and obstruct efforts to hold multinational corporations (MNCs) accountable for the exploitation involved in the creation of their products.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn23" id="ffn23">23</a>]</sup> Stronger governance is needed to effectively curtail MNCs’ ability to legally distance themselves from the abuse and exploitation inherent to their business models and triggered by their purchasing practices.</p> <p>Activists have called for a binding global convention on labour standards in supply chains to close existing legal gaps and loopholes.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn24" id="ffn24">24</a>]</sup> Their demand is backed by mounting evidence that direct MNC accountability for working conditions in their global supply chains is effective in combatting exploitation. For instance, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn25" id="ffn25">25</a>]</sup> signed by major garment companies following the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, has led to improved safety, stronger labour rights and reduced exploitation. Stronger governance – including through initiatives that establish legally binding accountability for lead firms for working conditions along their entire supply chain – is a promising strategy to address the business demand for forced labour.</p> <p><strong>Joint employer and intermediary liability:</strong> The rise of labour market intermediaries – including labour providers and contractors, labour agencies, and ‘gangmasters’ – means that today, a large number of workers are working under the supervision and management of companies who are not technically their employer. As this report has documented, such workers often face challenges when seeking to organise, bargain or access labour protection, and in some contexts they are disproportionately vulnerable to exploitation.</p> <p>In the United States, a wave of recent court decisions across national and state jurisdictions have confirmed that companies and labour market intermediaries can be ‘joint employers’, in other words, that companies using temporary staffing agencies, labour providers, and other sub-contracting arrangements are not insulated from responsibility for those workers’ conditions. Trade unions and workers’ organisations are pushing for broad application of the joint liability principle<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn26" id="ffn26">26</a>]</sup> in relation to global supply chains. The International Trade Union Confederation, for instance, has called for multinational brands to accept joint responsibility for working conditions in their global supply chains, particularly around wages and health and safety.</p> <p>Such campaigns are promising and deserving of support. An important challenge in this work, however, is enforcement and implementation. As the lawyer and scholar JJ Rosenbaum has argued, “business entities expand their use of contingent work arrangements because these arrangements lower labour costs and in practice often shield liability even when the law says otherwise. The power of a joint employer liability legal regime – whether USDOL, ILO or any other – rests significantly in the effectiveness of its enforcement arm”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn27" id="ffn27">27</a>]</sup> </p> <p><strong>Anti-discrimination measures and ‘positive action’:</strong> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2">Chapter 5</a> explained that discrimination on the basis of race, caste and gender is fundamental to forced labour. These hierarchies intersect with class and other forms of inequality to heighten some people’s vulnerability to exploitation vis-à-vis others’. A systematic political response to their heightened vulnerability will necessarily have to address these systems root and branch – challenging the patriarchy, racism, white supremacy, and so on. Doing so will undoubtedly be complex. But examples of state-led ‘positive action’ do exist. Economic reforms include equal pay legislation, recruitment quotas, and well-enforced anti-discrimination legislation. ‘Social’ measures with economic effects include parliamentary quotas for previously discriminated against groups, reparations, or the provision of preferential public service access. Further initiatives can be taken beyond the state-level, and support for community self-organisation and collective action is key. The Self-Employed Women’s Association are a great example of the power of this in India.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn28" id="ffn28">28</a>]</sup></p> <p><strong>Restrictions on subcontracting:</strong> Subcontracting introduces inherent risks into supply chains by limiting lead firms’ liability for working conditions and by reinforcing low prices as the key to suppliers’ success.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn29" id="ffn29">29</a>]</sup> The evidence documented in this report compels us to question whether it will be possible to eradicate forced labour from global supply chains without alterating this low-cost business model.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>The ILO’s Declaration of Philadelphia (1944) urges that “all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity”. These conditions are profoundly undermined by the immiserating processes of uneven global neoliberalisation. Those processes, which result in clear inequities and injustices, reveal how little “the attainment of the conditions in which this shall be possible … constitute the central aim of national and international policy”. The opposite indeed seems to be the case, with the consequence that millions worldwide are being denied the freedom to say no to exploitative work.</p> <p>It is time for that to change. With the Eighth Sustainable Development Goal, the world has committed to taking all necessary steps to achieve “decent work for all” and to “end forced labour” by the end of the next decade. Alliance 8.7 has been established to maintain momentum towards that target, and governments worldwide are making pledges that they will meet it. Here, we outline a number of critical strategies that can help them to meet that goal. Ultimately, if we are serious about addressing unfreedom in the global economy, then we need to think seriously about political economy. We need to confront and tackle root causes.</p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">R. Wilkinson &amp; K, Pickett (2009) <em>The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better</em>, London: Allen Lane. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">B. Selwyn (2014) <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/The+Global+Development+Crisis-p-9780745660141"><em>The Global Development Crisis</em></a>, Cambridge: Polity Press. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">R. Wilkinson &amp; K, Pickett (2009) <em>The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better.</em> <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">T. Piketty (2013) <a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674430006"><em>Capital in the Twenty-First Century</em></a>, Cambridge: Harvard University Press. <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">T. Piketty (2015) <a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674504806"><em>The Economics of Inequality</em></a>, Cambridge: Harvard University Press. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">Oxfam (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-economy-for-99-percent-160117-en.pdf">An Economy for the 99%</a>’. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">See work by sociologist and anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu (1977; 1984; 1990; 1998; 1999; 2001). <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">D. Mosse (2010) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220388.2010.487095">A relational approach to durable poverty, inequality and power</a>’, <em>Journal of Development Studies</em>, 46(7), 1156-1178. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">J. Fine (2015) ‘<a href="http://theliftfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/LIFTReportCoproductionOct_ExecSumm-rf_4.pdf">Co-Production: Bringing Together the Unique Capabilities of Government and Society for Stronger Labor Standards Enforcement</a>’, LIFT Fund. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">D. Weil (2010) ‘<a href="https://www.dol.gov/whd/resources/strategicEnforcement.pdf">Improving Workplace Conditions through Strategic Enforcement</a>’, A Report to the Wage and Hour Division. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">M. Anner (2011) <a href="http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100039160"><em>Solidarity Transformed</em></a>, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">J. Fine &amp; J. Gordon (2010) ‘<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0032329210381240">Strengthening Labor Standards Enforcement through Partnerships with Workers’ Organizations</a>’, <em>Politics &amp; Society</em>, 34(4), 552-585. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13">J. Fine (2015) ‘<a href="http://theliftfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/LIFTReportCoproductionOct_ExecSumm-rf_4.pdf">Co-Production: Bringing Together the Unique Capabilities of Government and Society for Stronger Labor Standards Enforcement</a>’. <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">Lift Fund, ‘<a href="http://theliftfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/LIFTReportCoproductionOct_ExecSumm-rf_4.pdf">Co-Production: Bringing Together the Unique Capabilities of Government and Society for Stronger Labor Standards Enforcement</a>’. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15"><em>Ibid.</em> <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16"><a href="http://www.fairfoodprogram.org/">Fair Food Program</a>. <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17">Asia Floor Wage, ‘<a href="http://asia.floorwage.org/what">What it is and why we need one</a>’. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">K. Widerquist, ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/karl-widerquist/basic-income-s-third-wave">Basic income’s third wave</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn19">Davala <em>et al.</em> (2015) <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/basic-income-9781472583116/"><em>Basic Income: A Transformative Policy for India</em></a>, London: Bloomsbury Publishing. <a href="#ffn19">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn20">D. Conn (2017) <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/27/thousands-qatar-world-cup-workers-life-threatening-heat?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other">‘Thousands of Qatar World Cup workers ‘subjected to life-threatening heat’’</a>, <em>The Guardian</em>. <a href="#ffn20">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn21">Institute for Human Rights and Business, ‘<a href="https://www.ihrb.org/employerpays/the-employer-pays-principle">The Employer Pays Principle</a>’. <a href="#ffn21">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn22">J. Fine &amp; G. Lyon (2017) ‘<a href="http://jmhs.cmsny.org/index.php/jmhs/article/view/92">Segmentation and the Role of Labor Standards Enforcement in Immigration Reform</a>’ <em>Journal on Migration and Human Security</em>, 5(2), 431-451. <a href="#ffn22">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn23">F. Lawrence (2015) ‘Costco and CP Foods face lawsuit over alleged slavery in prawn supply chain’, <em>The Guardian</em>. <a href="#ffn23">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn24"><em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em> (2016) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscrt/roundtable-do-we-need-binding-convention-on-decent-work-in-global-supply-chains">Roundtable: do we need a binding convention on decent work in global supply chains?</a>’ <a href="#ffn24">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn25"><a href="http://bangladeshaccord.org/">Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh</a>. <a href="#ffn25">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn26">B. Rogers (2011) ‘<a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1926767">Toward Third-Party Liability for Wage Theft</a>’, <em>Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law</em>, 31(1), 1-64. <a href="#ffn26">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn27">J. J. Rosenbaum (2016) ‘<a href="https://onlabor.org/guest-post-2016-steps-forward-on-joint-employer-liability/">Guest Post: 2016 Steps Forward on Joint Employer Liability</a>’, <em>On Labor</em>. <a href="#ffn27">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn28">C. Thibos &amp; N. Nayak (2017) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/cameron-thibos-nalini-nayak/informal-but-organised-30-year-success-of-self-employed-wo">Informal, but organised: the 30-year success of the Self Employed Women's Association of India</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29">G. LeBaron (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.brown.edu/initiatives/journal-world-affairs/202-spring%E2%80%93summer-2014/subcontracting-not-illegal-it-unethical-business-ethics-forced-labor-and-econ">Subcontracting is not illegal. But is it unethical?</a>’ <em>Brown Journal of World Affairs</em>, 20(2), 237-249. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115559 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: governance gaps https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Governance gaps help employers push problems of forced labour even deeper into the shadows of supply chains.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Governance_Gaps_Facebook.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Illustration by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.carysboughton.com/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>A final root cause underpinning the business demand for forced labour are the governance gaps that allow employers to perpetrate it with impunity. Although forced labour has long been formally banned, the laws designed to protect workers are spottily enforced and it is rare that government inspectors physically check to see whether or not businesses are selling goods made with forced labour. Indeed, in the United States, one recent study found that “an employer would have to operate for 1,000 years to have even a 1 percent chance of being audited by Department of Labor inspectors”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn1" id="ffn1">1</a>]</sup> </p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black;" width="230" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>Where non-government monitoring systems also exist, they are generally ineffective when it comes to detecting and correcting forced labour. Most social auditing systems focus on first-tier suppliers’ core workforces, and thus neglect the portions of supply chains where vulnerable subcontractors work and the risks of forced labour are highest. Furthermore, such private systems are riddled with conflicts of interest. When abuses are uncovered, they tend to be reported only to retailers who then have discretion over whether or not to act on them.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn2" id="ffn2">2</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn3" id="ffn3">3</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn4" id="ffn4">4</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn5" id="ffn5">5</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn6" id="ffn6">6</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn7" id="ffn7">7</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn8" id="ffn8">8</a>]</sup> </p> <p>In this sense, businesses’ ‘freedom to exploit’ must be understood as running in parallel to workers’ lack of the freedom to say no. Klara Skrivankova of Anti-Slavery International captures this point well when she says that forced labour’s “underlying causes include a regulatory framework in which the use of forced labour makes ‘business sense’ even if illegal, because the risks of discovery and prosecution are low, [in light of] weak enforcement of labour standards”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn9" id="ffn9">9</a>]</sup></p> <p>The governance gaps and enforcement issues surrounding labour standards in global supply chains have been studied extensively.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn10" id="ffn10">10</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn11" id="ffn11">11</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn12" id="ffn12">12</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn13" id="ffn13">13</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn14" id="ffn14">14</a>]</sup> There is also a smaller body of emerging research that specifically considers gaps surrounding forced labour.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn15" id="ffn15">15</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn16" id="ffn16">16</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn17" id="ffn17">17</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn18" id="ffn18">18</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn19" id="ffn19">19</a>]</sup> Synthesising across this work, we suggest that there are at least three key governance gaps that have been strategically created around and within supply chains that facilitate the business of forced labour. These are:</p> <ol> <li>the consistent under-enforcement of national and sub-national labour regulations;<br /><br /></li> <li>weak global governance and national legislative approaches to ensuring labour standards in global supply chains, such as transparency legislation;<br /><br /></li> <li>a governmental preference for self-regulation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, which are too often not fit for purpose such as poor quality auditing and social certification programmes. </li> </ol> <p>At the outset of this report, we noted that globalisation has been characterised by declines in the national enforcement of labour standards.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn20" id="ffn20">20</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn21" id="ffn21">21</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn22" id="ffn22">22</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn23" id="ffn23">23</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn24" id="ffn24">24</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn25" id="ffn25">25</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn26" id="ffn26">26</a>]</sup> In <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3">chapter 6</a>, we showed how dangerously low levels of labour inspection create a pool of workers who are vulnerable to forced labour. Here, we show how poor enforcement of national and sub-national labour laws also contributes to businesses’ demand for forced labour.</p> <h2>Poor enforcement of labour standards</h2> <p>Across many countries, national and sub-national agencies tasked with enforcing labour standards have had their budgets and staff cut to the extent that they are no longer effective. This makes it unlikely that businesses will be caught committing labour violations. If they are, the consequences are rarely more than a minor inconvenience; the penalty for violating the labour code in Bangladesh, for example, is a mere US$325.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn27" id="ffn27">27</a>]</sup> This creates a context in which businesses can safely include forced labour within their business model. </p> <p>While unenforced labour standards are often considered to be a ‘developing country’ problem, they contribute to the thriving business of forced labour in developed countries as well. As Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) demonstrated in their study of forced labour in the UK, “vulnerability to forced labour is not an inherent quality of the person subjected to it, but rather is rooted in structural vulnerabilities established within the UK economy. These result in denying effective protection for workers’ rights, particularly at the lower rungs of the labour market.” They found that this context creates an environment where it makes “business sense to use forced labour”, which they then demonstrated using the commercial cannabis, food and agricultural industries as examples. </p> <p>The under-enforcement of labour standards has become a popular strategy for attracting and maintaining investment, or for preventing offshoring, in the era of globalisation. It is part of an ongoing redesign of the labour market and business regulation to maximise profitability.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn28" id="ffn28">28</a>]</sup> Consequently, illegal business practices like forced labour have become stable and now constitute viable parts of many organisations’ business models. </p> <h2>Weak global governance</h2> <p>As awareness of forced labour has grown over the past decade, a number of transnational regulatory initiatives have sought to incentivise corporate accountability and responsibility for labour standards in global supply chains. These include the 2011 United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn29" id="ffn29">29</a>]</sup> ILO’s Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn30" id="ffn30">30</a>]</sup> and revised OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn31" id="ffn31">31</a>]</sup></p> <p>In addition, the home governments of many transnational corporations (TNCs) – including the United States, UK and France – have passed national legislation intended to strengthen global governance systems to combat forced labour. This has frequently taken the form of transparency or disclosure legislation. One study found that over 55 pieces of national disclosure legislation have been passed since 2009,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn32" id="ffn32">32</a>]</sup> and high profile examples include: the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act, 2012 California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, and France’s 2017 Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law. As the authors of the study describe, this type of legislation relies on the economic leverage of the private sector to shape and improve working conditions and is anchored in the assumption that knowledge of corporate behaviour will shape consumers’ and investors’ purchasing decisions.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn33" id="ffn33">33</a>]</sup></p> <p>Transparency legislation varies hugely in terms of its quality and stringency. As Genevieve LeBaron and Andreas Rümkorf note:</p> <style><!-- .squire {margin-left:25px;padding-left:10px;border-left:6px solid #0e63bc;color:#53514e;line-height:150%;} --></style> <p class="squire"> at one end are strong laws that mandate companies to develop a due diligence plan on human rights in their supply chain, to disclose this plan and to implement it. At the other end are weak laws that merely provide statutory endorsement to existing voluntary CSR initiatives and reporting, with no penalty for non-compliance. Most recent legislation falls towards the weaker end of the spectrum.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn34" id="ffn34">34</a>]</sup> </p> <p>The UK Modern Slavery Act, for instance, requires companies conducting business in the UK with an annual turnover of £36 million to report on any measures they have taken to prevent or address forced labour. But it does not require them to report whether those measures are actually effective, and does not include penalties for non-compliance. This leaves open the quixotic possibility of brazenly reporting that they are doing nothing. To date, the enforcement of transparency legislation has also been lacking.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn35" id="ffn35">35</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn36" id="ffn36">36</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn37" id="ffn37">37</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn38" id="ffn38">38</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn39" id="ffn39">39</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn40" id="ffn40">40</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn41" id="ffn41">41</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn42" id="ffn42">42</a>]</sup> Only a fraction of companies covered under the UK legislation have published reports, and many of those that have been published have fallen short of complying with the law.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn43" id="ffn43">43</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn44" id="ffn44">44</a>]</sup> No companies have been prosecuted for non-compliance. As such, this legislation has upheld the status quo and done little to curb the root causes of business’ demand for forced labour.</p> <p>Recent initiatives to address the business of forced labour within the global governance arena have been similarly ineffective. The ILO’s 2014 legally binding protocol on forced labour, for instance, does not include a provision on supply chains, while efforts to achieve a binding convention on decent work supply chain governance have yet to bear fruit.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn45" id="ffn45">45</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn46" id="ffn46">46</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn47" id="ffn47">47</a>]</sup> In short, research suggests that a key factor underlying the business of forced labour is the failure of states to either enforce existing labour standards or to create new, modern, and effective global governance solutions to the problem.</p> <h2>Weak social auditing and ethical certification regimes</h2> <p>Governments have sought to replace their own enforcement capacity by devolving sizeable power, authority and legitimacy to private companies to set and enforce their own labour standards.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn48" id="ffn48">48</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn49" id="ffn49">49</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn50" id="ffn50">50</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn51" id="ffn51">51</a>]</sup> In this context, TNCs have created codes of conduct for suppliers, which they claim to ‘monitor’ and ‘enforce’ through social auditing. They also rely on social certification schemes like Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance to independently verify production standards and communicate these to consumers. </p> <p>However, a growing body of research reveals that social audit and certification programmes are not effective tools to detect, report or correct forced labour.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn52" id="ffn52">52</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn53" id="ffn53">53</a>]</sup> Some of their most crucial shortcomings include:</p> <div style="margin-left: 25px; text-indent: -8px;"> <p>• Limited audit duration, resulting in a ‘snapshot’ of practices rather than long-term observation; </p> <p>• Weak audit methodologies with ample room for deception and cheating; </p> <p>• Financial conflicts of interest and commercial relations between audit firms and their clients; </p> <p>• Failure to encompass practices occurring beyond the factory gates, such as debt bondage to recruiters; </p> <p>• A focus on first-tier suppliers’ core workforces rather than the many layers of sub-contracting;</p> <p>• Marginalisation of workers, who are most aware of how forced labours manifest on the ground, during the audit process.</p> </div> <p>Many social auditing programmes therefore give a blinkered view of who is involved in production, missing out on vulnerable workers in heavily subcontracted and informal portions of supply chains.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn54" id="ffn54">54</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn55" id="ffn55">55</a>]</sup> They give consumers, investors, and the public a false impression of labour standards within supply chains, and give rise to the perception that governance gaps surrounding forced labour in supply chains are being mitigated through voluntary CSR efforts. In reality, such systems do little to tackle the problems at hand.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The inspection and auditing system for global supply chains does more to safeguard corporations’ reputations, operations, and profits than protect workers in both developed and developing countries.</p> <p>Briefly put, the inspection and auditing system for global supply chains does more to safeguard corporations’ reputations, operations, and profits than protect workers in both developed and developing countries.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn56" id="ffn56">56</a>]</sup> As LeBaron <em>et al</em>. have argued, “for nearly two decades, workers’ rights and trade union organizations, scholars, and auditors themselves have documented the flaws of the audit regime; yet, corporations have done little to transform it. The problem is not one of finessing the institutional design or audit methodology, but rather relates to corporate power, politics, and profits”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn57" id="ffn57">57</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Weaknesses in private supply chain monitoring systems render them ineffective tools for detecting and addressing forced labour. They are, along with weak enforcement of labour standards and poor global governance frameworks, a key governance gap fuelling the business demand for forced labour. </p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Existing research suggests that forced labour tends to happen in certain types of industries, activities, and portions of supply chains. It furthermore materialises in the face of specific business pressures, such as cost and time pressures and seasonality. Yet, these insights about the patterns of forced labour in supply chains have not been incorporated into the latest governance initiatives, which systematically under-protect workers by leaving open gaps in which exploitation can occur without redress. </p> <p>Adequate regulation and enforcement of labour standards within global supply chains would go a long way to eliminating the business demand for forced labour within those chains. And, as the next and <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0">final chapter</a> of this report notes, where labour law is effectively enforced, and where businesses face consequences and penalties if they are caught using forced labour, it becomes a lot less viable as a business model. </p> <p>The key barriers to closing these governance gaps are not technical, but political. As Nicola Phillips and Fabiola Mieres note, they derive from “an unshaken ‘market fundamentalism’ and a reluctance significantly to challenge the private sector and powerful corporations”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn58" id="ffn58">58</a>]</sup> It is time for that to change.</p> <p><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0">Next chapter: Conclusion: where do we go from here?</a></strong></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">G. Lafer (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/attack-on-american-labor-standards/">The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011-2012</a>’, Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute, 29. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">A. Crane <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘<a href="http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/116170/">Governance gaps in eradicating forced labor: from global to domestic supply chains</a>’, <em>Regulation and Governance</em>. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">G. LeBaron &amp; J. Lister (2016) ‘<a href="http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Global-Brief-1-Ethical-Audits-and-the-Supply-Chains-of-Global-Corporations.pdf">Ethical Audits and the Supply Chains of Global Corporations</a>’, SPERI Global Political Economy Brief No. 1. <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">G. LeBaron <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14747731.2017.1304008">Governing Global Supply Chain Sustainability Through the Ethical Audit Regime</a>’,&nbsp;<em>Globalizations</em>, 14(6), 958-975. <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">G. LeBaron &amp; J. Quirk (2016) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/genevieve-lebaron-and-joel-quirk/genevieve-lebaron-and-joel-quirk-intro">Can Corporations Be Trusted to Tackle Modern Slavery? Introducing the Terms of Debate</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">G. LeBaron (2016) ‘<a href="http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/38473-forced-labor-mandatory-transparency-discretionary-disclosure">When it Comes to Forced Labor, Transparency is Mandatory but Disclosure is Discretionary</a>’,&nbsp;<em>Truthout</em>. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">G. LeBaron &amp; N. Phillips. (forthcoming) ‘States and the Political Economy of Unfree Labour’, <em>New Political Economy</em>. <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">G. LeBaron (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/can-world-end-forced-labour-by-2030">Can the world end forced labour by 2030?</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">K. Skrivankova (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.gla.gov.uk/media/1584/jrf-forced-labour-in-the-uk.pdf">Forced Labour in the United Kingdom</a>’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">G. Gereffi <em>et al.</em> (2005) ‘<a href="http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/fisheries/docs/GVC_Governance.pdf">The governance of global value chains</a>’, <em>Review of International Political Economy</em>, 12, 78-104. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">G. Gereffi (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09692290.2012.756414">Global value chains in a post-Washington Consensus world</a>’, <em>Review of International Political Economy</em>, 21(1), 9-37. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">L. Fransen &amp; T. Conzelmann (2014) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rego.12055/suppinfo">Fragmented or cohesive transnational private regulation of sustainability standards? A comparative study</a>’, <em>Regulation &amp; Governance</em>, 9(3), 259-279. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13">M. Anner (2012) ‘<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0032329212460983">Corporate Social Responsibility and Freedom of Association Rights The Precarious Quest for Legitimacy and Control in Global Supply Chains</a>’, <em>Politics &amp; Society</em>, 40(4), 609-644. <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">Locke <em>et al.</em> (2009) ‘<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0032329209338922">Virtue out of Necessity? Compliance, Commitment, and the Improvement of Labor Conditions in Global Supply Chains</a>’, <em>Politics &amp; Society</em>, 37(3), 319-351. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15">G. LeBaron &amp; N. Phillips. (forthcoming) ‘States and the Political Economy of Unfree Labour’. <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16">A. Crane <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘<a href="http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/116170/">Governance gaps in eradicating forced labor: from global to domestic supply chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17">N. Phillips &amp; F. Mieres (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14747731.2014.932507">The Governance of Forced Labour in the Global Economy</a>’, <em>Globalizations</em>, 12(2), 244-260. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn19">G. LeBaron (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14616742.2013.813160">Unfree Labor Beyond Binaries: Social Hierarchy, Insecurity, and Labour Market Restructuring</a>’,&nbsp;<em>International Feminist Journal of Politics</em>, 17(1), 1-19. <a href="#ffn19">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn20">International Labour Organization (2005) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_protect/@protrav/@safework/documents/publication/wcms_108666.pdf">The global challenges of labour inspection</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn20">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn21">J. Heyes &amp; L. Rychly (eds) (2013) <a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/publications/ilo-bookstore/order-online/books/WCMS_218883/lang--en/index.htm"><em>Labour Administration in Uncertain Times Policy, Practice and Institutions</em></a>, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. <a href="#ffn21">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn22">FLEX (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.barrowcadbury.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/FLEXPolicyBlueprintUpdate.pdf">Combatting Labour Exploitation Through Labour Inspection</a>’. <a href="#ffn22">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn23">FLEX (2017) ‘<a href="http://www.labourexploitation.org/sites/default/files/publications/Risky%20Business_Tackling%20Exploitation%20in%20the%20UK%20Labour%20Market.pdf">Risky Business: Tackling Exploitation In The Uk Labour Market</a>’. <a href="#ffn23">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn24">C. Robinson (2017) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/caroline-robinson/uk-modern-slavery-and-elephant-in-room-prevention">The UK, ‘modern slavery’, and the elephant in the room: prevention</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn24">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn25">C. Robinson (2016) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/msaoh/caroline-robinson/problems-with-britains-approach-to-exploitation">The problem with the British government's approach to exploitation</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn25">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn26">C. Robinson (2015) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/caroline-robinson/modern-slavery-and-labour-exploitation-uk-s-government-s-dilemma">Modern slavery and labour exploitation: the UK government’s dilemma</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn26">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn27">International Labour Organization (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:13100:0::NO::P13100_COMMENT_ID:3189623">Observation (CEACR), Follow-up to the discussion of the Committee on the Application of Standards (International Labour Conference, 103rd Session, May-June 2014</a>’ - adopted 2014, published 104th ILC session’. <a href="#ffn27">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn28">G. LeBaron &amp; N. Phillips. (forthcoming) ‘States and the Political Economy of Unfree Labour’. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29">OHCR, ‘<a href="http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Business/Intro_Guiding_PrinciplesBusinessHR.pdf">The UN Guiding Principles On Business And Human Rights: An Introduction</a>’. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn30">International Labour Organization, <a href="http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:P029"><em>Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930</em></a>. <a href="#ffn30">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn31">OECD (2011) <a href="http://mneguidelines.oecd.org/guidelines/"><em>OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises</em></a>. <a href="#ffn31">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn32">Nicola Phillips, Genevieve LeBaron &amp; Sara Wallin (2016)&nbsp;‘Mapping and Measuring the Effectiveness of Disclosure Requirements for Global Supply Chains’, Commissioned report for the International Labour Organization, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn32">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn33"><em>Ibid</em>., 3. <a href="#ffn33">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn34">G. LeBaron &amp; A. Rühmkorf (2017) ‘<a href="https://academic.oup.com/ser/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ser/mwx047/4683730">The Domestic Politics of Corporate Accountability Legislation: Struggles Over the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act</a>’, <em>Socio-Economic Review</em>, 1-35. <a href="#ffn34">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn35">L. Palumbo &amp; A. Triandafyllidou (2016) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/pt/letizia-palumbo/addressing-severe-exploitation-critical-view-of-awareness-and-transpar">Addressing severe exploitation: a critical view ofawareness and transparency initiatives</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.&nbsp;</em> <a href="#ffn35">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn36">C. Falconer (2016) “<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/pt/claire-falconer/carrots-and-sticks-increasing-corporate-accountability-for-modern-slav">Carrots and sticks: increasing corporate accountability for ‘modern slavery’</a>”, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.</em> <a href="#ffn36">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn37">P. Carrier &amp; J. Bardwell (2017) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/patricia-carrier-joseph-bardwell/how-uk-modern-slavery-act-can-find-its-bite">How the UK Modern Slavery Act can find its bite</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.&nbsp;</em> <a href="#ffn37">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn38">J. Vogt (2017) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/jeffrey-vogt/efforts-to-clean-up-global-supply-chains-so-far-come-up-short">Efforts to clean up global supply chains so far come up short</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.&nbsp;</em> <a href="#ffn38">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn39">C. Feingold (2016) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/cathy-feingold/cathy-feingold-yes">A binding convention on decent work: the first step to workers' rights</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn39">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn40">G. LeBaron &amp; A. Rühmkorf (2017) ‘<a href="https://academic.oup.com/ser/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ser/mwx047/4683730">The Domestic Politics of Corporate Accountability Legislation: Struggles Over the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act</a>’. <a href="#ffn40">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn41">G. LeBaron &amp; A. Rühmkorf (2017) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gpol.2017.8.issue-S3/issuetoc">Steering CSR Through Home State Regulation: A Comparison of the Impact of the UK Bribery Act and Modern Slavery Act on Global Supply Chain Governance</a>’, <em>Global Policy Journal</em>, 8(S3), 15-28. <a href="#ffn41">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn42">M. L. Stein (2017) ‘<a href="https://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2017/10/16/ftse-100-companies-fall-short-on-slavery-statements-report-says/">FTSE 100 Companies Fall Short on Slavery Statements, Report Says</a>’, <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. <a href="#ffn42">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn43"><em>Ibid.&nbsp;</em> <a href="#ffn43">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn44">Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (2016) ‘<a href="https://business-humanrights.org/en/uk-modern-slavery-act-analysis-of-early-company-statements-new-guidance-available">UK Modern Slavery Act: Analysis of early company statements, new guidance available</a>’. <a href="#ffn44">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn45">A. Barrenechea (2016) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilc/ainhoa-barrenechea/decent-work-in-globalised-world-week-one-at-international-labour-co">Decent work in a globalised world? Week one at the International Labour Conference and the supply chains dilemma</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn45">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn46">N. Howard &amp; G. LeBaron (2016) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilc/neil-howard-genevieve-lebaron/making-supply-chains-work-for-workers-2016-international">Making supply chains work for workers? The 2016 International Labour Conference and beyond</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn46">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn47">J. Gearhart (2016) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilc/judy-gearhart/global-supply-chains-time-for-new-deal">Global supply chains: time for a new deal?</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn47">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn48">A. C. Cutler (2003) <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/private-power-and-global-authority/0D9A429D6D9A127531A26B658C060FB2"><em>Private Power and Global Authority: Transnational Merchant Law in the Global Political Economy</em></a>, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. <a href="#ffn48">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn49">A. C. Cutler &amp; T. Dietz (2017) <a href="https://www.routledge.com/The-Politics-of-Private-Transnational-Governance-by-Contract/Cutler-Dietz/p/book/9781138221758"><em>The Politics of Private Transnational Governance by Contract</em></a>, London: Routledge. <a href="#ffn49">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn50">A. C. Cutler et al. (eds) (1999) <em>Private Authority and International Affairs</em>, Albany: SUNY Press. <a href="#ffn50">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn51">F.W. Mayer &amp; N. Phillips (2017) “<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13563467.2016.1273341">Outsourcing governance: states and the politics of a ‘global value chain world’</a>”, <em>New Political Economy</em>, 22(2), 134-152. <a href="#ffn51">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn52">G. LeBaron <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14747731.2017.1304008">Governing Global Supply Chain Sustainability Through the Ethical Audit Regime</a>’. <a href="#ffn52">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn53">G. LeBaron &amp; J. Lister (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/review-of-international-studies/article/benchmarking-global%20supply-chains-the-power-of-the-ethical-audit-regime/D09353629C19265CF1F136F90DEF5214">Benchmarking Global Supply Chains: The Power of the ‘Ethical Audit’ Regime</a>’, <em>Review of International Studies</em>, 41(5), 905-924. <a href="#ffn53">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn54">G. LeBaron &amp; A. Crane (2013) ‘Hidden in plain sight: slavery on a high street near you’, <em>The Guardian</em>. <a href="#ffn54">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn55">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn55">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn56">G. LeBaron &amp; J. Lister (2016) ‘<a href="http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Global-Brief-1-Ethical-Audits-and-the-Supply-Chains-of-Global-Corporations.pdf">Ethical Audits and the Supply Chains of Global Corporations</a>’. <a href="#ffn56">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn57">G. LeBaron <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14747731.2017.1304008">Governing Global Supply Chain Sustainability Through the Ethical Audit Regime</a>’, 9. <a href="#ffn57">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn58">N. Phillips &amp; F. Mieres (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14747731.2014.932507">The Governance of Forced Labour in the Global Economy</a>’, 14. <a href="#ffn58">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115557 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: outsourcing https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Outsourcing allows big brands to distance themselves from big human rights abuses, including forced labour.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Supply_Chain_Complexity_Facebook.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Illustration by&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://www.carysboughton.com/">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>Academic discussion regarding the business of forced labour generally focuses on the role and responsibility of large multinational corporations (MNCs). This makes sense insofar as MNCs are usually based in Western countries and wield vastly disproportionate power within global supply chains. However, the overwhelming focus on MNCs overshadows the aggregate importance of smaller subcontractors in shaping labour standards, particularly those that ‘need’ labour exploitation to remain profitable. For this reason, it is equally important for us to understand how the dynamics of outsourcing shape smaller businesses’ behaviour toward both their workers and other firms within the supply chain. </p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black;" width="230" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>In contrast to the academy, the media has made these smaller businesses the main culprits in its reporting on labour exploitation. When forced labour happens, it is typically said to occur in shadow or unregistered production centres several steps removed from MNCs and far below where any reasonable due diligence might reach.<sup>[<a id="ffn1" href="#fn1" class="footnote">1</a>]</sup> As if to confirm this, MNCs invariably express shock and disbelief when such reports break. Yet it is no accident that these practices occur in portions of the supply chain where MNCs have limited formal presence. And, far from being ‘hidden’ or impossible to map, a growing body of research now shows clear patterns regarding the types of businesses most likely to perpetrate forced labour, and the relative importance of forced labour to their business model depending on their sector, task, and location within MNC-dominated supply chains.<sup>[<a id="ffn2" href="#fn2" class="footnote">2</a>, <a id="ffn3" href="#fn3" class="footnote">3</a>, <a id="ffn4" href="#fn4" class="footnote">4</a>, <a id="ffn5" href="#fn5" class="footnote">5</a>, <a id="ffn6" href="#fn6" class="footnote">6</a>]</sup></p> <p>Outsourcing is the crucial dynamic that allows labour exploitation to take place without tarnishing the reputation or credibility of MNCs. It does this by fragmenting and deflecting responsibility for workers while making oversight and accountability for labour standards difficult. The situation becomes even more complicated, and thus opaque, when informal businesses or intermediaries such as labour brokers are present. These dynamics fuel forced labour because the complexity and lack of traceability introduced by outsourcing make it easy for businesses to get away with abuses, and because the legal distance that outsourcing introduces between lead firms and their suppliers shields the former from reputational damage and legal liability. </p> <h2>Outsourcing along product supply chains</h2> <p>From electronics to sporting goods, MNCs have outsourced lower-value added activities to third parties. Those suppliers often then further outsource parts of the production – say, the making of microchips, or intricate leatherwork on a football – to additional parties. Today, most product supply chains, meaning “the discrete stages that a product goes through to transform it from raw materials to a finished product”,<sup>[<a id="ffn7" href="#fn7" class="footnote">7</a>]</sup> involve several stages of production. The more layers of outsourcing there are, the harder it is to track the working conditions surrounding the creation of a product.</p> <p>A burgeoning body of academic research reveals that forced labour often occurs in heavily outsourced portions of product supply chains. To take but one example, Nicola Phillips’ major study of forced labour in Brazil shows higher levels of subcontracting to be correlated with incidences of forced labour.<sup>[<a id="ffn8" href="#fn8" class="footnote">8</a>, <a id="ffn9" href="#fn9" class="footnote">9</a>, <a id="ffn10" href="#fn10" class="footnote">10</a>]</sup> It includes statistical analysis of data pertaining to “more than 21,000 workers released from conditions defined as ‘slave labour’ between 2003 and 2009”,<sup>[<a id="ffn11" href="#fn11" class="footnote">11</a>]</sup> as well as qualitative research conducted by Phillips and her team on value chains in Brazil. One key finding is that “the most severe forms of labour exploitation tend to occur in those parts of the production process that are associated with outsourcing practices”.<sup>[<a id="ffn12" href="#fn12" class="footnote">12</a>]</sup> Forced labour was found to be concentrated in “outsourced activities in such sectors as sugar cane, soybean, cotton or coal (and also in urban sectors such as garments), [which] are routinely associated with a higher incidence of ‘slave labour’”.<sup>[<a id="ffn13" href="#fn13" class="footnote">13</a>]</sup></p> <p>Evidence across a wide body of industries and locations confirms these links between outsourcing and forced labour. Recent studies of fishing,<sup>[<a id="ffn14" href="#fn14" class="footnote">14</a>, <a id="ffn15" href="#fn15" class="footnote">15</a>]</sup> garments,<sup>[<a id="ffn16" href="#fn16" class="footnote">16</a>]</sup> electronics,<sup>[<a id="ffn17" href="#fn17" class="footnote">17</a>]</sup> agriculture,<sup>[<a id="ffn18" href="#fn18" class="footnote">18</a>]</sup> and construction<sup>[<a id="ffn19" href="#fn19" class="footnote">19</a>]</sup> all point to the concentration of forced labour within subcontracted activities. Quantitative data, too, confirm that link. For instance, a 2013 study of more than 10 years of data by the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) found that risk – including the risk of forced labour – is highest beyond tier one; 18% more incidents of non-compliance with labour standards in the second tier, and 27% more non-compliance in the third tier. It also found that non-compliance became more critical and severe in the deeper tiers of the supply chain.<sup>[<a id="ffn20" href="#fn20" class="footnote">20</a>]</sup></p> <p>In short, data from a range of studies now show that outsourcing contributes significantly to forced labour. Because outsourcing has fragmented responsibility for workers across several firms, and distanced the consumer-facing brands from bad practices, it has created the conditions under which forced and exploitative labour can be used, without damaging brand reputation. </p> <h2>Outsourcing along labour supply chains</h2> <p>Outsourcing along the labour supply chain, a part of which is made of “often unregulated networks through which forced or trafficked workers may be recruited, transported, and supplied to business by third party agents”, is equally important for understanding forced labour in supply chains.<sup>[<a id="ffn21" href="#fn21" class="footnote">21</a>, <a id="ffn22" href="#fn22" class="footnote">22</a>]</sup> As mentioned earlier, firms have deepened their reliance on workers provided by labour market intermediaries (agencies, ‘gangmasters’ or ‘recruiters’) as a part of the larger project of globalisation. Recruitment agencies help companies avoid the costs of sustaining large, permanent workforces by providing a “parallel workforce” of “highly flexible, casualised workers to meet variable, just-in-time deadlines at low cost”.<sup>[<a id="ffn23" href="#fn23" class="footnote">23</a>, <a id="ffn24" href="#fn24" class="footnote">24</a>, <a id="ffn25" href="#fn25" class="footnote">25</a>, <a id="ffn26" href="#fn26" class="footnote">26</a>, <a id="ffn27" href="#fn27" class="footnote">27</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Labour recruitment agencies also ‘outsource’ part of their work, so to speak, frequently working with other intermediaries who then work with others in turn. This can produce long labour supply chains that frequently involves exploitation well before workers actually enter the factory gates. Apple recently acknowledged this when noting that “some of our suppliers work with third-party labour agencies to source workers from other countries. These agencies, in turn, may work through multiple sub-agencies: in the hiring country, the workers’ home country, and in some cases, all the way back to the workers’ home village”.<sup>[<a id="ffn28" href="#fn28" class="footnote">28</a>]</sup> Recognising that these practices frequently create situations of “bonded servitude”, as the BBC put it, for factory workers long before they enter the workplace, Apple has outlawed this practice amongst its suppliers, mandating that they cover the cost of recruitment fees themselves.<sup>[<a id="ffn29" href="#fn29" class="footnote">29</a>]</sup></p><p><sup class="mag-quote-center" style="vertical-align: super;">Outsourcing is the crucial dynamic that allows labour exploitation to take place without tarnishing the reputation or credibility of MNCs.</sup></p><p><sup></sup>A number of recent studies have found that forced labour is widespread amidst long and complex labour supply chains.<sup>[<a id="ffn30" href="#fn30" class="footnote">30</a>, <a id="ffn31" href="#fn31" class="footnote">31</a>, <a id="ffn32" href="#fn32" class="footnote">32</a>, <a id="ffn33" href="#fn33" class="footnote">33</a>]</sup> While not all labour market intermediaries are exploitative, some use forced labour as a revenue-generating and cost-saving strategy. A string of recent studies suggests that forced labour is especially prevalent among those providing labour at or around minimum wage.<sup>[<a id="ffn34" href="#fn34" class="footnote">34</a>, <a id="ffn35" href="#fn35" class="footnote">35</a>, <a id="ffn36" href="#fn36" class="footnote">36</a>, <a id="ffn37" href="#fn37" class="footnote">37</a>]</sup> Indicators of it include contract substitution, passport retention, restrictions on mobility, predatory recruitment fees, debt bondage, wage deductions and threats of penalty.</p> <p>In all this, informality and flexibility are key. As Allain <em>et al.</em> argue: “although serious levels of exploitation can be found among a range of such intermediaries, forced labour typically emerges where an intermediary is operating at some level of informality, at least for some period of time. The more legitimate the intermediary, the less likelihood there is that they engage directly in forced labour”.<sup>[<a id="ffn38" href="#fn38" class="footnote">38</a>]</sup> A wealth of evidence pertaining to food and agricultural industries in many different regions of the world suggests a similar conclusion, namely that informal subcontracting among labour market intermediaries can introduce forced labour.<sup>[<a id="ffn39" href="#fn39" class="footnote">39</a>, <a id="ffn40" href="#fn40" class="footnote">40</a>, <a id="ffn41" href="#fn41" class="footnote">41</a>, <a id="ffn42" href="#fn42" class="footnote">42</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Why is this so? In the first case, it is often significantly easier to exploit agency or broker-provided workers than a supplier’s own employees, as they are not on the books of the company who holds the supply contract, and therefore are often overlooked by labour standards, inspections and audits. Workers on the same job site may also have several different ‘employers’, making oversight and accountability for labour standards difficult. Furthermore, workers tend to be moved from worksite to worksite in relatively short periods of time, and therefore often evade any efforts that may be in place to ensure labour standards.</p> <p>Second, long labour supply chains often exist in industries where price competition is fierce and the margins associated with some activities are very low, such as cleaning services, construction or agriculture. In these industries, where there is intense pressure to keep labour costs low, there is both pressure towards informality and to over-work and under-pay informal, contracted workers. </p> <h2>Distancing big brands from big human rights abuses </h2> <p>Outsourcing fragments responsibility for labour standards and makes maintaining oversight as well as determining accountability very difficult. It fuels the demand for forced labour by making it easier for small businesses to get away with exploitation while shielding bigger businesses further up the supply chain from reputational damage or legal liability. This, in turn, makes it harder for workers, NGOs, unions, lawyers and consumers to hold consumer-facing businesses to account. None of this is accidental. MNCs and politically-aligned governments have been instrumental in the neoliberal shifts that have made outsourcing possible and that have limited the liability of MNCs operating from their jurisdictions. They have pushed for labour flexibility and driven down the prices paid to top-tier suppliers, taking an ever-greater share of value in the process. But the implications of their business practices for forced labour go well beyond outsourcing and profit hoarding, and it is to a number of especially nefarious others that we now turn. </p> <p><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6">Next chapter: Demand 3 of 4: Irresponsible sourcing practices</a></strong></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">To take just one recent example, <em>The Guardian</em>’s 2014 investigation into forced labour in the Thai seafood industry, which supplied global retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Tesco, reported that prawn supplier CP Foods was sourcing from “ghost ships” that “own, operate or buy from fishing boats manned with slaves”. See: H. Hodal et al. (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK</a>’, <em>The Guardian</em>. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">A. Crane &amp; G. LeBaron (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-andrew-crane/overseas-anti-slavery-initiatives-flourish-but-domestic">Overseas anti-slavery initiatives flourish, but domestic governance gaps persist</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">A. Crane &amp; G. LeBaron (2017) ‘<a href="https://theconversation.com/why-businesses-fail-to-detect-modern-slavery-at-work-82344">Why businesses fail to detect modern slavery at work</a>’, <em>The Conversation</em>. <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">A. Crane &amp; G. LeBaron (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/nov/20/forced-labour-in-supply-chains">Hidden in plain sight: slavery on a high street near you</a>’, <em>The Guardian</em>. <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">A. Crane (2012) ‘<a href="http://amr.aom.org/content/38/1/49">Modern Slavery As A Management Practice: Exploring the Conditions and Capabilities for Human Exploitation</a>’, <em>Academy of Management Review</em>, 31(1), 49-69. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’, 39. <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">Nicola Phillips (2011) ‘<a href="http://www.chronicpoverty.org/uploads/publication_files/176%20Phillips.pdf">Unfree labour and adverse incorporation in global production networks: comparative perspectives on Brazil and India</a>’, Working Paper No. 176, Chronic Poverty Research Centre. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">N. Phillips &amp; L. Sakamoto (2012) ‘<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12116-012-9101-z">Global Production Networks, Chronic Poverty and ‘Slave Labour’ in Brazil</a>’, <em>Studies in Comparative International Development</em>, 47(3), 280. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">N. Phillips (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085147.2012.718630">Adverse Incorporation and Unfree Labour in the Global Economy: Comparative Perspectives from Brazil and India</a>’, <em>Economy and Society</em>, 42(2), 171-196. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">N. Phillips &amp; L. Sakamoto (2012) ‘<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12116-012-9101-z">Global Production Networks, Chronic Poverty and ‘Slave Labour’ in Brazil</a>’, 280. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">N. Phillips (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085147.2012.718630">Adverse Incorporation and Unfree Labour in the Global Economy: Comparative Perspectives from Brazil and India</a>’, 183. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13"><em>Ibid.</em> <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">H. Hodal <em>et al.</em> (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK</a>’. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15">International Labour Organization (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_214472.pdf">Caught at Sea: Forced Labour and Trafficking in Fisheries</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16">S. Labowitz &amp; D. Baumann-Pauly (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.blast.org.bd/content/report/NYUSternBHR-BusinessAsUsual.pdf">Business as Usual is Not an Option: Supply Chains and Sourcing after Rana Plaza</a>’, NYU Stern, Center for Business and Human Rights. <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17">Verité (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/VeriteForcedLaborMalaysianElectronics2014.pdf">Forced Labor In The Production Of Electronic Goods In Malaysia: A Comprehensive Study of Scope and Characteristics</a>’. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">S. Scott <em>et al.</em> (2012) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-food-industry-full.pdf">Experiences Of Forced Labour In The UK Food Industry</a>’ Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn19">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn19">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn20">Sedex (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.blast.org.bd/content/report/NYUSternBHR-BusinessAsUsual.pdf">Going Deep: The case for multi-tier transparency</a>’. <a href="#ffn20">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn21">A. Crane &amp; G. LeBaron (2017) ‘<a href="https://theconversation.com/why-businesses-fail-to-detect-modern-slavery-at-work-82344">Why businesses fail to detect modern slavery at work</a>’. <a href="#ffn21">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn22">See also: J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’, 42. <a href="#ffn22">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn23">S. Barrientos (2008) “<a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7660.2008.00524.x">Contract labour: The 'Achilles Heel' of corporate codes in commercial value chains</a>”, <em>Development and Change</em>, 39(6), 977-990. <a href="#ffn23">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn24">J. Peck (2010) <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/constructions-of-neoliberal-reason-9780199580576?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;"><em>Constructions of Neoliberal Reason</em></a>, Oxford: Oxford University Press. <a href="#ffn24">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn25">J. Fudge &amp; K. Strauss (eds) (2013) <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Temporary-Work-Agencies-and-Unfree-Labour-Insecurity-in-the-New-World/Fudge-Strauss/p/book/9780415536509"><em>Temporary work, agencies and unfree labour: insecurity in the new world of work</em></a>, London: Routledge. <a href="#ffn25">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn26">S. Barrientos (2013) “<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220388.2013.780040">‘Labour Chains’: Analysing the Role of Labour Contractors in Global Production Networks</a>”, <em>The Journal of Development Studies</em>, 49(8), 1058-1071. <a href="#ffn26">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn27">J. Fudge &amp; K. Strauss (eds) (2013) <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Temporary-Work-Agencies-and-Unfree-Labour-Insecurity-in-the-New-World/Fudge-Strauss/p/book/9780415536509"><em>Temporary work, agencies and unfree labour: insecurity in the new world of work</em></a>. <a href="#ffn27">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn28">Apple (2012) ‘<a href="https://images.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/pdf/Apple_SR_2012_Progress_Report.pdf">Apple Supplier Responsibility: 2012 Progress Report</a>’, 9. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29"><em>BBC News</em> (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31438699">Apple bans 'bonded servitude' for factory workers</a>’. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn30">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn30">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn31">J. Fudge &amp; K. Strauss (eds) (2013) <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Temporary-Work-Agencies-and-Unfree-Labour-Insecurity-in-the-New-World/Fudge-Strauss/p/book/9780415536509"><em>Temporary work, agencies and unfree labour: insecurity in the new world of work</em></a>. <a href="#ffn31">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn32">S. Barrientos (2013) “<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220388.2013.780040">‘Labour Chains’: Analysing the Role of Labour Contractors in Global Production Networks</a>”. <a href="#ffn32">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn33">H. Harroff-Tavel &amp; A. Nasri (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---arabstates/---ro-beirut/documents/publication/wcms_211214.pdf">Tricked and trapped. Human trafficking in the Middle East</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn33">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn34">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn34">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn35">K. Strauss (2012) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-8198.2011.00474.x/abstract">Coerced, forced and unfree labour: geographies of exploitation in contemporary labour markets</a>’,&nbsp;<em>Geography Compass</em>, 6(3), 137-148. <a href="#ffn35">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn36">J. Fudge &amp; K. Strauss (eds) (2013) <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Temporary-Work-Agencies-and-Unfree-Labour-Insecurity-in-the-New-World/Fudge-Strauss/p/book/9780415536509"><em>Temporary work, agencies and unfree labour: insecurity in the new world of work</em></a>. <a href="#ffn36">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn37">L. Waite <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/75949/">Precarious lives: Experiences of forced labour among refugees and asylum seekers in England</a>’, Research Report, University of Leeds. <a href="#ffn37">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn38">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’, 35. <a href="#ffn38">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn39">S. Scott <em>et al.</em> (2012) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-food-industry-full.pdf">Experiences Of Forced Labour In The UK Food Industry</a>’. <a href="#ffn39">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn40">N. Phillips &amp; L. Sakamoto (2012) ‘<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12116-012-9101-z">Global Production Networks, Chronic Poverty and ‘Slave Labour’ in Brazil</a>’. <a href="#ffn40">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn41">S. McGrath (2013) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01024.x/abstract">Many Chains to Break: The Multi-dimensional Concept of Slave Labour in Brazil</a>’, <em>Antipode</em>, 45, 1005-1028. <a href="#ffn41">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn42">K. Strauss (2012) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-8198.2011.00474.x/abstract">Coerced, forced and unfree labour: geographies of exploitation in contemporary labour markets</a>’. <a href="#ffn42">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115556 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: irresponsible sourcing practices https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Forced labour is illegal and its risks are widely documented. Yet so many companies continue to use irresponsible sourcing practices – established triggers of forced labour. Why is this the case?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Chapter_10_Facebook.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Illustration by&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://www.carysboughton.com/">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>Forced labour is illegal in most jurisdictions and expressly prohibited in most multinational corporation (MNC) contracts and supplier codes of conduct. It therefore carries risks for businesses who use it. For MNCs such risks are generally confined to reputational damage, but for supplier firms the consequences could include the loss of MNC contracts, the imposition of large fines, or even criminal prosecution. So, when is forced labour ‘worth’ the risk?</p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black;" width="230" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>Business Professor Andrew Crane has argued that a confluence of business conditions and capabilities must come together to make forced labour a viable management practice.<sup>[<a id="ffn1" href="#fn1" class="footnote">1</a>]</sup> A growing body of evidence shows that one key factor shaping these conditions and capabilities, and in doing so triggering the business demand for labour exploitation, is irresponsible sourcing practices on the part of MNCs. Such practices include short-term contracts, extremely tight production windows, chronically delayed payments, and unfair or unreasonable payment terms. Because buyers wield disproportionate purchasing power and influence, suppliers often enter into commercial agreements that are difficult if not impossible to meet without imposing harsh or unfair conditions on workers. Such conditions can include excessive and compulsory overtime, illegal wage deductions or delayed payment, punitively high quotas, physical abuse or discipline, constraints on freedom of movement, repression of freedom of association, sexual violence, and harassment and intimidation.</p> <p>Sometimes suppliers resort directly to forced labour to meet their obligations.<sup>[<a id="ffn2" href="#fn2" class="footnote">2</a>, <a id="ffn3" href="#fn3" class="footnote">3</a>, <a id="ffn4" href="#fn4" class="footnote">4</a>, <a id="ffn5" href="#fn5" class="footnote">5</a>, <a id="ffn6" href="#fn6" class="footnote">6</a>, <a id="ffn7" href="#fn7" class="footnote">7</a>]</sup> Others open the door to forced labour later on by engaging in risky practices like unauthorised product and labour subcontracting.<sup>[<a id="ffn8" href="#fn8" class="footnote">8</a>]</sup> But regardless of whether the consequences are immediate or time-delayed, the forces unleashed by irresponsible sourcing practices almost invariably trigger a demand for labour exploitation somewhere along the supply chain.</p> <h2>Time pressures and unstable sourcing</h2> <p>Global production is widely reported to be speeding up. Companies are always striving to offer customers something ‘new’, and a consequence of this has been ever-smaller orders with ever-shorter turnaround times.<sup>[<a id="ffn9" href="#fn9" class="footnote">9</a>]</sup> These time pressures fuel labour exploitation across several sectors, from the production of high-end consumer electronics and home goods to leather and footwear,<sup>[<a id="ffn10" href="#fn10" class="footnote">10</a>, <a id="ffn11" href="#fn11" class="footnote">11</a>, <a id="ffn12" href="#fn12" class="footnote">12</a>, <a id="ffn13" href="#fn13" class="footnote">13</a>]</sup> but nowhere is the issue thrown into such stark relief as in ‘fast fashion’. Where it once took six months for runway styles to hit high street stores and catalogues were designed around the four seasons, we now see retailers with “up to 52 season cycles, with a new product line every week”.<sup>[<a id="ffn14" href="#fn14" class="footnote">14</a>]</sup> </p> <p>The enormous strain this places on suppliers and workers is further exacerbated by price and quality pressures as well as smaller order sizes. A recent study of the garment sector for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) finds that, “without exception, clothing and textile researchers have been noting how [lead firms] are insisting on lower prices, better quality, shorter lead times, smaller minimum quantities and supplier acceptance of as much risk as possible”.<sup>[<a id="ffn15" href="#fn15" class="footnote">15</a>]</sup> Forced labour in garment production is not new, and has been well-documented among the unregistered factories, home workers, and contract and agency workers working in many different national contexts.<sup>[<a id="ffn16" href="#fn16" class="footnote">16</a>, <a id="ffn17" href="#fn17" class="footnote">17</a>, <a id="ffn18" href="#fn18" class="footnote">18</a>, <a id="ffn19" href="#fn19" class="footnote">19</a>]</sup> Yet as garment production has sped up we have seen new challenges emerge that have further increased its likelihood.</p> <p>To meet their obligations suppliers frequently pressure workers to work overly long or consecutive shifts for below-minimum wages while fulfilling extremely high quotas.<sup>[<a id="ffn20" href="#fn20" class="footnote">20</a>, <a id="ffn21" href="#fn21" class="footnote">21</a>, <a id="ffn22" href="#fn22" class="footnote">22</a>, <a id="ffn23" href="#fn23" class="footnote">23</a>, <a id="ffn24" href="#fn24" class="footnote">24</a>]</sup> They may also seek out workforces (e.g. children, refugees, irregular migrants) whose desperation, vulnerability and restricted mobility leave them with little choice but to accept illegal working conditions.<sup>[<a id="ffn25" href="#fn25" class="footnote">25</a>, <a id="ffn26" href="#fn26" class="footnote">26</a>, <a id="ffn27" href="#fn27" class="footnote">27</a>, <a id="ffn28" href="#fn28" class="footnote">28</a>, <a id="ffn29" href="#fn29" class="footnote">29</a>]</sup> As we saw in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2">chapter 5</a>, such populations also find it difficult to resist or escape psychological or physical coercion.<sup>[<a id="ffn30" href="#fn30" class="footnote">30</a>]</sup> Time pressures on tier-one suppliers, furthermore, are generally passed down to the sub-tiers of the supply chain.</p> <p>As just one example, the garment suppliers in India’s Tamil Nadu region are so affected by this dynamic that the Sumangali system has now emerged, in which young women “live in company-controlled hostels with no freedom of movement so that they will be available to work on call, won’t seek work in other factories or mills and will be deterred from joining a union”.<sup>[<a id="ffn31" href="#fn31" class="footnote">31</a>]</sup> This need for instantaneous yet cheap labour power is a direct result of decreasing production windows, and it fuels the business demand for forced labour.</p> <p>Research also suggests that the time-sensitive nature of some products, such as perishable foods or seasonable goods, leads to predictable yet temporary concentrations of forced labour.<sup>[<a id="ffn32" href="#fn32" class="footnote">32</a>, <a id="ffn33" href="#fn33" class="footnote">33</a>, <a id="ffn34" href="#fn34" class="footnote">34</a>]</sup> Products like strawberries or tomatoes have very short harvest windows, and at picking time suppliers need a large number of workers but only for a short period. Artificial Christmas wreaths or Valentine’s Day hearts are produced under similar constraints, and to cope factories frequently must expand their core workforces while keeping costs as low as possible in the process.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">To meet their obligations suppliers frequently pressure workers to work overly long or consecutive shifts for below-minimum wages while fulfilling extremely high quotas.</p> <p>As we saw in the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7">last chapter</a>, this need is often met through either labour subcontracting<sup>[<a id="ffn35" href="#fn35" class="footnote">35</a>, <a id="ffn36" href="#fn36" class="footnote">36</a>]</sup> or subcontracting work to smaller, less formalised production sites. These include unregistered&nbsp;factories,&nbsp;where exploitative labour practices are a core part of the business model,<sup>[<a id="ffn37" href="#fn37" class="footnote">37</a>]</sup> as well as informal and unregulated workers including home workers.<sup>[<a id="ffn38" href="#fn38" class="footnote">38</a>, <a id="ffn39" href="#fn39" class="footnote">39</a>]</sup></p> <p>Instability within MNC sourcing practices adds to the pressure on supplier firms to engage in forced labour. That instability takes many forms, including late-notice alteration to the size, content or timing of orders. A recent study of the ‘root causes’ of excessive overtime in Turkey’s garment industry, for example, found key issues to be delays in the supply chain outside the vendor’s control, the limited ability of suppliers to adapt to fluctuating orders, sudden and large orders, the unpredictability of future orders, last minute style changes and short lead times.<sup>[<a id="ffn40" href="#fn40" class="footnote">40</a>]</sup></p> <h2>Falling prices</h2> <p>Changing price points are also significant to the business demand for forced labour. According to national consumer price indexes, the prices of key household goods like clothing and food have fallen dramatically since the 1980s in many countries.<sup>[<a id="ffn41" href="#fn41" class="footnote">41</a>, <a id="ffn42" href="#fn42" class="footnote">42</a>, <a id="ffn43" href="#fn43" class="footnote">43</a>]</sup> Pressure on prices stems, in part, from MNCs competing to sell goods to cash-strapped Western consumers, whose standard of living been hit hard by neoliberal restructuring. Indeed, <em>The Guardian</em> recently noted that “Britain is experiencing a rapid decline in living standards with the biggest squeeze in workers’ pay since 2014”.<sup>[<a id="ffn44" href="#fn44" class="footnote">44</a>]</sup> Downward pressure on prices puts producers at a disadvantage because buyers are not willing to pay as much for goods. And at the same time, many producers face growing business costs because of everything from regulatory or legislative changes to increasing commodity prices.<sup>[<a id="ffn45" href="#fn45" class="footnote">45</a>]</sup> This dynamic is often referred to by economists as the ‘price-cost squeeze’.</p> <p>MNCs use their disproportionate commercial power to maintain their own profit margins even as prices fall. They do this by passing costs onto already squeezed suppliers. These relentless and ever-worsening pressures around price and cost are a key driver of forced labour in the global economy. Mark Anner, a professor of labour and employment relations at Penn State University, once illustrated this point in an interview using an anecdote from a factory he visited in El Salvador:</p> <style><!-- .squire {margin-left:25px;padding-left:10px;border-left:6px solid #0e63bc;color:#53514e;line-height:150%;} --></style> <p class="squire">[The owner] explained that the statutory minimum wage had just gone up by 10%. So, I asked her, ‘What did you do about it’? And she said she called the lead firm that was providing her with her orders…and she told them that she was going have to adjust her prices to reflect the fact that she now had to pay a higher statutory minimum wage. This was important because we know that about 80% of her overheads were labour costs…The lead firm paused for a moment and said, ‘No, you don’t understand, that <em>is</em> the price point. There is only one question and that question is, “Can you make this order at this price point?” Because if you can’t, with one or two phone calls we can move this to Haiti’. ‘So, what happened then?’, I asked her. She said she got on the megaphone and basically told the workers that they had to work 10% faster.<sup>[<a id="ffn46" href="#fn46" class="footnote">46</a>]</sup></p> <p>The naked market power at work here is not uncommon in global supply chains. Although the lead firm was not responsible in this instance for altering the price point, it used its power to force its supplier to absorb the added cost of the recent shift in production costs. When shocks like this happen, suppliers use several cost-minimisation and revenue-generating strategies to mitigate the effects, including forced labour. In this light, it is unsurprising that global data on forced labour indicates that it is most prevalent in the agricultural sector,<sup>[<a id="ffn47" href="#fn47" class="footnote">47</a>]</sup> where producers have been badly hit by rising costs of inputs (e.g. seeds and energy) and decreasing prices for their final goods (e.g. wool, sugar, beef, wheat).</p> <p>MNCs further exercise their power by delaying payments to suppliers. Suppliers’ tight margins make it difficult to pay production costs up front <em>and</em> wait long periods to recoup those costs, yet this is exactly what retail buyers frequently compel them to do. In the UK, Tesco has become infamous among farmers for this reason.<sup>[<a id="ffn48" href="#fn48" class="footnote">48</a>, <a id="ffn49" href="#fn49" class="footnote">49</a>]</sup> Despite the colossal profits Tesco makes, farmers report the company disputes agreed payment plans, imposes penalties for crop deficiencies, and makes un-scheduled deductions for in-store promotions. Where farmers contest these changes, further delays to payments can result, with the consequence that farmers are unable to cover their own overheads and may be forced into debt or to transfer their costs onto the labourers working for them.</p> <p>In short, the unwillingness of MNCs to budge on their own profits – even in the face of rising production costs and falling prices – is a key driver of the business demand for labour exploitation and forced labour.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Today, the risks of forced labour are well documented. High-tech programmes also exist to help companies measure and mitigate risks, and to prevent and address forced labour in their supply chains. Yet, they continue to use irresponsible sourcing practices that are established triggers of the business demand for forced labour.</p> <p>As we will see in the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8">next chapter</a>, MNCs are investing considerable resources in ethical certification schemes and social auditing programmes to combat forced labour and trafficking in their supply chains. Yet such schemes generally fail to address the root causes of problems, such as time and cost pressures, and some place even greater burden and punitive pressure on suppliers which can push problems deeper into the shadows of supply chains.</p> <p><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8">Next chapter: Demand 4 of 4: Governance gaps</a></strong></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">A. Crane (2013) ‘<a href="http://amr.aom.org/content/38/1/49.abstract">Modern slavery as a management practice: Exploring the conditions and capabilities for human exploitation</a>’ <em>Academy of Management Review</em>, 38(1), 49-69. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">G. LeBaron &amp; N. Howard (eds) (2015) ‘<a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lN4rGTopsacTgwN2ZOSUtyeTA/view">Forced Labour in the Global Economy</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.</em> <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">N. Phillips (2011) “<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-0374.2011.00331.x/abstract">Informality, global production networks and the dynamics of ‘adverse incorporation’</a>”, <em>Global Networks</em>, 11(3), 387. <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">A. Crane <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘<a href="http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/116170/">Governance gaps in eradicating forced labor: from global to domestic supply chains</a>’, <em>Regulation and Governance</em>. <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">S. Rioux (2015) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/s%C3%A9bastien-rioux/food-retailers-market-concentration-and-forced-labour">Food retailers, market concentration and forced labour</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">G. LeBaron &amp; N. Howard (2015) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard/forced-labour-is-big-business-states-and-corporations-ar">Forced labour is big business: states and corporations are doing little to stop it</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">S. Pandita (2017) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sanjiv-pandita-penelope-kyritsis/interview-in-pursuit-of-decent-work">Interview: in pursuit of decent work’</a>, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.&nbsp;</em> <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">A. Crane (2013) ‘<a href="http://amr.aom.org/content/38/1/49.abstract">Modern slavery as a management practice: Exploring the conditions and capabilities for human exploitation</a>’. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">See also: V. Bhardwaj &amp; A. Fairhurst (2010) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09593960903498300">Fast fashion: response to changes in the fashion industry</a>’, <em>The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research</em>, 20(1), 165-173. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">See: N. Clark (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/detecting-and-tackling-forced-labour-europe">Detecting and tackling forced labour in Europe</a>’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">See Verité’s ‘<a href="http://www.verite.org/commodities">Forced labour Commodity Atlas</a>’. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">United States Department of Labor, ‘<a href="https://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods/">List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor</a>’. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13">M. Gardini (2017) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/struggling-on-wrong-side-of-chain-labour-exploitation-in-global-agricult">Struggling on the wrong side of the chain: labour exploitation in global agriculture</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">K. Nadvi &amp; J. Thoburn (2003) ‘<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Thoburn2/publication/228820176_Vietnam_in_the_global_garment_and_textile_value_chain_Implications_for_firms_and_workers/links/00b7d52232593de17e000000/Vietnam-in-the-global-garment-and-textile-value-chain-Implications-for-firms-and-workers.pdf">Vietnam in the global garment and textile value chain: impacts on firms and workers</a>’, 21. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15">M. Morris &amp; J. Barnes (2009) ‘<a href="http://www.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/256/files/pubs/UNIDO%20Textiles_and_clothing%20Final%205Feb%2009.pdf">Globalization, The Changed Global Dynamics Of The Clothing And Textile Value Chains And The Impact On Sub-Saharan Africa</a>’, Research And Statistics Branch, Working Paper 10, Vienna: United Nations Industrial Development Organization, 3.<br /> <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16">A. Mezzadri (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alessandra-mezzadri/free-to-stitch-or-starve-capitalism-and-unfreedom-in-global-garmen">Free to stitch, or starve: capitalism and unfreedom in the global garment industry</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>.<br /> <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17">B. Andrees (2008) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_090548.pdf">Forced labour and trafficking in Europe: how people are trapped in, live through and come out</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">Bhaskaran et al. (2013) ‘Vulnerable workers and labour standards (non-) compliance in global production networks: Home-based child labour in Delhi’s garment sector’, in Rossi A. <em>et al.</em> (eds) <a href="http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137377531"><em>Towards Better Work. Advances in Labour Studies</em></a>, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 172-190. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn19">K. Nadvi &amp; J. Thoburn (2003) ‘<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Thoburn2/publication/228820176_Vietnam_in_the_global_garment_and_textile_value_chain_Implications_for_firms_and_workers/links/00b7d52232593de17e000000/Vietnam-in-the-global-garment-and-textile-value-chain-Implications-for-firms-and-workers.pdf">Vietnam in the global garment and textile value chain: impacts on firms and workers</a>’. <a href="#ffn19">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn20">N. Phillips et al. (2011) ‘<a href="http://www.environmentportal.in/files/child%20labour%20in%20delhi%20garment%20factory.pdf">Child labour in global production networks: poverty, vulnerability and ‘adverse incorporation’ in the Delhi garments sector</a>’, Chronic Poverty research Centre. <a href="#ffn20">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn21">Centre for Sustainable Work and Employment Futures (2015) ‘<a href="https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/for-journalists/media-resources/Leicester%20Report%20-%20Final%20-to%20publish.pdf/">New Industry on a Skewed Playing Field: Supply Chain Relations and Working Conditions in UK Garment Manufacturing</a>’, University of Leicester. <a href="#ffn21">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn22">R. Locke (2013) <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/comparative-politics/promise-and-limits-private-power-promoting-labor-standards-global-economy?format=PB"><em>The Promise and Limits of Private Power: Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy</em></a>, Cambridge University Press. <a href="#ffn22">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn23">Clean Clothes Campaign (2015) ‘<a href="file://localhost/Clean%20Clothes%20Campaign%20(2015)%20%E2%80%98Living%20Wage%20Now!%E2%80%99%20https/::cleanclothes.org:resources:publications:living-wage-now-magazine:view">Living Wage Now!</a>’. <a href="#ffn23">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn24">Clean Clothes Campaign (2005) ‘<a href="https://cleanclothes.org/resources/publications/made-by-women.pdf">Made by Women: Gender, The Global Garment Industry And The Movement For Women Workers’ Rights</a>’. <a href="#ffn24">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn25">A. Lushner (2016) ‘<a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/child-labour-sweatshops-refugees-marks-and-spencer-panorama-clothes-sold-in-uk-britain-british-high-a7376706.html">Refugee children 'making Marks &amp; Spencer clothes' in Turkish factories, BBC claims</a>’, <em>Independent</em>. <a href="#ffn25">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn26">M. Bain (2016) ‘<a href="https://qz.com/817573/zara-marks-spencer-brands-are-made-by-exploited-syrian-refugees-in-turkey-investigation-finds/">An investigation found Syrian child refugees in Turkey producing clothes for major brands</a>’, <em>Quartz</em>. <a href="#ffn26">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn27"><em>BBC News</em> (2016) ‘<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37716463">Child refugees in Turkey making clothes for UK shops’</a>. <a href="#ffn27">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn28">K. Lenner &amp; S. Schmelter (2016) ‘<a href="http://www.iemed.org/observatori/arees-danalisi/arxius-adjunts/anuari/med.2016/IEMed_MedYearBook2016_Refugges%20Jordan%20Lebanon_Lenner_Schmelter.pdf">Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon: between Refuge and Ongoing Deprivation</a>?’, <em>Mediterranean Yearbook 2016</em>, Barcelona: IEMed. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29">Centre for Sustainable Work and Employment Futures (2015) ‘<a href="https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/for-journalists/media-resources/Leicester%20Report%20-%20Final%20-to%20publish.pdf/">New Industry on a Skewed Playing Field: Supply Chain Relations and Working Conditions in UK Garment Manufacturing</a>’. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn30">UK Parliament ‘<a href="https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201617/jtselect/jtrights/443/44306.htm">The interaction between human rights and business</a>’. <a href="#ffn30">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn31">A. Delaney &amp; T. Connor (2016) ‘<a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2889125">Forced Labour in the Textile and Garment Sector in Tamil Nadu, South India Strategies for Redress</a>’, Corporate Accountability Research, Non-judicial Redress Mechanisms Report Series No. 13. <a href="#ffn31">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn32">K. Çalişkan (2010) <a href="https://press.princeton.edu/titles/9346.html"><em>Market Threads: How Cotton Farmers and Traders Create a Global Commodity</em></a>, Princeton: Princeton University Press. <a href="#ffn32">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn33">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn33">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn34">S. Scott <em>et al.</em> (2012) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-food-industry-full.pdf">Experiences Of Forced Labour In The Uk Food Industry</a>’ Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn34">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn35">S. Barrientos (2013) “<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220388.2013.780040">‘Labour Chains’: Analysing the Role of Labour Contractors in Global Production Networks</a>”, <em>The Journal of Development Studies</em>, 49(8), 1058-1071. <a href="#ffn35">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn36">A. Crane <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘<a href="http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/116170/">Governance gaps in eradicating forced labor: from global to domestic supply chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn36">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn37">Edna Bonacich &amp; Richard Appelbaum&nbsp;(2000) <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/op.php?isbn=9780520225060"><em>Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry</em></a>, Berkeley: University of California Press. <a href="#ffn37">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn38">N. Phillips (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085147.2012.718630">Adverse Incorporation and Unfree Labour in the Global Economy: Comparative Perspectives from Brazil and India</a>’, <em>Economy and Society</em>, 42(2), 171-196. <a href="#ffn38">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn39">N. Phillips (2011) ‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0374.2011.00331.x">Informality, global production networks and the dynamics of ‘adverse incorporation</a>’, <em>Global Networks</em>, 11, 380-397. <a href="#ffn39">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn40">S. Stoop (2005) ‘<a href="https://www.fairwear.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/turkey-overtime-paper05.pdf">Overtime and Excessive Overtime: Legal Requirements, Compliance Situations, and Opportunities for the Turkish (Istanbul) Garment Industry</a>’, Briefing Paper No. 3, Joint Initiative for Corporate Accountability and Workers' Rights. <a href="#ffn40">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn41">E. Davis (2005) ‘<a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4174587.stm">Consumers enjoy falling prices</a>’, <em>BBC News</em>. <a href="#ffn41">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn42">Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘<a href="https://www.bls.gov/cpi/">Consumer Price Index</a>’, United States Department of Labor. <a href="#ffn42">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn43">Office for National Statistics, ‘<a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/timeseries/d7g7/mm23">Time series: CPI: Consumer Prices Index (% change)</a>’. <a href="#ffn43">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn44">A. Monaghan (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/14/pay-squeeze-wages-growth-inflation-ons-unemployment-rate">Pay squeeze intensifies as wage growth falls further behind inflation</a>’, <em>The Guardian</em>. <a href="#ffn44">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn45">The World Bank (2017) ‘<a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/10/26/commodity-prices-likely-to-rise-further-in-2018-world-bank">Commodity prices likely to rise further in 2018: World Bank</a>’. <a href="#ffn45">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn46">M. Anner (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/mark-anner/voices-from-supply-chain-interview-with-mark-anner">Voices from the supply chain: an interview with Mark Anner</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn46">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn47">International Labour Organization &amp; Walk Free Foundation (2017) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575479.pdf">Global estimates of modern slavery: forced labour and forced marriage</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn47">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn48">M. Weaver (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/05/tesco-faces-investigation-over-how-it-pays-suppliers">Tesco under investigation by new regulator over dealings with suppliers</a>’, <em>The Guardian.&nbsp;</em> <a href="#ffn48">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn49">A. Renton (2011) ‘<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/jul/02/british-farmers-supermarket-price-wars">British farmers forced to pay the cost of supermarket price wars</a>’, <em>The Guardian.</em> <a href="#ffn49">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115555 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: concentrated corporate power and ownership https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Multinational corporations are becoming increasingly powerful – and this has serious implications for workers at the bottom of supply chains.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Concentration_Corporate_Power_Facebook.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">IIlustration by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.carysboughton.com/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>The political economic forces creating a business ‘demand’ for forced labour are no more random than those creating a supply of people vulnerable to it. Instances of forced labour are not – we repeat, not – the simple outcome of immorality among criminals or ‘bad apple’ employers. </p> <p>Although often characterised as a hidden crime occurring randomly on the “underside of globalisation”,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn1" id="ffn1">1</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn2" id="ffn2">2</a>]</sup> in reality, forced labour is a stable and predictable feature of many global supply chains. Just as we can understand the factors that make people vulnerable to forced labour, so too can we trace the dynamics that underpin the business demand for their labour. This section of the report draws together research from across several sectors and regions to illustrate four key political economic drivers of the demand for forced labour in supply chains. We begin with the increasingly concentrated corporate power and ownership.</p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img width="230" style="border: 1px solid black;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <h2>Corporate scale and profits</h2> <p>One of globalisation’s most striking features has been the massive growth of multinational corporations (MNCs). As we explained in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1">chapter 3</a>, many of these companies do not own or operate their own factories, but rather have redrawn global production patterns to coordinate the making of the goods they sell across thousands of supplier factories located around the world. Walmart, for instance, coordinates across over 100,000 suppliers.</p> <p>The model of fast, high-turnover production that Walmart, H&amp;M and others have pioneered since the late 1990s has brought vast profits for the lead firms at the helm. In 2017, Apple brought in over US$45 billion in profits,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn3" id="ffn3">3</a>]</sup> Disney brought in US$9.39 billion, and Nestlé’s profits hit US$8.65 billion.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn4" id="ffn4">4</a>]</sup> Walmart brought in US$481.3 billion in net sales that same year, nearly 35 times the GDP of a small country like Jamaica.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn5" id="ffn5">5</a>]</sup></p> <p>These profits have been a driving force behind contemporary global inequality. The 2017 list of the world’s richest people is topped by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (net worth US$90.6 billion), Microsoft founder Bill Gates (net worth US$90 billion), and Amancio Ortega (net worth US$83.2 billion), founder of Inditex fashion group, which owns Zara. According to Oxfam, just eight men now control the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the planet.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn6" id="ffn6">6</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn7" id="ffn7">7</a>]</sup> The global workforces working directly and indirectly for these men and their companies largely come from this poor second half, and – as the ‘supply’ section of this report makes clear – it is an understatement to say that they have not benefited nearly as much as these men at the top. </p> <h2>Monopolisation and market power</h2> <p>In addition to making their founders and executives very wealthy, the size and scale of today’s MNCs gives them enormous market power, which is critical for understanding forced labour. Swiss food giant Nestlé buys 10% of the world’s cocoa crop, 10% of the world’s coffee beans and 2% of the world’s milk and sugar.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn8" id="ffn8">8</a>]</sup> Companies have also become conglomerates encompassing hundreds of brands: Unilever alone owns over 400, including such major household names as Dove, Lipton, PG Tips, Vaseline, Ben &amp; Jerry’s and Becel. The breadth of competition in many markets has lessened as a result, and often just a handful of companies hold virtual monopolies over entire markets. For instance, roughly 80% of the global tea market is held by just three companies – the Dutch-British Unilever, the Indian Tata Group and Associated British Foods.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn9" id="ffn9">9</a>]</sup> Corporations’ vast market power allows them to dictate prices and margins in global value chains (GVCs). Unsurprisingly, they do so in ways that allow them to accrue huge profits while squeezing ever-lower margins down along their supply chains.</p> <p>Examples abound. Four years ago, the major Canadian current affairs magazine <em>Maclean’s</em> investigated the cost breakdown of a C$14 polo shirt, reporting that it cost retailers only C$5.67 to produce, and of that, only C$0.12 went to workers.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn10" id="ffn10">10</a>]</sup> In cocoa, we know from research conducted by scholars at the Institute of Development Studies that cocoa farmers in Ghana receive “just 4 per cent of the final price of an average UK bar of milk chocolate”, with the lion’s share of the retail price going to chocolate manufacturers and retailers.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn11" id="ffn11">11</a>]</sup> Similarly, a study of value distribution in the production of Apple’s iPhone reveals that the majority of the money – 58.5% – goes straight to Apple’s profits, while Apple’s suppliers receive a far lower proportion; Taiwan’s profits are 0.5%, while South Korea’s are 4.7%. In all, only 5.3% of the value of an iPhone goes into the pockets of Apple’s global workforce.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn12" id="ffn12">12</a>]</sup></p> <p>Stephen Roach, an economist at Morgan Stanley, has called this model of MNC profitability “global labour arbitrage”, referring to the enormous profits that MNCs accrue through their systemic, near monopolistic control over the global labour market.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn13" id="ffn13">13</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn14" id="ffn14">14</a>]</sup> Their sourcing practices rely on, reinforce and seek to profit from countries’ ‘comparative advantages’ in terms of labour exploitation. In the garment industry – as in agriculture and other industries with fierce competition over prices – firms like H&amp;M decide where to source and manufacture goods primarily based on the cost of labour, and as such they ‘comparison shop’ for places where labour remains cheap (and by extension under-protected). It is no coincidence that, according to H&amp;M’s supplier list,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn15" id="ffn15">15</a>]</sup> the company primarily turns to countries with notoriously low-wage garment sectors, like Bangladesh, China, Vietnam and Thailand, to find this optimal combination. </p> <p>Because of their size and market power, the prices MNCs choose to pay their first-tier suppliers have knock-on effects throughout the entire supply chain. They affect not only the margins of all downstream firms, as the following section explores, but also the overall labour conditions of producing countries. For instance, the world’s second largest clothing retailer, H&amp;M, sources from “some 1,900 [first-tier] factories in which about 820 suppliers … employ about 1.6 million people”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn16" id="ffn16">16</a>]</sup> Beneath these factories lies a web of smaller suppliers, conducting embroidery, printing, washing, spinning, knitting, weaving and dyeing, along with cotton growing, trading, and ginning.</p> <p>The price that H&amp;M pays at the top shapes the working conditions of those below, since each subsequent tier of suppliers must struggle over the remaining slice(s) of the pie. As labour is usually a factory’s biggest cost – or at the very least its most negotiable cost – the most obvious option for remaining profitable is to further squeeze workers in turn. As such, even if H&amp;M does not consider cotton growers or weavers to be its direct business partners, the firm nevertheless structures the world in which they work.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">As labour is usually a factory’s biggest cost, the most obvious option for remaining profitable is to further squeeze workers in turn.&nbsp;</p> <p>Companies like H&amp;M are quick to disclaim responsibility for this squeezing effect and for the low share of value accruing to workers and firms deeper down in the supply chain. They even note on their website that “workers are employed by the supplier – and not by us. We neither set nor pay the factory workers’ wages and consequently, we cannot directly decide what they are paid”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn17" id="ffn17">17</a>]</sup> Technically this is true. But by dictating value distribution along the supply chain MNCs give shape to the market structures within which all those beneath them must work. The squeeze brought about by vastly uneven value distributions has, by this point, often become so tight that it fuels demand for forced labour amongst businesses further down the chain. </p> <h2>Commercial pressures </h2> <p>The concentration of corporate power and ownership in lead firms not only allows them to dictate value distribution along the chain but also the absolute size of the pie to be shared. In other words, lead firms’ market power gives suppliers little choice but to accept that the end retail price will remain low. In combination with unequal value chain distribution this inescapably reduces profit margins further along the chain, especially in industries where labour costs are a major expense of doing business. These trends have resulted in huge downward pressure on working conditions.</p> <p>Major brands have consistently sought to drive down commodity and shop prices in recent years, or to keep them there, and one way they have done this has been to demand ever lower prices from their suppliers. This is especially true of competitive industries where margins are often already very thin. Faced with little choice but to accept the new terms or be replaced, manufacturers have attempted to alleviate the pressure by lowering their labour costs – often the only cost that can be reduced without sacrificing quality. As one South African apple farm owner put it, “the only ham left in the sandwich is our labour costs. If they [the supermarkets] squeeze us, it’s the only place where we can squeeze”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn18" id="ffn18">18</a>]</sup> </p> <p>One of the starkest examples is the food and agriculture industry, in which an estimated 1.3 billion people work.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn19" id="ffn19">19</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn20" id="ffn20">20</a>]</sup> Over two decades of evidence make it clear that downward pressure on prices in this industry create corresponding pressures towards forced labour. Debt-bondage, underpayment of wages, and forced overtime have become endemic to the cane industry, where the price of sugar has been steadily falling,<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn21" id="ffn21">21</a>]</sup> while lower coffee prices correlate with the increased use of forced labour.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn22" id="ffn22">22</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn23" id="ffn23">23</a>]</sup></p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Sometimes, suppliers respond to commercial pressures by introducing business models configured directly around forced labour.&nbsp;</p> <p>Research across a range of industries suggests that businesses in tiers below the top-tier firm have sought to lower labour costs in several ways. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013)’s study of the business models of forced labour highlights three. First, they directly lower labour costs by not paying the promised wage, openly paying below the minimum wage, and providing substandard accommodation for workers. Second, they attempt to generate revenues <em>from</em> workers, such as by charging recruitment fees or by overcharging for accommodation and other services. Third, they re-outsource work further down the supply chain, or to agency workers through labour subcontracting.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn24" id="ffn24">24</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn25" id="ffn25">25</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn26" id="ffn26">26</a>]</sup> All of these scenarios can introduce higher risks of forced labour, as well as patterns of informalisation.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn27" id="ffn27">27</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Sometimes, suppliers respond to commercial pressures by introducing business models configured directly around forced labour, using practices like debt bondage, forced overtime, illegal wage deductions, and physical, psychological, or other forms of coercion in an attempt to further lower labour costs. Research on a number of products – including sugar, garments, seafood, and electronics – has linked the business demand for forced labour to pressure on costs and prices.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn28" id="ffn28">28</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn29" id="ffn29">29</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn30" id="ffn30">30</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn31" id="ffn31">31</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn32" id="ffn32">32</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn33" id="ffn33">33</a>]</sup> Occasionally, this occurs within the factories that supply directly to MNCs. For instance, a bed supplier to UK department store John Lewis, Kozee Sleep, was recently convicted of exploiting a “slave workforce”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn34" id="ffn34">34</a>]</sup> This is in some senses unsurprising since, according to one study of the UK garment industry, manufacturers often have “very low or even no profit margins”. In such a situation the business demand for extremely low-cost labour is painfully clear.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn35" id="ffn35">35</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Cases like Kozee Sleep, however, are relatively rare. Much more frequently we find that the businesses resorting to forced labour exist far from the public gaze and from consumer-facing operations. They are often unregistered or informal organisations with no official link to the brand. To understand how and why this occurs, we need to take a closer look at outsourcing, and the research that documents higher prevalence of forced labour amongst outsourced portions of supply chains. It is to this we move next.</p> <p><strong>Next chapter: Demand 2 of 4: <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7">Outsourcing</a></strong></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">International Labour Organization (2005) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/ilc/ilc93/pdf/rep-i-b.pdf">A global alliance against forced labour</a>’, Geneva: ILO, 30. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">International Labour Organization (2001) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_publ_9221119483_en.pdf">Stopping forced labour</a>’, Global Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, Report I(B), International Labour Conference, 89th Session, Geneva, 2001, 47. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">Fortune (2017) ‘<a href="http://fortune.com/global500/apple/">Apple</a>’, <em>Global 500</em>. <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">Fortune (2017) ‘<a href="http://fortune.com/global500/list/filtered?sortBy=profits&amp;first500">Most profitable</a>’, <em>Global 500.</em> <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">The World Bank, <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD">GDP ($US)</a>. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">Oxfam (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-economy-for-99-percent-160117-en.pdf">An Economy for the 99%</a>’. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">Credit Suisse (2016) ‘<a href="http://publications.creditsuisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=AD6F2B43-B17B-345E-E20A1A254A3E24A5">Global Wealth Databook 2016</a>’. <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">T. Gooley (2016) ‘<a href="http://www.supplychainquarterly.com/news/20160607-nestl-puts-36000-supply-chain-minds-to-work/">Nestlé puts 36,000 supply chain minds to work</a>’, <em>CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly</em>. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">Oxfam Germany <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.oxfam.de/system/files/konzernatlas2017_web_170207.pdf">Konzernatlas 2017</a>’, 28. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">R. Westwood (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.macleans.ca/economy/business/what-does-that-14-shirt-really-cost/">What does that $14 shirt really cost?</a>’, <em>Maclean’s</em>. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">O. Ryan (2011) <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/C/bo20848168.html"><em>Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa</em></a>, London: Zed Books, 6, citing: Stephanie Barrientos et al. (2007) <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281207478_Mapping_Sustainable_Production_in_Ghanaian_Cocoa"><em>Mapping Sustainable Production in Ghanaian Cocoa: Report to Cadbury</em></a>, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex and Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Ghana, 10. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">K. L. Kraemer <em>et al.</em> (2011) ‘<a href="http://pcic.merage.uci.edu/papers/2011/value_ipad_iphone.pdf">Capturing Value in Global Networks: Apple’s iPad and iPhone</a>’ University of California, Irvine, University of California, Berkeley and Syracuse University. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13">J. Rubino (2005) ‘<a href="https://www.cfapubs.org/doi/pdf/10.2469/cfm.v16.n1.2905">Global Labor Arbitrage</a>’ <em>CFA Magazine</em>, Jan-Feb 2005. <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">In economics theory, ‘arbitrage’ refers to taking advantage of the price differential between two markets. See: <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbitrage">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbitrage</a>. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15">H&amp;M Group ‘<a href="http://sustainability.hm.com/en/sustainability/downloads-resources/resources/supplier-list.html">Our supplier factory list</a>’, Sustainability Reporting. <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16"><em>Ibid.</em> <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17">H&amp;M Group ‘<a href="https://about.hm.com/en/sustainability/sustainable-fashion/wages.html">Wages</a>’, Sustainability Reporting. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">Quoted in: K. Raworth &amp; T. Kidder (2009) ‘“Mimicking ‘lean’ in global value chains: It’s the workers who get leaned on”’, in Blair, J. (ed.) <a href="http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=8730"><em>Frontiers of Commodity Chain Research</em></a>, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 165-189. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn19">International Labour Organization (2014) ‘<a href="http://ina.bnu.edu.cn/docs/20140604152414095087.pdf">Key indicators of the labour market</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn19">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn20">International Labour Organization (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_emp/---emp_policy/documents/publication/wcms_437173.pdf">Decent and Productive Work in Agriculture</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn20">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn21">J. Basu (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2015/03/03/Global-sugar-prices-fall-23-since-last-year">Global sugar prices hit five month low</a>’, <em>FoodNavigator.&nbsp;</em> <a href="#ffn21">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn22">Verité (2012) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Research-on-Indicators-of-Forced-Labor-in-the-Guatemala-Coffee-Sector__9.16.pdf">Research On Indicators Of Forced Labor In The Supply Chain Of Coffee In Guatemala</a>’. <a href="#ffn22">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn23">S. Scott <em>et al.</em> (2012) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-food-industry-full.pdf">Experiences Of Forced Labour In The Uk Food Industry</a>’ Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn23">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn24">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn24">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn25">J. Fudge &amp; K. Strauss (eds) (2013) <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Temporary-Work-Agencies-and-Unfree-Labour-Insecurity-in-the-New-World/Fudge-Strauss/p/book/9780415536509"><em>Temporary work, agencies and unfree labour: insecurity in the new world of work</em></a>, New York: Routledge. <a href="#ffn25">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn26">S. Barrientos (2013) “<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220388.2013.780040">‘Labour Chains’: Analysing the Role of Labour Contractors in Global Production Networks</a>”, <em>The Journal of Development Studies</em>, 49(8), 1058-1071. <a href="#ffn26">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn27">See works by Alessandra Mezzadri, especially: A. Mezzadri (2016) <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/political-economy/sweatshop-regime-labouring-bodies-exploitation-and-garments-imade-indiai?format=HB"><em>The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation and Garments Made in India</em></a>, Cambridge University Press. <a href="#ffn27">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn28">J. Alsever, (2014) ‘Prison labor’s new frontier: Artisanal foods’, <em>Fortune</em>. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29">S. Scott <em>et al.</em> (2012) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-food-industry-full.pdf">Experiences Of Forced Labour In The UK Food Industry</a>’ Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn30">B. Richardson (2015) <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Sugar-p-9780745680149"><em>Sugar</em></a>, Cambridge: Polity Press. <a href="#ffn30">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn31">S. McGrath (2013) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01024.x/abstract">Many Chains to Break: The Multi-dimensional Concept of Slave Labour in Brazil</a>’, <em>Antipode</em>, 45, 1005-1028. <a href="#ffn31">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn32">P. Belser &amp; B. Andrees (eds) (2009) <a href="https://www.rienner.com/title/Forced_Labor_Coercion_and_Exploitation_in_the_Private_Economy"><em>Forced Labor: Coercion and Exploitation in the Private Economy</em></a>, London: Lynne Rienner Publishers. <a href="#ffn32">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn33">See Verité’s ‘<a href="http://www.verite.org/commodities">Forced labour Commodity Atlas</a>’. <a href="#ffn33">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn34">A. Crane &amp; G. LeBaron (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-andrew-crane/overseas-anti-slavery-initiatives-flourish-but-domestic">Overseas anti-slavery initiatives flourish, but domestic governance gaps persist</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn34">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn35">See: UK Parliament ‘<a href="https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201617/jtselect/jtrights/443/44306.htm">The interaction between human rights and business</a>’. <a href="#ffn35">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div id="container" class="rctoc" style="width: 140px;"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115554 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: restrictive mobility regimes https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Border restrictions are often justified as measures to protect migrants from "trafficking", but borders actually increase migrants' vulnerability to forced labour and labour exploitation.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Migration_Facebook.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">IIlustration by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.carysboughton.com/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>The rules governing people’s mobility within the global economy are not neutral sorting mechanisms but tools producing different categories of people able to enjoy different rights and freedoms.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn1" id="ffn1">1</a>]</sup> To be on the right side of them is to be able to move <em>away</em> from poverty, unemployment, and labour abuses towards better work conditions, labour protections and public safety nets. To be on the wrong side of them is to substantially lose one’s freedom to say no to exploitative labour conditions. This is starkly reflected in the existing data on the link between migrant status and forced labour.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn2" id="ffn2">2</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn3" id="ffn3">3</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn4" id="ffn4">4</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn5" id="ffn5">5</a>]</sup> As Nandita Sharma puts it, “immigration policies [are] the vehicle through which [migrants’] unfreedom is organized”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn6" id="ffn6">6</a>]</sup> This chapter will examine how such policies operate in the contemporary global economy to shape people’s vulnerability to exploitative labour conditions amounting to forced labour.</p> <h2>Border controls </h2> <p>Migrant vulnerability to forced labour begins at the border. Although political authorities routinely claim that tighter borders protect would-be migrants from ‘trafficking’, in reality borders increase the likelihood of migrants ending up in situations of exploitation.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn7" id="ffn7">7</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn8" id="ffn8">8</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn9" id="ffn9">9</a>]</sup> Aggressive border policies create a game of cat and mouse, where those committed to moving must take evermore circuitous, dangerous and illegalised paths to achieve their objectives. Success therefore comes with a price, one which is frequently paid to smugglers and other intermediaries by taking on debt. To repay these debts many migrants agree to debt-bonded forms of work in hyper-exploitative conditions.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn10" id="ffn10">10</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn11" id="ffn11">11</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Yet even people who arrive in a country legally can be placed at risk by restrictive migration regimes. Certain categories of migrants – such as asylum seekers – are denied access to the labour market or to social protections while they wait for a decision on their status. In the United Kingdom, the 2002 Asylum Act withdrew the right to work from asylum seekers as a means of deterring excessive or ‘bogus’ applications, while later legislation limited the extent to which they can call on the state when in need.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn12" id="ffn12">12</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn13" id="ffn13">13</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn14" id="ffn14">14</a>]</sup> These changes have thrown many into destitution, forcing them to make do with limited state support or enter the informal economy. When they opt for the latter illegal and exploitative conditions often await.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn15" id="ffn15">15</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn16" id="ffn16">16</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn17" id="ffn17">17</a>]</sup></p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img width="230" style="border: 1px solid black;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <h2>Systemic vulnerability </h2> <p>Myriad studies have documented the links between migration status and vulnerability to forced labour.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn18" id="ffn18">18</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn19" id="ffn19">19</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn20" id="ffn20">20</a>]</sup> In the UK, researchers have shown this in low-skilled or illegal sectors such as agriculture, construction and cannabis production.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn21" id="ffn21">21</a>]</sup> Similar results have been found in Italy’s agricultural sector, where tomatoes, oranges, and other produce are predominantly harvested by African migrants caught between needing to earn a living and being entitled to absolutely no state support.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn22" id="ffn22">22</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn23" id="ffn23">23</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn24" id="ffn24">24</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn25" id="ffn25">25</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn26" id="ffn26">26</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn27" id="ffn27">27</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn28" id="ffn28">28</a>]</sup></p> <p>Irene Peano has been conducting research with these workers for several years and observes that most “earn on average less than half the minimum wage established by collective agreements”. Worse still, “many work for a piece rate rather than an hourly wage, and in most cases do so entirely outside the social security system. Working hours greatly exceed those prescribed, and illegal gangmasters, frequently employed to recruit and discipline the labour force, charge workers for transport to the fields as well as accommodation”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn29" id="ffn29">29</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn30" id="ffn30">30</a>]</sup></p> <p>Although most of these workers do consent to their conditions, their freedom to do otherwise has been radically curtailed by their extra-legal status. This status prevents them from accessing state support and places high constraints on their ability to secure the means of their own reproduction.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn31" id="ffn31">31</a>]</sup> This disadvantage is exacerbated by racial discrimination and other aspects of agricultural production (such as the low prices demanded by large buyers) to produce their exploitation. They represent a disposable labour force available when employers need them, yet those same employers have no responsibility for their welfare when they don’t.</p> <p>Such dynamics also exist in countries across the global south. In India and China, for example, governments have placed restrictions on the rights and entitlements of migrants when they move internally from state to state. As a consequence, millions of migrants effectively exit social protection when they leave their home states. Researchers at Oxford University surveyed 7000 households in the Indian province of Bihar, whose members usually migrate seasonally for work. They found that 30% were unable to access their entitlements to subsidised food when they did so because their ration cards were declared invalid at their destinations. Such limitations significantly increase the likelihood of people ending up in situations of abuse, since they have no safety net in times of hardship and must rely on employers or labour contractors for food, board and social support.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn32" id="ffn32">32</a>]</sup></p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Migrant vulnerability to forced labour begins at the border.</p><p>Apart from geographic region, certain sectors are often especially vulnerable to forced labour because states place them outside the purview of labour law while migrants are intentionally recruited into them. A study by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), for example, found that farm work across the Global North is “exempt from requirements concerning overtime, rest days, and health and safety standards”, as well as free from labour inspection.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn33" id="ffn33">33</a>]</sup> In many instances, therefore, the only force available to ensure employers comply with existing labour standards are the employers themselves.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn34" id="ffn34">34</a>]</sup> This, as the International Labour Organisations’s (ILO) recent <em>Economics of Forced Labour</em> report highlights, carries significant risks for agricultural migrant worker safety.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn35" id="ffn35">35</a>]</sup></p> <p>Worse still, certain governments place limits on the rights of migrants to collectively organise in defence of their interests. The same OSCE study found restrictions commonly applied to migrants’ rights to participate in trade unions or to form their own unions. These include “making citizenship a condition for taking a trade union office, stipulating that a proportion of the membership must be nationals, or linking trade union membership to a condition of residence or reciprocity or both”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn36" id="ffn36">36</a>]</sup> </p> <h2>Visa programmes </h2> <p>Temporary or ‘tied’ visa programmes are another important mechanism fostering forced labour among migrants and restricting their ability to exert their rights. Such visa programmes allow migrants to enter a country but only to work for one specific employer or in one specific location. They commonly apply to sectors which already entail significant worker vulnerabilities because of their geographical or social isolation, such as agriculture, domestic work or care work.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn37" id="ffn37">37</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn38" id="ffn38">38</a>]</sup> For example, workers on visas such as the H2 Guestworker Programme in the United States or the Overseas Domestic Worker visa in the UK are not permitted to change employer or to seek alternative employment if and when problems with their current employers arise. If for any reason they choose to leave their current employment relationship, they are subject to deportation.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn39" id="ffn39">39</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn40" id="ffn40">40</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn41" id="ffn41">41</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn42" id="ffn42">42</a>]</sup> </p> <p>The Kafala system, a visa sponsorship programme in Gulf countries, has also been documented to foster exploitative labour conditions. Migrant workers to countries like Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates experience what the Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director for the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, calls a “triangle of oppression”, the three sides of which are: heavy fees to labour brokers to secure a job, the confiscation of their passports by employers as soon as they arrive in their destination country, and the absence of legal protections and recourses if they face abuse.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn43" id="ffn43">43</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Tied visa programmes inevitably create spaces of structural vulnerability.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn44" id="ffn44">44</a>]</sup> Many of the workers on them are relatively poor, with family dependents back in their home countries relying on their wages for school, healthcare or other necessities. Many will also have indebted themselves heavily to fund their travel and the purchase of their visa. They thus face very high opportunity costs if they attempt to leave their employment, even when that has become abusive or exploitative. And in many cases, employers capitalise on these vulnerabilities and use threats of denunciation as a mechanism for bolstering productivity or preventing migrant workers from organising.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn45" id="ffn45">45</a>]</sup> As a result, although they may be formally ‘free’, the substance of their freedom is severely curtailed by their lack of any meaningful freedom to exit this labour relation. </p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>We know that labour regulation, enforcement and organising are crucial for preventing the exploitation of workers. Yet migrants frequently have no choice but to work outside the reach of regulation and without the benefit of collective action due to the limitations that states place on their freedom. Thus while the prophets of ‘globalisation’ hold that markets bring liberty with them, in reality its distribution is far from even.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Capital roams the earth freely but labour most certainly does not.&nbsp;</p><p>Capital roams the earth freely but labour most certainly does not. Excluded from wealth or adversely incorporated into the processes that generate it, many of the world’s poor are denied their freedom to say no when – and especially when – they choose to leave their homes in order to make more money elsewhere. Their continued exclusion is a result of immigration policies and consequently they live at a real risk of forced labour. This risk is compounded by processes of social discrimination, by the neoliberalising undercutting of labour protection, and by the creation of migratory regimes that entrench vulnerability. This is what it means to create a ‘supply’ of potential forced labourers. It is to the demand for their labour that we now turn.</p> <p><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5">Next chapter: Demand 1 of 4: Concentrated corporate power and ownership</a></strong></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">B. Anderson (2013) <a href="http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691593.001.0001/acprof-9780199691593"><em>Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Control</em></a>, Oxford University Press, 71. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">The ILO estimates that 44% of the world’s forced labourers are migrants. See: International Labour Organization (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf">Profits and Poverty: the Economics of Forced Labour</a>’, Geneva: ILO, 8. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">Verité (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EO-and-Commodity-Reports-Combined-FINAL-2017.pdf">Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">National Guestworker Alliance (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/raising-the-floor-for-supply-chain-workers-perspective-from-u-s-seafood-supply-chains">Raising the Floor for Supply Chain Workers: Perspective from U.S. Seafood Supply Chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">N. Sharma (2006) <a href="https://utorontopress.com/us/home-economics-3"><em>Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of 'Migrant Workers' in Canada</em></a>, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 24. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">GAATW (2007) ‘<a href="https://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/shared/shared/mainsite/microsites/IDM/workshops/ensuring_protection_070909/collateral_damage_gaatw_2007.pdf">Collateral Damage: the Impact of Anti-Trafficking Measures on Human Rights around the World</a>’, Bangkok: GAATW. <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">R. Andrijasevic (2010) <a href="https://10.1111/j.1468-2435.2009.00554.x">‘Deported: The Right to Asylum at EU's External Border of Italy and Libya</a>’, <em>International Migration</em> 48(1), 148-174. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">B. Anderson &amp; I. Shutes (2014) <a href="http://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781137319692"><em>Migration and Care Labour: Theory, Policy and Politics</em></a>, London: Palgrave Macmillan. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">R. Miller &amp; S. Baumeister (2013) ‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.14197/atr.20121321">Managing Migration: Is border control fundamental to anti-trafficking and anti- smuggling interventions?</a>’ <em>Anti-Trafficking Review</em>, 2, 22. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">International Labour Organization (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf">Profits and Poverty: the Economics of Forced Labour</a>’, 43-44. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">R. Madziva (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/roda-madziva/slavery-asylum-and-face-of-social-death-in-modern-day-britain">Slavery, asylum, and the face of social death in modern day Britain</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13">Human Rights Watch (2010) ‘<a href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2010/02/23/fast-tracked-unfairness/detention-and-denial-women-asylum-seekers-uk">Fast-Tracked Unfairness: Detention and Denial of Women Asylum Seekers in the UK</a>’. <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">Anderson (2013) <a href="http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691593.001.0001/acprof-9780199691593"><em>Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Control</em></a>. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15"><em>Ibid</em>., 74. <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16">Refugee Action (2006) ‘<a href="https://stillhumanstillhere.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/ra_the_destitution_trap2.pdf">The Destitution Trap: Research into destitution among refused asylum seekers in the UK</a>’. <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17">H. Lewis <em>et al.</em> (2012) ‘<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277557736_From_restrictions_to_the_cap_trends_in_UK_migration_policy">From restrictions to the cap: trends in UK immigration policy</a>’, <em>Journal of</em> <em>Poverty&nbsp;and&nbsp;Social Justice</em>, 20(1) 87-91. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">B. Anderson &amp; B. Rogaly, (2005) ‘<a href="https://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/2007/pr-2007-forced_labour_tuc/">Forced Labour and Immigration in the UK</a>’, COMPAS &amp; Trades Union Congress. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn19">H. Lewis <em>et al.</em> (2014) ‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132514548303">Hyper-Precarious Lives: Migrants, Work and Forced Labour in the Global North</a>’, <em>Progress in Human Geography</em>, 39(5), 580-600. <a href="#ffn19">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn20">D. Demetreou (2015), “<a href="http://www.antitraffickingreview.org/index.php/atrjournal/article/view/81/139">‘Tied Visas’ and Inadequate Labour Protections: A Formula for Abuse and Exploitation of Migrant Domestic Workers in the United Kingdom</a>”, <em>Anti-Trafficking Review</em>, 5, 69-88. <a href="#ffn20">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn21">J. Allain <em>et al.</em> (2013) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/forced-labour-business-full.pdf">Forced labour’s business models and supply chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn21">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn22">N. Dines, &amp; E. Rigo (2015) ‘Postcolonial Citizenships and the ‘Refugeeization’ of the Workforce: Migrant Agricultural Labor in the Italian Mezzogiorno’, in Ponzanesi, S. and Colpani, G. (eds), <a href="http://www.rowmaninternational.com/book/postcolonial_transitions_in_europe/3-156-6b684809-d89a-4b27-8aa4-1463b0f6cbcd"><em>Postcolonial Transitions in Europe: Contexts, Practices and Politics</em></a>, Lanham: Rowman &amp; Littlefield. <a href="#ffn22">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn23">F. Fanizza (2013) ‘L’immigrazione nelle aree rurali della Puglia: il caso della Capitanata’, in Colloca, C. &amp; Corrado, A. (eds), <em>La globalizzazione delle campagne. Migranti e società rurali nel Sud Italia</em>, Milano: FrancoAngeli, 94-112. <a href="#ffn23">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn24">D. Perrotta &amp; D. Sacchetto (2013) ‘<a href="https://hommesmigrations.revues.org/1910">Les Ouvriers Agricoles Etrangers dans l’Italie Méridionale entre “Séclusion” et Action Collective</a>’, <em>Hommes et Migrations</em>, 1, 57-66. <a href="#ffn24">↩</a><p>&nbsp;</p> </li> <li id="fn25">D. Perrotta (2013)‘Traiettorie Migratorie nei Territori del Pomodoro: Rumeni e Burkinabé in Colloca, C. &amp; Corrado, A. (eds), <em>La globalizzazione delle campagne. Migranti e società rurali nel Sud Italia</em>, Milano: FrancoAngeli, 118-140. <a href="#ffn25">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn26">D. Perrotta (2014) ‘Violenza Simbolica e Migranti in Italia: Esperienze di Ricerca Con Operai Rumeni e Braccianti Burkinabé’, <em>Rassegna Italiana Di Sociologia</em>, 4(1), 149-179. <a href="#ffn26">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn27">D. Perrotta, (2014) ‘Vecchi e Nuovi Mediatori. Storia, Geografia ed Etnografia del Caporalato in Agricoltura’, <em>Meridiana</em>, 79, 193-220. <a href="#ffn27">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn28">D. Perrotta (2015),‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2831632">Agricultural Day Laborers in Southern Italy: Forms of Mobility and Resistance</a>’, <em>The South Atlantic Quarterly,</em> 114(1), 196-203. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29">I. Peano (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/irene-peano/containment-resistance-flight-migrant-labour-in-agro-industrial-district-o">Containment, resistance, flight: Migrant labour in the agro-industrial district of Foggia, Italy</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn30">A. Bellagamba (ed.) (2016-17) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyond-slavery-themes/shadows-of-slavery">Special series: the shadows of slavery</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn30">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn31">N. Howard (2015) <a href="https://me.eui.eu/neil-philip-howard/blog/pomo-doro-presence-and-absence-in-the-political-iconography-of-italys-red-gold/">“‘Pomo-d’Oro’: Presence and Absence in the Political Iconography of Italy’s ‘Red Gold’</a>”. <a href="#ffn31">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn32">T. Murray Li (2017) ‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.1017/S0010417517000044">The Price of Un/Freedom: Indonesia's Colonial and Contemporary Plantation Labor Regimes</a>’, <em>Comparative Studies in Society and History</em>, 59(2), 245-276. <a href="#ffn32">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn33">OSCE (2009) ‘<a href="http://www.osce.org/cthb/37937">A Summary of Challenges on Addressing Human Trafficking for Labour Exploitation in the Agricultural Sector in the OSCE Region</a>’, Vienna: OSCE, 24. <a href="#ffn33">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn34">H. Bauder (2006) <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/labor-movement-9780195180886?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;"><em>Labor Movement: How Migration Regulates Labor Markets</em></a>, Oxford:&nbsp;Oxford University Press, Part VI. <a href="#ffn34">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn35">International Labour Organization (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf">Profits and Poverty: the Economics of Forced Labour</a>’, 20. <a href="#ffn35">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn36">OSCE (2009) ‘<a href="http://www.osce.org/cthb/37937">A Summary of Challenges on Addressing Human Trafficking for Labour Exploitation in the Agricultural Sector in the OSCE Region</a>’, 29. <a href="#ffn36">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn37"><em>Ibid.</em>, 20.<br /> <a href="#ffn37">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn38">Agricultural work is often physically demanding, geographically remote, and thus difficult to both leave and to regulate. Care and domestic work are at times socially isolated and laden with emotional pressures towards ‘extra’ labour, well beyond the gaze of the authorities. <a href="#ffn38">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn39">G. LeBaron (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14616742.2013.813160">Unfree Labour Beyond Binaries</a>’, <em>International Feminist Journal of Politics</em>, 17(1), 1-19. <a href="#ffn39">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn40">Scholars have emphasised that domestic workers are among the most vulnerable workers in any sector of the economy (Anderson, 2000; ILO, 2012: 26). There are number of reasons for this, which derive from the nature of domestic work and from the way that it is commonly (un)regulated. Firstly, this work takes place beyond the reach of labour inspectors and at times even of neighbours. Workers are therefore isolated and divided from potential sources of protection. Secondly, workers are isolated from their personal or familial networks, working in places and amidst a population whose languages may be unfamiliar. Thirdly, these workers are often relatively poor and uneducated, meaning that they have few livelihood options. And fourthly, as this section wishes to make clear, their immigration status is often linked to their remaining in their current employment, meaning that reporting or fleeing abuse carries the significant cost of deportation.<br /> <a href="#ffn40">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn41">B. Anderson (2000) <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/D/bo20848781.html"><em>Doing the Dirty Work? The Global Politics of Domestic Labour</em></a>, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. <a href="#ffn41">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn42">International Labour Organization (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_173363.pdf">Domestic workers across the world: Global and regional statistics and the extent of legal protection</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn42">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn43">Solidarity Center (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.solidaritycenter.org/forced-labor-panel-spotlights-migrant-worker-plight-in-mideast/">Forced Labor: Panel Spotlights Migrant Worker Plight in Mideast</a>’. <a href="#ffn43">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn44">Bauder, <em>Labor Movement: How Migration Regulates Labor Markets</em>, 158. <a href="#ffn44">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn45">National Guestworker Alliance (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/raising-the-floor-for-supply-chain-workers-perspective-from-u-s-seafood-supply-chains">Raising the Floor for Supply Chain Workers: Perspective from U.S. Seafood Supply Chains</a>’, 58. <a href="#ffn45">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115553 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: limited labour protection https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Freedom from forced labour depends on workers' ability to access labour protections. Why are so many them unable to do so?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Absent_Labour_Protections_Facebook.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">IIlustration by&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://www.carysboughton.com/">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>In 2013, the Bangladeshi garment industry made headlines after the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed, killing more than 1000 people and injuring more than 1000 others.<sup>[<a id="ffn1" href="#fn1" class="footnote">1</a>]</sup> A year later, rampant use of forced labour was documented in Thailand’s shrimp industry, a major supplier to the world’s largest retailers.<sup>[<a id="ffn2" href="#fn2" class="footnote">2</a>]</sup> And in 2017, shoppers at a Zara retail store in Istanbul found messages sewn into clothing claiming garment workers were not being paid. It was later discovered that Inditex, Zara’s parent company, had refused to pay 155 labourers after one of its factories unexpectedly shut down in 2016.<sup>[<a id="ffn3" href="#fn3" class="footnote">3</a>]</sup> </p> <p>These high-profile cases are just a taste of the widespread and well-documented instances of labour abuse occurring across various countries and sectors in today’s global economy.<sup>[<a id="ffn4" href="#fn4" class="footnote">4</a>, <a id="ffn5" href="#fn5" class="footnote">5</a>, <a id="ffn6" href="#fn6" class="footnote">6</a>]</sup> All involved workers who were left unprotected in part because they were in non-standard forms of work: temporary work, part-time and on-call work, contract and agency work, and false self-employment. Non-standard work is usually associated with lower wages and fewer protections, as well as difficulty in accessing available protections. Non-standard workers are also disproportionately vulnerable to abuses such as wage theft and illegal wage deductions, mandatory overtime, and health and safety violations. As the International Labour Organisation (ILO) notes, non-standard forms of work have become “a prominent feature of labour markets in developing countries, and has grown in importance in industrialized countries. In Bangladesh and India, nearly two-thirds of wage employment is casual”.<sup>[<a id="ffn7" href="#fn7" class="footnote">7</a>]</sup> </p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black;" width="230" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>The decline of ‘standard’ work and the labour protections that came with it has been a major component of globalisation. For all workers this has meant greater difficulty in accessing the protections that are in place, and for the ranks of non-standard workers, many of those protections are not available at all. Additionally, many governments have exempted certain sectors and areas (e.g. export processing zones) from labour laws and protections, such as those that govern minimum wage and overtime. </p> <p>This has created a context in which various grades of labour exploitation are able to thrive, including forced labour at the extreme end of the labour exploitation continuum.<sup>[<a id="ffn8" href="#fn8" class="footnote">8</a>]</sup> Indeed, a core factor driving forced labour is the interaction between workers’ individual vulnerability – which as we have shown, can be rooted in poverty, adverse incorporation and intersecting forms of social discrimination – and a setting in which workers can be exploited without impunity.<sup>[<a id="ffn9" href="#fn9" class="footnote">9</a>]</sup> This chapter looks at how shifts in the labour protection landscape have contributed to workers’ vulnerability to exploitation, including forced labour.</p> <h2>From protection to precarity</h2> <p>Extensive research has documented the relationship between neoliberal market restructuring and the proliferation of unprotected, precarious form of work.<sup>[<a id="ffn10" href="#fn10" class="footnote">10</a>, <a id="ffn11" href="#fn11" class="footnote">11</a>, <a id="ffn12" href="#fn12" class="footnote">12</a>, <a id="ffn13" href="#fn13" class="footnote">13</a>, <a id="ffn14" href="#fn14" class="footnote">14</a>, <a id="ffn15" href="#fn15" class="footnote">15</a>]</sup> The workers who are the most likely to suffer from labour abuses are those in low-paid, informal and unorganised jobs<sup>[<a id="ffn16" href="#fn16" class="footnote">16</a>, <a id="ffn17" href="#fn17" class="footnote">17</a>]</sup> and in sectors that are heavily reliant on flexible, temporary workforces.<sup>[<a id="ffn18" href="#fn18" class="footnote">18</a>]</sup></p> <p>The expansion of precarious work globally has coincided with the rise of global production networks.<sup>[<a id="ffn19" href="#fn19" class="footnote">19</a>]</sup> While later chapters explore in much greater depth how these networks function, for the moment it suffices to say that precarious work is attractive for firms because it both reduces labour costs and absolves employers of responsibility for their employees. As such, precarious work has become extremely widespread. A 2016 report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) analysed the global supply chains of 50 TNCs with a combined revenue of US$3.4 trillion, and found that only 6% of their global supply chain workforces were directly employed. Of the remaining 94%, large swathes were in non-standard employment.<sup>[<a id="ffn20" href="#fn20" class="footnote">20</a>]</sup></p> <p>Neoliberal reforms have also created spaces of legal exception where production takes place literally beyond the bounds of ‘mainland’ law, such as export processing zones (EPZs).<sup>[<a id="ffn21" href="#fn21" class="footnote">21</a>, <a id="ffn22" href="#fn22" class="footnote">22</a>]</sup> EPZs are industrial havens offering investors tax breaks and labour law exemptions in an effort to attract their foreign capital. They have exploded over recent decades, increasing from 80 to over 3000 between 1975 and 2000.<sup>[<a id="ffn23" href="#fn23" class="footnote">23</a>]</sup> They now play a major role in many global supply chains. Research from a range of contexts shows that labour standards within them are frequently poor, and workers caught within them frequently face forced overtime, dangerous conditions, and widespread gender or racial discrimination.<sup>[<a id="ffn24" href="#fn24" class="footnote">24</a>, <a id="ffn25" href="#fn25" class="footnote">25</a>, <a id="ffn26" href="#fn26" class="footnote">26</a>]</sup> </p> <h2>Living with insecurity</h2> <p>These shifts have had dire consequences for workers. Alongside declining real wages, many now-informal workers face increased exploitation, and a greater need to accept difficult, dangerous and dirty work for want of superior alternatives.<sup>[<a id="ffn27" href="#fn27" class="footnote">27</a>, <a id="ffn28" href="#fn28" class="footnote">28</a>, <a id="ffn29" href="#fn29" class="footnote">29</a>]</sup> Informality has made them unprotected. A good example of this is the garment industry, where the proliferation of outsourcing labour from the factory to the home has excluded home-based workers from certain labour protections, while also creating barriers to organising.<sup>[<a id="ffn30" href="#fn30" class="footnote">30</a>, <a id="ffn31" href="#fn31" class="footnote">31</a>]</sup> The expansion of informalisation, temporariness and flexibility has also led to increased insecurity for workers,<sup>[<a id="ffn32" href="#fn32" class="footnote">32</a>]</sup> as it makes planning for the future and bargaining to improve work conditions more difficult. Starting workers on temporary contracts is a powerful way to keep them there, as it enables employers to quickly jettison any workers attempting to organise.<sup>[<a id="ffn33" href="#fn33" class="footnote">33</a>]</sup></p><p><span class="mag-quote-center">The decline of ‘standard’ work and the labour protections that came with it has been a major component of globalisation.</span></p> <p>The widespread incidence of wage-related rights abuses has been widely documented. One report by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance found that 73% of contract workers and 50% of permanent workers across 36 seafood processing plants in southern Bangladesh reported receiving less than the nationally set minimum wage. In many sectors, including garment production, agriculture, and food processing, a shift from hourly wages to a piece-rate system has also deepened workers’ income insecurity.<sup>[<a id="ffn34" href="#fn34" class="footnote">34</a>, <a id="ffn35" href="#fn35" class="footnote">35</a>, <a id="ffn36" href="#fn36" class="footnote">36</a>]</sup> Too often, piece-rate salaries received by workers do not amount to the minimum or living wage.<sup>[<a id="ffn37" href="#fn37" class="footnote">37</a>]</sup> And in many cases, already low wages are further reduced by deductions for food and housing,<sup>[<a id="ffn38" href="#fn38" class="footnote">38</a>, <a id="ffn39" href="#fn39" class="footnote">39</a>]</sup> and wage theft practices – such as late payments, non-payments, or denial of legally stipulated overtime rates.<sup>[<a id="ffn40" href="#fn40" class="footnote">40</a>]</sup></p> <p>In addition to wage-related rights abuses, workers are also vulnerable to coercive practices that could make them vulnerable to forced labour. In the US seafood processing industry, for example, a shift from unionised workers to immigrant labour provided by temporary work agencies has given employers greater ability to implement low wages and substandard work conditions while evading liability. A report by the National Guestworker Alliance found that many of these workers faced immigration-related coercion (such as threats to call police or immigration), the inability to change employers, and threats of blacklisting, physical harm and sexual abuse.<sup>[<a id="ffn41" href="#fn41" class="footnote">41</a>]</sup> </p> <p>The Asia Floor Wage Alliance has also found that workers producing garments for Walmart in supplier factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Indonesia face threats of termination for refusing to work overtime or for exercising their right to freedom of association.<sup>[<a id="ffn42" href="#fn42" class="footnote">42</a>]</sup> In many cases, gender-based violence or threats of violence can have similar impacts in terms of disciplining workers, as documented in Bolivia’s cattle and Brazil-nut sectors,<sup>[<a id="ffn43" href="#fn43" class="footnote">43</a>]</sup> Bangladesh’s shrimp industry,<sup>[<a id="ffn44" href="#fn44" class="footnote">44</a>]</sup> Ecuador’s cut flower industry,<sup>[<a id="ffn45" href="#fn45" class="footnote">45</a>]</sup> and Guatemala’s palm oil sector,<sup>[<a id="ffn46" href="#fn46" class="footnote">46</a>]</sup> just to name a few. These forms of gender-based violence in the workplace make it particularly difficult for women workers to bargain collectively and to advocate for better work conditions.<sup>[<a id="ffn47" href="#fn47" class="footnote">47</a>]</sup></p> <h2>The decline of collective action</h2> <p>The history of labour relations shows unquestionably that worker power lies in numbers, with union strength consistently correlated with better working conditions, greater respect for existing labour laws, and greater likelihood of worker redress in the case of abuse.<sup>[<a id="ffn48" href="#fn48" class="footnote">48</a>, <a id="ffn49" href="#fn49" class="footnote">49</a>]</sup> We know, for example, that in industries with strong trade union representation, there are reduced rates of forced labour and other forms of exploitation.<sup>[<a id="ffn50" href="#fn50" class="footnote">50</a>, <a id="ffn51" href="#fn51" class="footnote">51</a>, <a id="ffn52" href="#fn52" class="footnote">52</a>]</sup></p> <p>We also know that where workers do not enjoy the right or ability to collectively organise and defend their rights, they are more likely to experience individual and collective forms of exploitation. Yet, governments all over the world have placed limits on union activity. These have ranged from denying the right of collective organisation to specific sub-sets of workers (such as migrants), removing the requirement for firms to bargain collectively, raising the number of members necessary to form a union, setting mandatory participation rates in strike ballots and physically preventing union formation.<sup>[<a id="ffn53" href="#fn53" class="footnote">53</a>, <a id="ffn54" href="#fn54" class="footnote">54</a>]</sup></p> <p>Union membership is thus everywhere down.<sup>[<a id="ffn55" href="#fn55" class="footnote">55</a>]</sup> In the United States, for example, the rate of union membership was 10.7% in 2016, almost half the 20.1% it was in 1983.<sup>[<a id="ffn56" href="#fn56" class="footnote">56</a>]</sup> The ILO’s recent study of bargaining coverage in 48 countries found an average drop of 4.6% between 2008 and 2013, while the average decline in union density over the same period and for the same group of countries was 2.3%.<sup>[<a id="ffn57" href="#fn57" class="footnote">57</a>]</sup></p> <p>Absent state efforts to ensure workers’ rights to form unions and organise, it is more difficult for workers to advocate for better work conditions or to report cases of labour exploitation or forced labour. </p> <h2>Lack of enforcement</h2> <p>While gaps in both international and domestic labour laws certainly exist, most labour violations occur when existing laws to protect workers are not enforced. An acute example is minimum wage. Despite being addressed in most countries’ national laws as well as in international law, minimum wage requirements are continually and consistently violated all along the supply chain. So too are safety regulations, so too are holiday and overtime pay requirements.<sup>[<a id="ffn58" href="#fn58" class="footnote">58</a>]</sup></p> <p>Part of the problem is that labour inspectorates face chronic personnel and funding shortages almost everywhere.<sup>[<a id="ffn59" href="#fn59" class="footnote">59</a>]</sup> Overstretched government agents are unable to keep up with even formal enterprises, let alone the vast informal economy where forced labour concentrates.<sup>[<a id="ffn60" href="#fn60" class="footnote">60</a>]</sup> This is of great significance because research shows that labour compliance is more likely where inspections are more frequent.<sup>[<a id="ffn61" href="#fn61" class="footnote">61</a>]</sup></p> <p>Instead, severely strained labour enforcement authorities have looked for any way they can to reduce their burden. One solution governments have hit upon is self-regulation by the private sector. Business has promoted this idea as well, lobbying for the power, legitimacy, and discretion to create and enforce their own rules.<sup>[<a id="ffn62" href="#fn62" class="footnote">62</a>]</sup> Their success has given them freedom from oversight whilst also allowing them to market themselves as ‘socially responsible’. These private corporate social responsibility initiatives have well-documented flaws, which we will explore in detail in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8">chapter 11</a>.<sup>[<a id="ffn63" href="#fn63" class="footnote">63</a>, <a id="ffn64" href="#fn64" class="footnote">64</a>, <a id="ffn65" href="#fn65" class="footnote">65</a>, <a id="ffn66" href="#fn66" class="footnote">66</a>]</sup></p> <p>These dynamics are highly damaging for global labour. At the macro level, they are reflected in rising inequality, stagnant or declining real wages, and in capital’s capture of an ever-increasing share of global value relative to labour.<sup>[<a id="ffn67" href="#fn67" class="footnote">67</a>, <a id="ffn68" href="#fn68" class="footnote">68</a>]</sup> At the micro-level they contribute directly to pushing workers into vulnerable ‘zones of exception’ beyond the reach of protection, by fostering climates where labour exploitation and forced labour can thrive. In 2015, the ITUC found that almost half of the 141 countries they examined had “systematic violations”&nbsp;or “no guarantee”&nbsp;of labour rights.<sup>[<a id="ffn69" href="#fn69" class="footnote">69</a>]</sup> This is not a coincidence. The freedom from forced labour depends on the capability of accessing external protection, and under the circumstances documented above far too many are unable to do so.</p> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4">Next chapter: Supply 4 of 4: Restrictive migration regimes</a></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">T. Connell (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.solidaritycenter.org/4-years-rana-plaza-increased-worker-repression/">4 Years After Rana Plaza: Increased Worker Repression</a>’, Solidarity Center. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">H. Hodal <em>et al.</em> (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK</a>’, <em>The Guardian</em>. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">Sustainable Brands (2017) ‘Inditex Creates Uproar, Refuses to Pay Wages to Over 150 Turkish Garment Workers’. <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">Verité (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EO-and-Commodity-Reports-Combined-FINAL-2017.pdf">Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">K. Skrivankova (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.gla.gov.uk/media/1584/jrf-forced-labour-in-the-uk.pdf">Forced Labour in the United Kingdom</a>’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">Workers Voices from the Global Supply Chain (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/precarious-work-in-the-walmart-global-value-chain">Precarious Work in the Walmart Global Value Chain</a>’. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">International Labor Organization (2016) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_534326.pdf">Non-Standard Employment Around The World: Understanding challenges, shaping prospects</a>’, Geneva: ILO, xxiii. <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">K. Skrivankova (2010) ‘<a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/between-decent-work-and-forced-labour-examining-continuum-exploitation">Between decent work and forced labour: Examining the continuum of exploitation</a>’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">K. Skrivankova (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.gla.gov.uk/media/1584/jrf-forced-labour-in-the-uk.pdf">Forced Labour in the United Kingdom</a>’, 2. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">D. McNally’s (2010) <a href="https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&amp;p=271"><em>Global Slump</em></a>, Oakland: PM Press. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">L. Vosko (2000) <a href="https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/471341"><em>Temporary Work: The Gendered Rise of a Precarious Employment Relationship</em></a>, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">J. Fudge &amp; K. 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Bosc (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/igor-bosc/round-about-solutions-to-forced-labour-don-t-work">Why roundabout solutions to forced labour don’t work</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29">S. Prithviraj&nbsp;(2017) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sinnathamby-prithviraj/corporate-social-responsibility-should-start-with-giving-worker">Corporate social responsibility should start with giving workers a fair wage</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn30">R. M. Sudarshan &amp; S. Sinha (2011) ‘<a href="http://www.wiego.org/sites/wiego.org/files/publications/files/Sudarshan_WIEGO_WP19.pdf">Making Home-based Work Visible: A Review of Evidence from South Asia</a>’, WIEGO. <a href="#ffn30">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn31">R. Bhaskaran <em>et al.&nbsp;</em>(2013) ‘<a href="http://www.capturingthegains.org/publications/workingpapers/wp_201316.htm">Vulnerable workers and labour standards (non-) compliance in global production networks: home-based child labour in Delhi’s garment sector</a>’. <a href="#ffn31">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn32">G. LeBaron (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14616742.2013.813160">Unfree Labour Beyond Binaries</a>’, <em>International Feminist Journal of Politics</em>, 17(1), 1-19. <a href="#ffn32">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn33">M. Bain (2016) ‘<a href="https://qz.com/695763/a-web-of-terror-insecurity-and-a-high-level-of-vulnerability-hm-gap-and-walmart-are-accused-of-hundreds-of-acts-of-worker-abuse/">“A web of terror, insecurity, and a high level of vulnerability”: H&amp;M, Gap, and Walmart are accused of widespread worker abuse’</a>, <em>Quartz</em>. <a href="#ffn33">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn34">Workers Voices from the Global Supply Chain (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/precarious-work-in-the-h-m-global-value-chain">Precarious Work in the H&amp;M Global Value Chain</a>’, 52. <a href="#ffn34">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn35">Workers Voices from the Global Supply Chain (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/precarious-work-in-the-asian-seafood-global-value-chain">Precarious Work in the Asian Seafood Global Value Chain</a>’, 49. <a href="#ffn35">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn36">Workers Voices from the Global Supply Chain (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/precarious-work-in-the-walmart-global-value-chain">Precarious Work in the Walmart Global Value Chain</a>’, 57. <a href="#ffn36">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn37">Workers Voices from the Global Supply Chain (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/precarious-work-in-the-asian-seafood-global-value-chain">Precarious Work in the Asian Seafood Global Value Chain</a>’, 49. <a href="#ffn37">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn38">G. 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(forthcoming) ‘States and the Political Economy of Unfree Labour’, <em>New Political Economy</em>. <a href="#ffn38">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn39">Verité (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EO-and-Commodity-Reports-Combined-FINAL-2017.pdf">Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn39">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn40">Workers Voices from the Global Supply Chain (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/precarious-work-in-the-walmart-global-value-chain">Precarious Work in the Walmart Global Value Chain</a>’, 59. <a href="#ffn40">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn41">National Guestworker Alliance (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/raising-the-floor-for-supply-chain-workers-perspective-from-u-s-seafood-supply-chains">Raising the Floor for Supply Chain Workers: Perspective from U.S. Seafood Supply Chains</a>’, 58. <a href="#ffn41">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn42">Workers Voices from the Global Supply Chain (2016) ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/precarious-work-in-the-walmart-global-value-chain">Precarious Work in the Walmart Global Value Chain</a>’, 46. <a href="#ffn42">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn43">Verité (2016) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Research-on-Indicators-of-Forced-Labor-in-the-Bolivia-Brazil-nut-Cattle-Corn-and-Peanut-Sectors__9.19.pdf">Research on Indicators of Forced Labor in the Supply Chains of Brazil-Nuts, Cattle, Corn, and Peanuts in Bolivia</a>’. <a href="#ffn43">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn44">Verité (2012) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Research-on-Indicators-of-Forced-Labor-in-the-Bangladesh-Shrimp-Sector__9.16.pdf">Research On Indicators Of Forced Labor in the Supply Chain of Shrimp in Bangladesh</a>’. <a href="#ffn44">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn45">Inernational Labor Rights Forum (2005), ‘<a href="http://www.laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/Ecuador.pdf">Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: The Cut Flower Industry</a>’, Washington: DC. <a href="#ffn45">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn46">Verité (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.verite.org/sites/default/files/images/RiskAnalysisGuatemalanPalmOilSector.pdf">Labor and Human Rights Risk Analysis of the Guatemalan Palm Oil Sector</a>’. <a href="#ffn46">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn47">ILRF (2017) ‘<a href="https://laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications/GBV%20policy%20paper%20FINAL.pdf">Time for a change: Advancing Legal Protections On Gender-Based Violence At Work</a>’, Washington: DC, 5. <a href="#ffn47">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn48">T. Aidt &amp; Z. Tzannatos (2002) ‘<a href="http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/831241468740150591/pdf/multi0page.pdf">Unions and Collective Bargaining</a>’, Washington, DC: The World Bank. <a href="#ffn48">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn49">D. Tomlinson (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/daniel-tomlinson/it-s-not-gig-economy-stupid">It’s not the gig economy, stupid</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.&nbsp;</em> <a href="#ffn49">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn50">E. Marks &amp; A. Olsen (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.antitraffickingreview.org/index.php/atrjournal/article/view/84">Policy and Practice: The Role of Trade Unions in Reducing Migrant Workers’ Vulnerability to Forced Labour and Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Subregion</a>’, <em>Anti-Trafficking Review</em>, 0, 5. <a href="#ffn50">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn51">A. T. Gallagher (2012) <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/law/human-rights/international-law-human-trafficking?format=HB&amp;isbn=9780521191074"><em>The International Law of Human Trafficking</em></a>, Cambridge University Press, 439. <a href="#ffn51">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn52">J. Beirnaert (2011) ‘A Trade Union Perspective on Combating Trafficking and Forced Labour in Europe’, in C Rijken (ed) <a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_155937.pdf"><em>Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings for Labour Exploitation</em></a>, Oisterwijk: Wolf Legal Publishers, 483. <a href="#ffn52">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn53">SAPRIN (2002) ‘<a href="http://www.saprin.org/SAPRIN_Findings.pdf">The Policy Roots of Economic Crisis and Poverty</a>’, Washington DC, 84. <a href="#ffn53">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn54"><em>Ibid.</em>, 86. <a href="#ffn54">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn55">Oxfam International (2004) ‘<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/rights.pdf">Trading Away Our Rights: Women working in global supply chains</a>’, 24. <a href="#ffn55">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn56">Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm">Union members summary</a>’. <a href="#ffn56">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn57">International Labour Organization (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_protect/---protrav/---travail/documents/publication/wcms_409422.pdf">Labour relations and collective bargaining</a>’, Issue Brief No. 1, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn57">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn58">See ‘<a href="https://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/">Workers Voices from the Global Supply Chain</a>’ report series. <a href="#ffn58">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn59">Oxfam International (2004) ‘<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/rights.pdf">Trading Away Our Rights: Women working in global supply chains</a>’, 45. <a href="#ffn59">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn60">International Labour Organization (2009) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_106268.pdf">The cost of coercion</a>’, Geneva: ILO, 44. <a href="#ffn60">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn61">R. Almeida &amp; L. Ronconi (2016) ‘Labor Inspections in the Developing World: Stylized Facts from the Enterprise Survey’, <em>Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society</em>, 55(3), 468-489. <a href="#ffn61">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn62">S. Gill &amp; A. C. Cutler (eds) (2014) <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/new-constitutionalism-and-world-order/C177C3FDC12F027B2113B0B22375AD5C"><em>New Constitutionalism and World Order</em></a>, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. <a href="#ffn62">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn63">G. LeBaron <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14747731.2017.1304008">Governing Global Supply Chain Sustainability Through the Ethical Audit Regime</a>’,&nbsp;<em>Globalizations</em>, 14(6), 958-975. <a href="#ffn63">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn64">G LeBaron <em>et al.</em> (2017) ‘The New Gatekeeper: Ethical Audits as a Mechanism of Global Value Chain Governance’, in A. C. Cutler &amp; Thomas Dietz (eds) <a href="https://www.routledge.com/The-Politics-of-Private-Transnational-Governance-by-Contract/Cutler-Dietz/p/book/9781138221758"><em>The Political Economy of Private Transnational Governance by Contract</em></a>, London: Routledge, 97-114. <a href="#ffn64">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn65">G. LeBaron &amp; J. Lister (2016) ‘<a href="http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Global-Brief-1-Ethical-Audits-and-the-Supply-Chains-of-Global-Corporations.pdf">Ethical Audits and the Supply Chains of Global Corporations</a>’, SPERI Global Political Economy Brief No. 1. <a href="#ffn65">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn66">G. LeBaron &amp; J. Lister (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/review-of-international-studies/article/benchmarking-global%20supply-chains-the-power-of-the-ethical-audit-regime/D09353629C19265CF1F136F90DEF5214">Benchmarking Global Supply Chains: The Power of the ‘Ethical Audit’ Regime</a>’, <em>Review of International Studies</em>, 41(5), 905-924. <a href="#ffn66">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn67">D. Harvey (2005) <a href="http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780199283279.html"><em>A Brief History of Neoliberalism</em></a>, Oxford University Press. <a href="#ffn67">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn68">G. Duménil &amp; D. Levy (2005) ‘Costs and Benefits of Neoliberalism’, in Epstein, G. (ed.), <a href="https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/financialization-and-the-world-economy?___website=uk_warehouse"><em>Financialization and the World Economy</em></a>, Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar. <a href="#ffn68">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn69">International Trade Union Confederation (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/survey_global_rights_index_2015_en.pdf">Global Rights Index</a>’. <a href="#ffn69">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115552 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: identity and discrimination https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Social discrimination based on race, caste, gender and other factors is a crucial component of the forced labour equation.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/IdentityDiscrimination_Facebook.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">IIlustration by&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://www.carysboughton.com/">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>It is not uncommon for proponents of globalisation to view the integration of marginalised social groups into the global economy as a positive step towards poverty reduction. However, as we showed in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty">chapter 4</a> with our discussion of adverse incorporation, it is possible for people to be incorporated into the labour market, and <em>still</em> remain vulnerable to chronic poverty and exploitative labour relations. </p> <p>Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, caste and other factors shapes how people are treated in the labour market, and helps to create and justify the supply of people vulnerable to forced labour in the global economy. The “social categorisations”<sup>[<a id="ffn1" href="#fn1" class="footnote">1</a>]</sup> at the root of these various forms of discrimination are not ‘natural’, nor are they new phenomena; they are rooted in the very same logics that justified European colonialism, the transatlantic slave trade, and other non-European systems of domination.<sup>[<a id="ffn2" href="#fn2" class="footnote">2</a>]</sup> </p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black;" width="230" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the incidence of forced labour is particularly high among ‘scheduled’ castes and tribes in India, indigenous minorities in Nepal and non-Muslims in Pakistan. In Africa, forced labour relations are particularly prevalent in countries that experienced slavery, or where continuing patterns of discrimination against people of slave descent are present. And in Latin America, the majority of forced labourers are indigenous people.<sup>[<a id="ffn3" href="#fn3" class="footnote">3</a>, <a id="ffn4" href="#fn4" class="footnote">4</a>]</sup> </p> <p>The fact that these particular groups are most likely to be found in situations of forced labour suggests that the social discrimination leading to poverty and adverse incorporation is intimately bound up with legacies of hierarchy, domination and exclusion. At the same time, it is important to note that the dynamics fostering the exploitation of marginalised communities are not mere remnants from the past: they are actively reproduced and maintained by the global political economy.</p> <p>This chapter looks at how the neoliberal restructuring of global markets has exacerbated social hierarchies and shaped long-lasting patterns of exploitation into a continual supply of people vulnerable to forced labour. </p> <h2>Poverty and social discrimination</h2> <p>While some remain deeply invested in the idea that forced labour has nothing to do with structural inequalities, or that in this context race and gender matter little,<sup>[<a id="ffn5" href="#fn5" class="footnote">5</a>]</sup> there is an abundance of research that demonstrates that poverty and labour exploitation disproportionately impact women, lower castes, and non-white and indigenous people.<sup>[<a id="ffn6" href="#fn6" class="footnote">6</a>, <a id="ffn7" href="#fn7" class="footnote">7</a>, <a id="ffn8" href="#fn8" class="footnote">8</a>]</sup> And to the extent that they can be relied upon, statistical estimates constantly reveal more women than men in forced labour and locate considerably more forced labourers in Africa and Asia than in Europe or North America.<sup>[<a id="ffn9" href="#fn9" class="footnote">9</a>]</sup> </p> <p>As discussed in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes">chapter 1</a>, the restructuring of global markets has heightened the demand for exploitable, ‘disposable’, and flexible labour.<sup>[<a id="ffn10" href="#fn10" class="footnote">10</a>, <a id="ffn11" href="#fn11" class="footnote">11</a>]</sup> For this reason, global and domestic labour markets have become increasingly reliant on mechanisms that deepen unfreedom and labour insecurity for large segments of the working poor.<sup>[<a id="ffn12" href="#fn12" class="footnote">12</a>]</sup> Within this dynamic, social discrimination serves as an “inequality-generating mechanism”<sup>[<a id="ffn13" href="#fn13" class="footnote">13</a>]</sup> that facilitates the wider patterns of poverty and inequality in which GVCs are rooted.<sup>[<a id="ffn14" href="#fn14" class="footnote">14</a>]</sup> Why? Because if certain people are considered to be lesser than others, they are more likely to face the poverty that facilitates their exploitation, <em>and</em> to be viewed by society and employers as more justifiably exploitable. </p> <p>For instance, gender inequality has been documented as a driver for export competitiveness, because the segregation of jobs by gender tends to keep women’s wages artificially low.<sup>[<a id="ffn15" href="#fn15" class="footnote">15</a>]</sup> This is what economist Stephanie Seguino calls the “comparative advantage of gender disadvantage”.<sup>[<a id="ffn16" href="#fn16" class="footnote">16</a>, <a id="ffn17" href="#fn17" class="footnote">17</a>]</sup> It is important to note, however, that these dynamics are also present in cases where women and men do the same work. For example, Alessandra Mezzadri’s research into transnational garment production shows that women are consistently valued less than their male counterparts and live subject to both covert and overt forms of coercion and exploitation that their male co-workers are spared. Most are paid less than men even when performing the same tasks, and many have been the targets of gendered verbal or physical discipline on the shop floor.<sup>[<a id="ffn18" href="#fn18" class="footnote">18</a>, <a id="ffn19" href="#fn19" class="footnote">19</a>]</sup></p> <p>This is compounded by other types of gender-intensified constraints, such as women’s asymmetric role in reproductive labour and the barriers they face in accessing resources such as land, credit and education.<sup>[<a id="ffn20" href="#fn20" class="footnote">20</a>]</sup> All these constraints combined can make it much more difficult for women to socially upgrade in GVCs than men.<sup>[<a id="ffn21" href="#fn21" class="footnote">21</a>, <a id="ffn22" href="#fn22" class="footnote">22</a>]</sup> </p> <h2>Intersecting disadvantages</h2> <p>Gender disadvantages often intersect with other forms of disadvantage, including those based on race. Cruz Caridad Bueno has conducted research with low income black women working in export processing zones (EPZs) and as domestic workers in the Dominican Republic. Her conclusion is that they contribute to wealth and capital formation for the homes and businesses that employ them, “but are limited in their ability to accumulate wealth and human capital for themselves, because employers take advantage of racial, gender, and class discrimination to devalue their work contributions”.<sup>[<a id="ffn23" href="#fn23" class="footnote">23</a>]</sup> In simple terms, employers find them suitable only for certain low-status and low-pay jobs to which they are then effectively confined. Employers furthermore take advantage of their prior exclusion from rights-based education and resulting legal illiteracy to extract extra-legal labour from them. And, finally, employers rely on the fact that most poor people with family responsibilities are rarely able to say no to a job.</p> <p>Of course, discrimination based on race or other factors impacts people of other genders as well. In Brazil, for example, Nicola Phillips found that the overwhelming majority of workers identified as working in “conditions analogous to slavery” on sugar plantations supplying the world market<strong>&nbsp;</strong>came “overwhelmingly from the poorer regions of the country, with corresponding racial characteristics”.<sup>[<a id="ffn24" href="#fn24" class="footnote">24</a>]</sup> Sugar production is extremely demanding and turns a profit by relying on hard physical labour, yet employers do not look for just anyone willing to perform that labour. Research shows that they specifically seek out dark-skinned young males, since their gender and racial characteristics are said to make them especially well adapted to the work.<sup>[<a id="ffn25" href="#fn25" class="footnote">25</a>]</sup></p><p><span class="mag-quote-center">Poverty and labour exploitation disproportionately impact women, lower castes, and non-white and indigenous people.</span></p> <p>Verité’s in-depth research into Peru’s and Ecuador’s labour markets tells similar stories of discrimination-based vulnerabilities. In Peru’s illegal gold mining industry, indigenous Peruvians from remote areas were found to be the group most vulnerable to forced labour and debt bondage. Known as <em>indocumentados</em>, they have no birth certificates verifying their nationality and thus cannot acquire the national identification documents necessary to access jobs in the formal sector. This pushes them into informal sectors such as the mining industry, where they lack the resources and ability to report labour violations, and many end up trapped in dangerous and exploitative conditions.<sup>[<a id="ffn26" href="#fn26" class="footnote">26</a>]</sup></p> <p>In Ecuador, Verité found that women, indigenous people and people from African descent working in the palm industry are substantially more vulnerable to labour exploitation than other groups.<sup>[<a id="ffn27" href="#fn27" class="footnote">27</a>]</sup> Many Afro-Colombians and indigenous people immigrate to Ecuador from Colombia precisely because they are unable to secure decent jobs in their home country, only to be subjected to similar forms of discrimination in Ecuador. Their irregular migration status further exacerbates their race-derived vulnerability in the new country, a topic we will delve into more fully in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7">chapter 9</a>.</p> <p>Indigenous people frequently face restricted options for more reasons than a lack of documentation. In addition to being subjected to chronic poverty,<sup>[<a id="ffn28" href="#fn28" class="footnote">28</a>]</sup> indigenous people are usually deprived of land and other resources, which makes them especially vulnerable to exploitative labour conditions. We also see such dynamics at work with caste.<sup>[<a id="ffn29" href="#fn29" class="footnote">29</a>]</sup> Recent research by Alpa Shah and Jens Lerche has confirmed that it is more difficult for members of lower castes and indigenous peoples in South Asia to exit situations of extreme poverty and to benefit from increases in income.<sup>[<a id="ffn30" href="#fn30" class="footnote">30</a>]</sup></p> <p>Nicola Phillips’ research into garment production in Delhi corroborates the findings of these other researchers. In a survey of 220 households employing children to produce garments, she found that 60% come from the very lowest castes.<sup>[<a id="ffn31" href="#fn31" class="footnote">31</a>]</sup> Research conducted by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) led to similar findings: 60% of the workers they interviewed in the spinning units of five textile enterprises in Tamil Nadu – a major production hub in the global garment sector – came from what are known as ‘scheduled castes’ or other backward castes. And this type of caste-based discrimination is also prevalent in tea plantations, brick kilns and mining quarries, to name a few other industries.<sup>[<a id="ffn32" href="#fn32" class="footnote">32</a>, <a id="ffn33" href="#fn33" class="footnote">33</a>, <a id="ffn34" href="#fn34" class="footnote">34</a>]</sup></p> <h2>Deep structures</h2> <p>The many examples above illustrate that even if the lines dividing us were initially drawn by elites bent on entrenching their domination, they have now evolved into living systems that are constantly maintained and reproduced in the localised forms of discrimination, coercion, and exploitation that comprise forced labour at the foot of the global economy. Discrimination on the basis of gender, race, caste and ethnicity, among other socially-constructed markers, shapes vulnerability to exploitative labour relations and socially sanctions both exploitation and disadvantage.<sup>[<a id="ffn35" href="#fn35" class="footnote">35</a>]</sup> It also prevents people who find themselves in such situations from accumulating the necessary wealth and resources to exit situations of chronic poverty or debt bondage. Such systems “entrench a particular set of power relations in a given society”, contribute to the exclusion of certain groups from access to wealth, and “give rise to and structure patterns of poverty and marginalisation”.<sup>[<a id="ffn36" href="#fn36" class="footnote">36</a>]</sup> </p> <p><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3">Next chapter: Supply 3 of 4: Limited labour protection</a></strong></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">C. Tilly (1998) <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520221703"><em>Durable Inequality</em></a>, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">For more on how the history and legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade continue to shape contemporary forms of marginalisation and exclusion, see J. Quirk &amp; J. O’Connell Davidson (eds) <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/info/bts-short-course">Race, Ethnicity and Belonging</a>, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em> Short Course, Volume 6. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">International Labour Organization (2005) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/ilc/ilc93/pdf/rep-i-b.pdf">A global alliance against forced labour</a>’, Geneva: ILO, 30. <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">International Labour Organization (2009) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_106268.pdf">The cost of coercion</a>’, Geneva: ILO, 8, 15. <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">K. Bales &amp; R. Soodalter (2009) <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520268661"><em>The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today</em></a>, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 6. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">UN Women (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2015/02/beijing-synthesis-report">Summary Report: The Beijing Declaration and Platform For Action Turns 20</a>’. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">G. Hall &amp; H. Patrinos (2014<em>) <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/economics/economic-development-and-growth/indigenous-peoples-poverty-and-development?format=HB&amp;isbn=9781107020573">Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Development</a></em>, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">A. Kapur Mehta <em>et al.</em> (2011) ‘<a href="http://www.chronicpoverty.org/uploads/publication_files/India%20Chronic%20Poverty%20Report.pdf">India Chronic Poverty Report</a>’, New Delhi: Chronic Poverty Research Centre &amp; Indian Institute of Public Administration. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">International Labour Organization (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf">Profits and Poverty: the Economics of Forced Labour</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">N. Phillips (2011) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-0374.2011.00331.x/abstract">Informality, global production networks and the dynamics of ‘adverse incorporation’</a>’, <em>Global Networks</em>, 11(3), 387. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">M. Taylor (ed.) (2008) <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Global-Economy-Contested-Power-and-Conflict-across-the-International-Division/Taylor/p/book/9780415775496"><em>Global economy contested: power and conflict across the international division of labour</em></a>, London: Routledge. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">G. LeBaron (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14616742.2013.813160">Unfree Labour Beyond Binaries</a>’, <em>International Feminist Journal of Politics</em>, 17(1), 1-19. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13">C. Tilly, <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520221703"><em>Durable inequality</em></a>, 7-8. <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">N. Phillips (2017) ‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iix019">Power and inequality in the global political economy</a>’, <em>International Affairs</em>, 93(2), 429-444. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15">P. Bamber &amp; C. Staritz (2016) ‘<a href="https://www.ictsd.org/sites/default/files/research/the_gender_dimensions_of_global_value_chains_0.pdf">The Gender Dimensions of the Global Value Chains</a>’, Issue Paper, Geneva: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, 7. <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16">S. Seguino (1997) ‘Export-Led Growth and the Persistance of Gender Inequality in the Newly Industrialized Countries’, in J. Rives &amp; M. Yousefi (eds.), <em>Economic Dimensions of Gender Inequality: A Global Perspective</em>. Wesport: Praeger. <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17">S. Seguino (2000) ‘<a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/23600464">The Effects of Structural Change and Economic Liberalization on Gender Wage Differentials in South Korea and Taiwan</a>’, <em>Cambridge Journal of Economics</em>, 24(4), 437-459. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">A. Mezzadri (2016) <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/political-economy/sweatshop-regime-labouring-bodies-exploitation-and-garments-imade-indiai?format=HB"><em>The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation and Garments Made in India</em></a>, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn19">A. Mezzadri (2016) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01436597.2016.1180239?journalCode=ctwq20">Class, gender and the sweatshop: on the nexus between labour commodification and exploitation</a>’, <em>Third World Quarterly</em>, 37(10), 1877-1900. <a href="#ffn19">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn20">C. Staritz &amp; J. Guilherme Reis (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.capturingthegains.org/pdf/GVC_Gender_Report_web.pdf">Global Value Chains, Economic Upgrading, and Gender</a>’, Washington, DC: The World Bank. <a href="#ffn20">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn21">P. Bamber &amp; C. Staritz ‘<a href="https://www.ictsd.org/sites/default/files/research/the_gender_dimensions_of_global_value_chains_0.pdf">The Gender Dimensions of the Global Value Chains</a>’, 6. <a href="#ffn21">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn22">Ferrant <em>et al.</em> (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.oecd.org/dev/development-gender/Unpaid_care_work.pdf">Unpaid Care Work: The Missing Link in the Analysis of Gender Gaps in Labour Outcomes</a>’, Paris: OECD Development Center. <a href="#ffn22">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn23">C. Caridad Bueno (2015) ‘<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12114-014-9193-y">Stratification Economics and Grassroots Development: The Case of Low–Income Black Women Workers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic</a>’, <em>The Review of Black Political Economy</em>, 42(1/2), 38. <a href="#ffn23">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn24">N. Phillips (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085147.2012.718630">Unfree labour and adverse incorporation in the global economy: comparative perspectives on Brazil and India</a>’ <em>Economy and Society</em>, 42(2), 189. <a href="#ffn24">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn25">For similar discussions regarding different contexts, see: McGrath (2013); Mosse (2010) and Barrientos (2011). <a href="#ffn25">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn26">Verité (2016) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Indicators-of-Forced-Labor-in-Gold-Mining-in-Peru_0.pdf">Risk Analysis of Indicators of Forced Labor and Human Trafficking in Illegal Gold Mining in Peru</a>’. <a href="#ffn26">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn27">Verité (2016) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Verite-Report-Illegal_Gold_Mining-2.pdf">Labor and Human Rights Risk Analysis of Ecuador’s Palm Oil Sector</a>’. <a href="#ffn27">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn28">A. Sheperd <em>et al.</em> (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8834.pdf">The Chronic Poverty Report 2014-2015: The road to zero extreme poverty</a>’, The Chronic Poverty Advisory Network, 28. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29">A. Kapur Mehta <em>et al.</em> ‘<a href="http://www.chronicpoverty.org/uploads/publication_files/India%20Chronic%20Poverty%20Report.pdf">India Chronic Poverty Report</a>’. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn30">A. Shah, J. Lerche <em>et al.</em> (2017) <a href="https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745337685/ground-down-by-growth/"><em>Ground down by growth: tribe, caste, class and inequality in 21st century India</em></a><strong>, London:</strong> Pluto Press. <a href="#ffn30">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn31">N. Phillips ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085147.2012.718630">Unfree labour and adverse incorporation in the global economy: comparative perspectives on Brazil and India</a>’, 189. <a href="#ffn31">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn32">Verité (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EO-and-Commodity-Reports-Combined-FINAL-2017.pdf">Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn32">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn33">International Dalit Solidarity Network (2016) ‘<a href="http://idsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/IDSN-2016-Annual-Report-Digital-Download.pdf">2016 Annual Report</a>’. <a href="#ffn33">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn34">J. Raj (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/jayaseelan-raj/hidden-injuries-of-caste-south-indian-tea-workers-and-economic-crisis">The hidden injuries of caste: south Indian tea workers and economic crisis</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn34">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn35">N. Phillips ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085147.2012.718630">Unfree labour and adverse incorporation in the global economy: comparative perspectives on Brazil and India</a>’, 186. <a href="#ffn35">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn36"><em>Ibid.</em>, 188. <a href="#ffn36">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115550 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: poverty https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Poverty isn’t just about lacking money –&nbsp; it interacts with the demands of the market society to shape people’s vulnerability to forced labour.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Poverty_Facebook.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Illustration by&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://www.carysboughton.com/">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>It is empirically indisputable that vulnerability to forced labour is shaped by poverty.<sup>[<a id="ffn1" href="#fn1" class="footnote">1</a>, <a id="ffn2" href="#fn2" class="footnote">2</a>, <a id="ffn3" href="#fn3" class="footnote">3</a>]</sup> This chapter will draw on research from across several sectors and regions of the world to illustrate how market coercion interacts with poverty to create a supply of people vulnerable to forced labour.</p> <h2>Poverty and the market</h2> <p>The cold, hard truth of market societies is that you need wealth – or, more precisely, money – to obtain the necessities of life and thus to survive.</p> <p>If you do not have money and nobody is prepared to give you the food, water, medicine, shelter and other things you require, you will die. This is the ‘invisible hand’ of the market in action. Lacking money, huge swathes of the world’s population never enjoy the effective power to say no to coercion or exploitation, and so are systematically vulnerable to forced labour.</p> <p>Before delving into the data, it is important to be clear that this is not a natural state of affairs. Nor is it an accidental but inevitable consequence of globalisation and economic growth. Rather, poverty – along with the perpetuation of exploitative labour relations – is written into the very DNA of global capitalism.<sup>[<a id="ffn4" href="#fn4" class="footnote">4</a>]</sup></p> <p>We explored this theoretically in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0">chapter 2</a> and gave an example of the peasant farmer accepting debt bondage as an illustration of how market societies force people to accept exploitative work, prioritising short-term survival needs over long-term economic security. In this chapter, we will provide further examples of the interplay between poverty and forced labour to illustrate how global and national markets rely on – and perpetuate – the supply of people vulnerable to exploitation.</p> <h2>The big picture</h2> <p>In 2015, the ILO estimated that more than 75% of the global workforce was in temporary, informal or unpaid work, meaning that only a quarter of workers have the security of permanent contracts.<sup>[<a id="ffn5" href="#fn5" class="footnote">5</a>]</sup> Four in 10 young workers are either unemployed or working but living in poverty,<sup>[<a id="ffn6" href="#fn6" class="footnote">6</a>]</sup> while as of 2014, over 200 million people were entirely unemployed. This is 31 million more than before the start of the global financial crisis in 2008,<sup>[<a id="ffn7" href="#fn7" class="footnote">7</a>]</sup> with that number being expected to increase further.<sup>[<a id="ffn8" href="#fn8" class="footnote">8</a>]</sup> In fact, between 1981 and 2008, the number of people living on between US$1.25 and US$2 a day doubled worldwide.<sup>[<a id="ffn9" href="#fn9" class="footnote">9</a>]</sup></p> <p>Taken together, these statistics show that the ranks of the “working poor”<sup>[<a id="ffn10" href="#fn10" class="footnote">10</a>]</sup> are constantly expanding. In a context where corporate profits are at their highest levels in nearly a century,<sup>[<a id="ffn11" href="#fn11" class="footnote">11</a>]</sup> the majority of the world’s workers lack the certainty that they will earn a sufficient living from their work and almost half of the world’s working young people have next-to-no income security. All of which raises the question: why is poverty so resilient in the face of unprecedented wealth? </p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black;" width="230" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>The restructuring of global and national economies along neoliberal lines (as described in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1">chapter 3</a>) is a major part of the answer. For the past four decades, neoliberal restructuring has divorced millions across the global south from their means of subsistence, whilst simultaneously slashing the social protection mechanisms on which they and their families relied.<sup>[<a id="ffn12" href="#fn12" class="footnote">12</a>, <a id="ffn13" href="#fn13" class="footnote">13</a>]</sup> Dispossessed and abandoned by the state, they have had few means with which to resist being integrated into the cash economy on unequal and often highly coercive terms. </p> <p>In other words, the intensified need to obtain money to secure the necessities of life has underpinned the integration of millions of people into the labour market, but because they are poor, they have had very little scope or power to shape their working conditions. They have thus entered into dangerous, risky, insecure or poorly remunerated employment relations, because doing so has been their only way to meet urgent needs. </p> <h2>Adverse incorporation</h2> <p>Although the dominant understanding of poverty within mainstream economic thinking is that it is ‘residual’ – a pure consequence of exclusion from the market economy – research shows that one can be included in the labour market and <em>still</em> be very poor.<sup>[<a id="ffn14" href="#fn14" class="footnote">14</a>]</sup> Indeed, for many people inclusion actually worsens their circumstances and puts them at risk. </p> <p>For example, Nicola Phillips and Leonardo Sakamoto’s mapping of forced labour in Brazil’s cattle sector shows that those most likely to be in forced labour are not actually the very poorest. For them, some social protections still exist. Instead, those most at risk are earning slightly above the income threshold for social welfare protections, and are therefore almost <em>exclusively</em> dependent on earned income to survive.<sup>[<a id="ffn15" href="#fn15" class="footnote">15</a>]</sup>&nbsp;People caught in this situation are commonly referred to as the ‘working poor’ and, as noted above, their numbers are growing. </p> <p>Phillips describes situations like what she and Sakamoto observed in Brazil as “adverse incorporation”.<sup>[<a id="ffn16" href="#fn16" class="footnote">16</a>]</sup> The central insight of this concept is that when people are compelled to undertake wage labour on bad terms, this can entrench their poverty and vulnerability by preventing them from accumulating wealth or achieving long-term economic security. The dynamics of adverse incorporation are circular, which means that while poverty shapes people’s vulnerability to exploitation, their exploitation also reinforces their inability to escape poverty.<sup>[<a id="ffn17" href="#fn17" class="footnote">17</a>]</sup> </p> <p>The use of children to produce garments in home-based settings in India demonstrates how this works. A survey conducted by Phillips shows that, out of a sample of 201 households, almost 70% used children to fulfil piece-work orders from garment manufacturers, and for the most part the children received little or no money for their labour.<sup>[<a id="ffn18" href="#fn18" class="footnote">18</a>]</sup> This system of production will have both immediate and long-term effects. By doing piece-work now, the children will likely eat tomorrow. However, the self-reinforcing nature of their adverse incorporation means that working now will make it less likely that they obtain better work in the future. By prioritising short-term survival over long-term security – when doing otherwise is extremely difficult, if not lethal –&nbsp;they must forego schooling or other opportunities to strengthen their bargaining power in the labour market. This prevents them from ‘upgrading’ towards more skilled, secure and better-paid employment prospects and entrenches their poverty further.<sup>[<a id="ffn19" href="#fn19" class="footnote">19</a>, <a id="ffn20" href="#fn20" class="footnote">20</a>]</sup></p> <h2>The ‘multidimensional’ character of poverty</h2> <p>The experience of ‘poverty’ cannot therefore be reduced only to a lack of money. Poverty is “multidimensional”, as economics professor Sabina Alkire has made clear, meaning that those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder are statistically more likely to face a mutually reinforcing bundle of disadvantages that combine to perpetuate their destitution.<sup>[<a id="ffn21" href="#fn21" class="footnote">21</a>]</sup> These include poor health, poor sanitation, food insecurity or a lack of education. Each may interact with the lack of money to increase an individual’s vulnerability to forced labour.</p> <p>To take but one quantitative example, a multi-country study from the ILO examining the backgrounds of formally identified victims of forced labour finds that those originating from food insecure households or households that have recently experienced a sharp decline in revenue are much more likely to end up in situations of forced labour than others.<sup>[<a id="ffn22" href="#fn22" class="footnote">22</a>]</sup> In Nepal, for instance, only 9% of documented forced labourers came from food secure households, in contrast to 56% who came from households that were food insecure.<sup>[<a id="ffn23" href="#fn23" class="footnote">23</a>]</sup></p><p><sup class="mag-quote-center" style="vertical-align: super;">Those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder are statistically more likely to face a mutually reinforcing bundle of disadvantages that combine to perpetuate their destitution.</sup></p> <p>Education is another good example of the multidimensional aspect of poverty. Monetarily poor people are more likely to be educationally poor because they are obliged to prioritise short-term survival over formal training. The child labourers producing garments in India demonstrated this in the previous section. A lack of education, in turn, reduces bargaining power in the labour market, making it more likely that the only jobs on offer will come with poor conditions.<sup>[<a id="ffn24" href="#fn24" class="footnote">24</a>]</sup></p> <p>Data from a range of studies now show a strong correlation between illiteracy or low levels of schooling and the likelihood of experiencing forced labour. In Brazil, for example, nearly 70% of workers identified by the government as “slaves” between 2003 and 2009 were either illiterate or had a maximum of four years of schooling,<sup>[<a id="ffn25" href="#fn25" class="footnote">25</a>]</sup> while in Armenia, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, forced labourers were found to be on aggregate less educated than the “freely employed”.<sup>[<a id="ffn26" href="#fn26" class="footnote">26</a>]</sup></p> <h2>Debt bondage and poverty’s many faces </h2> <p>Nowhere is poverty’s role in creating a supply of people vulnerable to forced labour clearer than with debt. Debt, as anyone who has had any knows, can be a powerful disciplinary mechanism.<sup>[<a id="ffn27" href="#fn27" class="footnote">27</a>]</sup> Loans or advances – along with other measures such as withholding wages – are frequently used to discipline and coerce workers. In richer countries, this affects migrant workers who take out large loans to fund their travel and find themselves with no choice but to work highly exploitative contracts to pay them back.<sup>[<a id="ffn28" href="#fn28" class="footnote">28</a>, <a id="ffn29" href="#fn29" class="footnote">29</a>, <a id="ffn30" href="#fn30" class="footnote">30</a>, <a id="ffn31" href="#fn31" class="footnote">31</a>]</sup> In poorer countries, debt captures and disciplines the working poor who lack access to cheap credit and thus cannot absorb economic shocks when they come along.</p> <p>Verité’s reports on the Guatemalan sugar sector, the palm oil industry in Ecuador and the production of electronic goods in Malaysia provide further evidence for how the intersection of debt, withholding wages, and exploitative recruitment practices increase workers’ vulnerability to forced labour.<sup>[<a id="ffn32" href="#fn32" class="footnote">32</a>, <a id="ffn33" href="#fn33" class="footnote">33</a>, <a id="ffn34" href="#fn34" class="footnote">34</a>]</sup> In Malaysia, 28% of 501 electronics workers were found to be in situations of forced labour, and more than 80% reported paying excessive recruitment fees. In Guatemala, Verité found that withholding wages and meals was a common punitive practice to ensure that production quotas were met for farmworkers in the sugar sector. Other research has found similarly punitive practices in use elsewhere, such as Ben Richardson’s work in the sugar cane fields of Brazil,<sup>[<a id="ffn35" href="#fn35" class="footnote">35</a>]</sup> and has confirmed the importance of debt in keeping workers labouring under them.</p> <p>Much research has also been done on debt bondage as it relates to health. Typically, health expenditure is a major burden in countries where health coverage is poor and/or not universally provided. To make matters worse, in rural areas where cash is scarce, credit can be exceptionally expensive. That combination often leads to debt bondage, because when a family member is in need of urgent medical attention the only option available is usually for another family member to take a loan against the collateral of their future labour power.<sup>[<a id="ffn36" href="#fn36" class="footnote">36</a>, <a id="ffn37" href="#fn37" class="footnote">37</a>]</sup> </p> <p>In short, poverty is not just about lacking money. It is an interlinking web of mutually reinforcing disadvantages, which interacts with the demands of the market society to shape people’s vulnerability to forced labour. The story does not stop there, however, as we have yet to answer the question of why some people are more likely to be in situations of poverty than others. Identity and discrimination play enormous roles in determining who comes out on top, and it is to these that we now turn.</p> <p><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2">Next chapter: Supply 2 of 4: Identity and discrimination</a></strong></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">ILO (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf">Profits and Poverty: the Economics of Forced Labour</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">Verité (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EO-and-Commodity-Reports-Combined-FINAL-2017.pdf">Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains</a>’. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">N. Phillips (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/nicola-phillips/what-has-forced-labour-to-do-with-poverty">What has forced labour to do with poverty?</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">B. Selwyn (2015) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/benjamin-selwyn/harsh-labour-bedrock-of-global-capitalism">Harsh Labour: bedrock of global capitalism</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">ILO (2015) ‘World Employment and Social Outlook 2015: The Changing Nature of Jobs’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">ILO (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_412015.pdf">Global Employment Trends for Youth</a>’, ILO. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">ILO (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/research/global-reports/weso/2015-changing-nature-of-jobs/WCMS_368626/lang--en/index.htm">World Employment and Social Outlook 2015: The Changing Nature of Jobs</a>’. <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">ILO (2017) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_541211.pdf">World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2017</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">N. Phillips (2015) ‘What has forced labour to do with poverty?’ <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">N. Phillips (2017) ‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iix019">Power and inequality in the global political economy</a>’, <em>International Affairs</em>, 93(2), 429-444. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">F. Norris (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/business/economy/corporate-profits-grow-ever-larger-as-slice-of-economy-as-wages-slide.html">Corporate Profits Grow and Wages Slide</a>’, <em>The New York Times</em>. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">D. Harvey (2005) <a href="http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780199283279.html"><em>A Brief History of Neoliberalism</em></a>, Oxford University Press. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13">J. Peck (2010) <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/constructions-of-neoliberal-reason-9780199580576?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;"><em>Constructions of Neoliberal Reason</em></a>, Oxford University Press. <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">N. Phillips (2011) ‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0374.2011.00331.x">Informality, global production networks and the dynamics of ‘adverse incorporation</a>’, <em>Global Networks</em>, 11(3), 380-397. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15">N. Phillips &amp; L. Sakamoto (2012) ‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-012-9101-z">Global Production Networks, Chronic Poverty and ‘Slave Labour’ in Brazil</a>’, <em>Studies in Comparative International Studies</em>, 47(3), 305. <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16">N. Phillips (2013) ‘<a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03085147.2012.718630">Unfree labour and adverse incorporation in the global economy: comparative perspectives on Brazil and India</a>’, <em>Economy and Society</em>, 42(2), 172. <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17"><em>Ibid</em>., 176. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">N. Phillips, R. Bhaskaran, D, Nathan &amp; C. Upendranadh (2014) ‘<a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2014.893486">The social foundations of global production networks: towards a global political economy of child labour</a>’, <em>Third World Quarterly</em>, 35(3), 434. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn19"><em>Ibid</em>., 441. <a href="#ffn19">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn20">B. Singh Mehta &amp; K. Sherry (2008) ‘<a href="http://www.ihdindia.org/Working%20Ppaers/2010-2005/pdf%20files/42-%20Balwant%20&amp;%20Karren.pdf">Wages and productivity of child labour: a case of the Zardosi industry</a>’, Working Paper No. 42, New Delhi: Institute for Human Development. <a href="#ffn20">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn21">S. Alkire <em>et al.</em> (2015) <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/multidimensional-poverty-measurement-and-analysis-9780199689491?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;"><em>Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis</em></a>, Oxford University Press. <a href="#ffn21">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn22">ILO (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/publications/ilo-bookstore/order-online/books/WCMS_243391/lang--en/index.htm">Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour</a>’. <a href="#ffn22">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn23"><em>Ibid</em>., 35-36. <a href="#ffn23">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn24">N. Phillips &amp; F. Mieres (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14747731.2014.932507">The Governance of Forced Labour in the Global Economy</a>’, <em>Globalizations</em>, 2(2), 8. <a href="#ffn24">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn25">N. Phillips (2013) ‘Unfree labour and adverse incorporation in the global economy: comparative perspectives on Brazil and India’, 187. <a href="#ffn25">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn26">ILO (2014) ‘Profits and Poverty: the Economics of Forced Labour’, 35. <a href="#ffn26">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn27">G. LeBaron (2014) ‘Reconceptualizing Debt Bondage: Debt as a Class-Based Form of Labor Discipline’, <em>Critical Sociology</em>, 40(5), 763-780. <a href="#ffn27">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn28">S. Plambech (2017) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sine-plambech/my-body-is-my-piece-of-land">My body is a piece of land</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29">J. Gordon (2016) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/jennifer-gordon/migrant-workers-and-labour-recruitment-in-mexico">Migrant workers and labour recruitment in Mexico</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn30">A. De Lauri (2016) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antonio-de-lauri/brick-kiln-workers-and-debt-trap-in-pakistani-punjab">Brick kiln workers and the debt trap in Pakistani Punjab</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn30">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn31">K. Strauss (2015) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/kendra-strauss/role-of-labour-market-intermediaries-in-driving-forced-and-unfree-labou">The role of labour market intermediaries in driving forced and unfree labour</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn31">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn32">Verité (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Verite_Guatemala_Sugar_Report_July_2017.pdf">Risk Analysis of Labor Violations Among Farmworkers in the Guatemalan Sugar Sector: A Report on Findings from Rapid Appraisal Research</a>’. <a href="#ffn32">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn33">Verité (2016) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Risk-Analysis-of-Ecuador-Palm-Oil-Sector-Final.pdf">Labor and Human Rights Risk Analysis of Ecuador’s Palm Oil Sector</a>’. <a href="#ffn33">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn34">Verité (2014) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/VeriteForcedLaborMalaysianElectronics2014.pdf">Forced Labor in the Production of Electronic Goods in Malaysia: A Comprehensive Study of Scope and Characteristics</a>’. <a href="#ffn34">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn35">B. Richardson (2015), ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ben-richardson/still-slaving-over-sugar">Still slaving over sugar</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn35">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn36">A <a href="https://www.ids.ac.uk/opinion/tackling-health-loans-and-modern-slavery-as-a-community-in-bihar-india">recent project</a> on the links between health, loans and debt bondage in India has explored these questions in some detail, while the famous Indian basic income experiment also found strong links between health shocks, borrowing and bondage. <a href="#ffn36">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn37">S. Davala <em>et al</em>. (2015), <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/basic-income-9781472583116/"><em>Basic Income A Transformative Policy for India</em></a>, London: Bloomsbury Publishing.<strong>&nbsp;</strong> <a href="#ffn37">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115549 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: globalisation and the rise of supply chains https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Too often, globalisation is viewed as inevitable. How does this shape our understanding of the link between globalisation and forced labour?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Globalisation_Facebook.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">IIlustration by&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://www.carysboughton.com/">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is rumoured to have once complained that arguing against globalisation is like arguing against the laws of gravity. So widely accepted is its inevitability that most never question its nature, and those who do still see it as unstoppable. </p> <p>This aura is powerfully depoliticising. It implies that, for good or ill, globalisation just <em>is</em> – like gravity, an impersonal force shaping our lives and beyond our control. This is why, when globalisation is given as a reason for something, the speaker often accompanies her explanation with a slight shrug of defeat. The ILO, for example, famously labelled forced labour as the “underside of globalisation”, implying it to be just some bad accompaniment to an inevitable event. <sup>[<a id="ffn1" href="#fn1" class="footnote">1</a>]</sup> We seek a stronger explanation, however, to understand the links between globalisation and forced labour.</p> <h2>Neoliberalisation and its architects</h2> <div style="margin-top: 17px; float: left; width: 200px; margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; padding: 10px; border: 2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9); border-radius: 25px;"><h3 style="text-align: center;">The project of neoliberalisation</h3><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p><p>Neoliberalisation has been a dominant policy paradigm since the 1970s, centred around the following core trends:</p> <div style="margin-left: 25px; text-indent: -8px;"> <p>• increased capital mobility and exposure to international trade;</p> <p>• structural reorientations in favour of shareholder value and financialisation;</p> <p>• the generalised intensification of competitive pressures, speculation and short-termism;</p> <p>• widespread evasion and externalisation of the costs of social and ecological reproduction;</p> <p>• the development of various forms of state outsourcing, devolved governance and lean bureaucracy;</p> <p>• the weakening of specific national government capacities, especially with respect to sociospatial redistribution and long-term (public, social) investment.</p> </div> Source: Peck, 2010: 29.<p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <p>The term ‘globalisation’ has become an everyday shorthand for the complex mix of social, cultural, political and economic change characterising our times: the heightened exchange of information and ideas; the increased mobility of people and money; and especially the transnational integration of production, investment and trade.<sup>[<a id="ffn2" href="#fn2" class="footnote">2</a>]</sup> Having a catch-all term for the world’s increasing complexity and interconnectedness is useful, but it does not get us any closer to explaining why, how, or at whose behest these changes are taking place. This makes it a poor explanatory tool for forced labour.</p> <p>In our view, it is more useful to speak of <em>neoliberal</em> or <em>capitalist</em> globalisation, or better still ‘<em>neoliberalisation</em>’. Neoliberalism, in the words of geographer David Harvey, is primarily a theory of capitalist governance that sees human well-being as best advanced through “liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms” against a backdrop of “strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade”.<sup>[<a id="ffn3" href="#fn3" class="footnote">3</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Unlike amorphous globalisation, neoliberalisation can be traced, dissected and analysed as a distinct policy framework. Its proponents have names, its guiding ideas and recipes for action are known, and its policies produce recognisable patterns of consequences as they propagate throughout the world. This gives it far more explanatory power for why the world looks the way it does today.</p> <p>Originating in the work of scholars like Hayek and Friedman – who were prominent in the elevation of the market to its current status – neoliberalisation has been driven primarily by business elites, their allies in Western governments and institutions such as the World Bank. Its philosophy conceives of all individuals as potential entrepreneurs and of markets as society’s primary and ‘natural’ organising force: we get what we pay for, pay for what we can, and reduce the government’s role to that of a policeman protecting our property. </p> <p>What has this meant in practice? For four decades, governments around the world have pushed – and, in the case of poor countries, have been pushed – to remove most subsidies and tariffs; to roll back the social protections serving as safety nets for those in need; to reduce anti-poverty redistribution and privatise public goods provision; to allow large-scale foreign direct investment; and to reinforce power imbalances between workers and employers.<sup>[<a id="ffn4" href="#fn4" class="footnote">4</a>, <a id="ffn5" href="#fn5" class="footnote">5</a>, <a id="ffn6" href="#fn6" class="footnote">6</a>, <a id="ffn7" href="#fn7" class="footnote">7</a>, <a id="ffn8" href="#fn8" class="footnote">8</a>, <a id="ffn9" href="#fn9" class="footnote">9</a>, <a id="ffn10" href="#fn10" class="footnote">10</a>, <a id="ffn11" href="#fn11" class="footnote">11</a>, <a id="ffn12" href="#fn12" class="footnote">12</a>]</sup></p> <p>The promise of all this has been of a new dawn of prosperity, with creative energies liberated and market efficiency fostered by the state getting out of the way of freely chosen, voluntary exchanges between workers and employers. Neoliberalism would improve the lives of western consumers by bringing them ever-cheaper goods from overseas; while for Southern workers the carrot has been nothing less than an end to poverty itself, through inclusion into the world market as producers of those goods. This is where global supply chains enter the picture.</p> <h2>The growth of global supply chains</h2> <p>The chances are that you are reading this on a computer, tablet or smart phone. If so, you are sitting at the end of a long and winding global supply chain. Today, a typical computer might contain a memory chip from Malaysia, a battery from Indonesia, a screen from South Korea, RAM from Germany and a hard drive made in Thailand. This all before it was assembled in China and bought off a shelf in New York, Buenos Aires, or wherever you may be.<sup>[<a id="ffn13" href="#fn13" class="footnote">13</a>]</sup> Apple, the company from which you may have bought it, sources its parts from a global network spread across over a dozen countries, including China, India, Italy, Indonesia, Ireland, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Malaysia and the Czech Republic.<sup>[<a id="ffn14" href="#fn14" class="footnote">14</a>]</sup></p> <p>This reflects a key shift in global production practices spurred by neoliberalisation. It has engendered the rise of a new, international division of labour in which vast brand and retail companies coordinate production across a panoply of sub-contracted suppliers located all over the Global South.<sup>[<a id="ffn15" href="#fn15" class="footnote">15</a>, <a id="ffn16" href="#fn16" class="footnote">16</a>, <a id="ffn17" href="#fn17" class="footnote">17</a>, <a id="ffn18" href="#fn18" class="footnote">18</a>, <a id="ffn19" href="#fn19" class="footnote">19</a>]</sup> Initially, lead firms were predominantly Western, but today there are a growing number of large companies located in the ‘rising powers’ which also make use of global supply chains to produce their products.<sup>[<a id="ffn20" href="#fn20" class="footnote">20</a>]</sup></p><p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/p17_920.jpg" width="80%" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></p> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;">Source: Emilia Saarelainen and Merten Sievers (2011) ‘ILO Value Chain Development Briefing Paper 2: The Role of Cooperatives and Business Associations in Value Chain Development’. </p> <p>Today, companies such as Tesco or Nike design and sell products but produce very little themselves. That crucial middle step is outsourced to smaller firms in an attempt to expand profits and reduce legal liability. For instance, mega-company Nestlé has almost 165,000 direct suppliers and 695,000 individual farmers worldwide.<sup>[<a id="ffn21" href="#fn21" class="footnote">21</a>]</sup> Many supply chains cut across transnational borders to take advantage of lower labour costs and weaker labour protections in other countries, but some also remain concentrated within national borders.<sup>[<a id="ffn22" href="#fn22" class="footnote">22</a>, <a id="ffn23" href="#fn23" class="footnote">23</a>]</sup></p> <p>As we further explore in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5">chapter 8</a>, the reorganisation of global production has led to monopolisation, soaring profits and the rise of corporations whose scale and political power has hitherto been unknown. Apple is officially the world’s most valuable ever company and holds cash reserves of over US$200 billion.<sup>[<a id="ffn24" href="#fn24" class="footnote">24</a>]</sup> The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has estimated that the productive networks coordinated by firms like this encompass fully 80% of world trade, with one in five jobs linked to their operations.<sup>[<a id="ffn25" href="#fn25" class="footnote">25</a>, <a id="ffn26" href="#fn26" class="footnote">26</a>]</sup> Indeed, as scholars Peter Dauvergne and Jane Lister observe, “one third of global gross domestic product (GDP) and 70% of all employment and activity in developed countries are now tied to retail”, with firms like Costco and Carrefour leading the way.<sup>[<a id="ffn27" href="#fn27" class="footnote">27</a>]</sup> </p> <h2>The links to forced labour</h2> <p>What does all of this have to do with forced labour? And which aspects of globalisation are important for our understanding of it? There are many, and it will be the task of this report to spell those out in greater detail. For now, however, let us underline a few key points.</p> <p>First, the global spread of neoliberal models of market and social governance has been neither an organic nor an even development. It has happened as a result of elite, powerful actors pushing through changes in the interests of big business, financial capital and the wealthy. It is and always has been an inherently unequal project that has been shown to deepen inequality.<sup>[<a id="ffn28" href="#fn28" class="footnote">28</a>, <a id="ffn29" href="#fn29" class="footnote">29</a>]</sup></p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img width="230" style="border: 1px solid black;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>Second, this rising inequality has thrown onto the global labour market a vast army of people so poor and lacking in state protections that they epitomise the inability to say no to exploitation.<sup>[<a id="ffn30" href="#fn30" class="footnote">30</a>, <a id="ffn31" href="#fn31" class="footnote">31</a>]</sup> In Mexico, for example, the number of people living in extreme poverty rose by 500% at the height of neoliberalising reforms, between 1994 and 2000.<sup>[<a id="ffn32" href="#fn32" class="footnote">32</a>]</sup> In much of Africa, real wages declined substantially around the same time period, with average household food consumption falling to 25% lower than it was a quarter century previously.<sup>[<a id="ffn33" href="#fn33" class="footnote">33</a>]</sup><br />Numerous factors explain this immiseration, and the specific dynamics at work vary across industries and regions of the world. One of the most pernicious, particularly in the agricultural sector (where existing research has documented severe labour exploitation to be disproportionately concentrated),<sup>[<a id="ffn34" href="#fn34" class="footnote">34</a>]</sup> is that the global reduction in tariffs and subsidies has proceeded in highly unequal fashion. That is, while poorer countries have typically removed their protections under pressure from the rich, the rich have often failed to follow suit.<sup>[<a id="ffn35" href="#fn35" class="footnote">35</a>]</sup> For example, despite urging African countries to liberalise their cotton sectors, the US government subsidised American cotton-growing multinationals by over US$13 billion between 1996 and 2002 – a per-kilogram price subsidy of almost 50%.<sup>[<a id="ffn36" href="#fn36" class="footnote">36</a>]</sup> This decimated much African cotton production.<sup>[<a id="ffn37" href="#fn37" class="footnote">37</a>, <a id="ffn38" href="#fn38" class="footnote">38</a>]</sup> These and similar trends are key to explaining why we see forced labour in the cotton industry, and indeed, in many other industries.<sup>[<a id="ffn39" href="#fn39" class="footnote">39</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Third, many of the dispossessed farmers and other workers impacted by these sorts of changes end up at the bottom of supply chains, where they face highly predatory business practices from more powerful firms. The companies directing many supply chains command enormous power in the global economy, which they use to control as well as reduce the costs of production.<sup>[<a id="ffn40" href="#fn40" class="footnote">40</a>, <a id="ffn41" href="#fn41" class="footnote">41</a>]</sup> They do this, for example, by imposing short-term contracts, penalties and fees for late or low-quality orders. They also float disproportionate profits to the top of value chains by demanding razor thin margins at the bottom.<sup>[<a id="ffn42" href="#fn42" class="footnote">42</a>]</sup></p> <p>In the words of Nelson Lichtenstein, big brands squeeze their suppliers “by shifting every imaginable cost, risk, and penalty onto their books”.<sup>[<a id="ffn43" href="#fn43" class="footnote">43</a>]</sup> This, in turn, places major pressure on suppliers to balance their own books through the use of coercive, exploitative, and otherwise unacceptable labour practices. As later chapters of this report make clear, extensive research now shows correlations between such lead firm practices and the widespread abuse and exploitation of workers.<sup>[<a id="ffn44" href="#fn44" class="footnote">44</a>, <a id="ffn45" href="#fn45" class="footnote">45</a>]</sup> </p> <p>For the next eight chapters, we explore these structural supply and demand factors in detail. </p> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><strong>Next chapter: Supply 1 of 4: Poverty</strong></a></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">ILO&nbsp;(2005)&nbsp;‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/publications/ilo-bookstore/order-online/books/WCMS_081882/lang--en/index.htm">A Global Alliance Against Forced Labour</a>’, International Labour Conference 93rd Session 2005, Report I (B), Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">Globalisation is a contested concept within political economy. For theorisations of its core attributes, also see work by: David McNally; David Harvey; Stephen Gill; Naomi Klein; Nelson Lichtenstein; Shirin Rai; Bridget Anderson; Ananya Roy; and Nancy Fraser. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">D. Harvey (2005) <a href="http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780199283279.html"><em>A Brief History of Neoliberalism</em></a>, New York: Oxford University Press, 2. <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">P. Mosley, J. Harrigan &amp; J. Toye (1991) <em>Aid and Power: The World Bank and Policy-Based Lending, Volume 1: Analysis and Policy Proposals</em>, London: Routledge. <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">M. Williams (1994) <em>International Economic Organizations and the Third World</em><strong>,&nbsp;</strong>Harvester Wheatsheaf. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">SAPRIN (2002) ‘<a href="http://www.saprin.org/SAPRIN_Findings.pdf">The Policy Roots of Economic Crisis and Poverty</a>’, Washington, DC. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">G. Arrighi (2002) ‘<a href="https://newleftreview.org/II/15/giovanni-arrighi-the-african-crisis">The African crisis: world systemic and regional aspects</a>’, <em>The New Left Review</em>, 15. <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">D. Harvey (2005) <a href="http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780199283279.html"><em>A Brief History of Neoliberalism</em></a>. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">P. Bond (2005) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01442870500198395?journalCode=cpos20">Globalisation/commodification or deglobalisation/decommodification in urban South Africa</a>’ <em>Policy Studies</em>, 26(3/4), 337-358. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">A. Saad-Filho &amp; D. Johnston (2005) <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/N/bo21632563.html"><em>Neoliberalism: a critical reader</em></a>, London: Pluto Press. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">J. Peck (2010) <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/constructions-of-neoliberal-reason-9780199580576?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;"><em>Constructions of Neoliberal Reason</em></a>, Oxford University Press. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">B. Selwyn (2014) <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/The+Global+Development+Crisis-p-9780745660141"><em>The Global Development Crisis</em></a>, Cambridge: Polity Press. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13">See Sourcemap, ‘<a href="http://free.sourcemap.com/view/602">A Typical Computer</a>’. <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">Apple (2017) ‘<a href="https://images.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/pdf/Apple-Supplier-List.pdf">Supplier List</a>’, February 2017. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15">R. S. Russel &amp; B. W. Taylor (2008) <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Operations+and+Supply+Chain+Management,+9th+Edition-p-9781119320975"><em>Operations and Supply Chain Management</em></a>, 9th ed., Wiley, 11. <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16">N. Lichtenstein (2010) <em>The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business</em>, New York: Picador. <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17">E. Bonacich &amp; R. Appelbaum (2000) <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/op.php?isbn=9780520225060"><em>Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry</em></a>, Berkeley: University of California Press. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">P. Dauvergne (2008) <a href="https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/shadows-consumption"><em>The Shadows of Consumption</em></a>, Cambridge: MIT Press. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn19">L. Mosley (2008) ‘<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0010414007313119">Workers’ Rights in Open Economies: Global Production and Domestic Institutions in the Developing World</a>’, <em>Comparative Political Studies</em>, 41(4-5), 674-714. <a href="#ffn19">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn20">K. Nadvi (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13600818.2014.909400">“Rising Powers” and Labour and Environmental Standards</a>’, <em>Oxford Development Studies</em>, 42(2), 137-150. <a href="#ffn20">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn21">Nestle, ‘<a href="http://www.nestle.com/aboutus/suppliers">Responsible Sourcing</a>’. <a href="#ffn21">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn22">A. Crane, G.&nbsp;LeBaron, J.&nbsp;Allain &amp; L. Behbahani, (2017) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rego.12162/abstract;jsessionid=06AA7FD0C43A93DB11C08C5C9A2264AC.f04t02">Governance gaps in eradicating forced labor: From global to domestic supply chains</a>’,&nbsp;<em>Regulation &amp; Governance</em>. <a href="#ffn22">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn23">J. Allain, A. Crane, G. LeBaron &amp; L. Behbahani (2013) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rego.12162/abstract;jsessionid=06AA7FD0C43A93DB11C08C5C9A2264AC.f04t02">Forced Labour’s Business Models and Supply Chains</a>’,<em>&nbsp;Joseph Roundtree Foundation</em>. <a href="#ffn23">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn24">Paul La Monica (2015) ‘<a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/22/investing/apple-stock-cash-earnings/">Apple has $203 billion in cash. Why?</a>’, CNN Money.</li> <li id="fn25">ILO (2015) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_368626.pdf">World Employment Social Outlook 2015</a>’. <a href="#ffn25">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn26">UNCTAD (2013) ‘<a href="http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/wir2013_en.pdf">Global Value Chains: Investment for Trade and Development</a>’, New York and Geneva: United Nations. <a href="#ffn26">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn27">P. Dauvergne &amp; J. Lister (2012) ‘<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378011001609">Big Brand Sustainability: Governance Prospects and Environmental Limits</a>’, <em>Global Environmental Change</em>, 22(1), 36-45. <a href="#ffn27">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn28">Oxfam (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-economy-for-99-percent-160117-en.pdf">An Economy for the 99%</a>’. <a href="#ffn28">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn29">T. Piketty (2015) <a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674504806"><em>The Economics of Inequality</em></a>, Cambridge: Harvard University Press. <a href="#ffn29">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn30">S. Ferguson &amp; D. McNally (2015) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/susan-ferguson-david-mcnally/capitalism%E2%80%99s-unfree-global-workforce">Capitalism’s unfree global workforce</a>’<em>, Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn30">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn31">G. LeBaron &amp; N. Howard (2015) <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/info/bts-short-course"><em>Forced Labour in the Global Economy</em></a>, Beyond Trafficking and Slavery Shortcourse: Volume 2. <a href="#ffn31">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn32">SAPRIN (2002) ‘The Policy Roots of Economic Crisis and Poverty’, 180. <a href="#ffn32">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn33">G. LeBaron &amp; A. Ayers (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01436597.2013.800738">The Rise of a ‘New Slavery’? Understanding African unfree labour through neoliberalism</a>’, <em>Third World Quarterly</em>, 34(5), 882. <a href="#ffn33">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn34">Verité (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EO-and-Commodity-Reports-Combined-FINAL-2017.pdf">Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains: Research on Risk in 43 Commodities Worldwide</a>’. <a href="#ffn34">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn35">J. Clapp (2012) <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Food,+2nd+Edition-p-9781509500802"><em>Food</em></a>, Cambridge: Polity Press. <a href="#ffn35">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn36">K. Çalışkan (2010) <a href="https://press.princeton.edu/titles/9346.html"><em>Market Threads: How Cotton Farmers and Traders Create a Global Economy</em></a>, Princeton University Press, 159. <a href="#ffn36">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn37">K. Watkins (2002) ‘<a href="http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/cultivating-poverty-the-impact-of-us-cotton-subsidies-on-africa-114111">Cultivating Poverty: The impact of US cotton subsidies on Africa</a>’, OXFAM. <a href="#ffn37">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn38">In the words of Jennifer Clapp, what this exemplifies is a world market characterised by “an uneven set of rules which disadvantage smallholder farmers in developing countries while maintaining rich world subsidies that benefit large-scale farmers and agribusinesses” (2012: 57-8). <a href="#ffn38">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn39">Verité (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EO-and-Commodity-Reports-Combined-FINAL-2017.pdf">Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains: Research on Risk in 43 Commodities Worldwide</a>’. <a href="#ffn39">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn40">W. Milberg &amp; D. Winkler (2013) <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/outsourcing-economics/967C5ACEE3DEF2BEB02B2A9813B5C145"><em>Outsourcing Economics: Global Value Chains in Capitalist Development</em></a>, Cambridge University Press. <a href="#ffn40">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn41">G. Gereffi (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09692290.2012.756414">Global value chains in a post-Washington Consensus world</a>’, <em>Review of International Political Economy</em>, 21(1) 3-97. <a href="#ffn41">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn42">R. Kaplinsky (2005) <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Globalization,+Poverty+and+Inequality:+Between+a+Rock+and+a+Hard+Place-p-9780745635545"><em>Globalization, poverty and inequality: between a rock and a hard place</em></a>, Cambridge: Polity Press. <a href="#ffn42">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn43">N. Lichtenstein (2010) <em>The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business,</em> 46. <a href="#ffn43">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn44">R. Appelbaum &amp; N. Lichtenstein (2006) <a href="http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100250150"><em>Achieving Workers' Rights in the Global Economy</em></a>, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. <a href="#ffn44">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn45">N. Phillips (2013) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085147.2012.718630">Unfree labour and adverse incorporation in the global economy: Comparative perspectives on Brazil and India</a>’, <em>Economy and Society</em>, 42(2), 171-196. <a href="#ffn45">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115548 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting the root causes of forced labour: the meaning of freedom https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Where does the force in 'forced labour' come from? Those who believe that poverty and globalisation are the root causes of forced labour need a broader understanding of freedom and coercion.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Def._Of_Freedom_%28No_Options%29_Facebook.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">IIlustration by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.carysboughton.com/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>Many international agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) simultaneously endorse the accepted legal definition of forced labour and the claim that poverty is its primary root cause. We argue that this stance is highly contradictory, and that those who believe that economic dynamics like poverty are the root cause of forced labour need a broader understanding of freedom and coercion in order to better make sense of the phenomena they seek to address.</p> <h2>Damaging definitions </h2> <p>Forced labour is defined in international law as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”. The guardian of this definition, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has further elaborated that the threat of penalty “can take various forms, whether physical, psychological, financial or other”.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn1" id="ffn1">1</a>]</sup> However, it has also made clear that it understands coercion primarily as restricted to individualised acts perpetrated by governments or employers. According to its Committee of Experts:</p> <style><!-- .squire {margin-left:25px;padding-left:10px;border-left:6px solid #0e63bc;color:#53514e;line-height:150%;} --></style> <p class="squire">An external constraint or indirect coercion interfering with a worker’s freedom to “offer himself voluntarily” may result not only from an act of the authorities … but also from an employer’s practice … <em>However, the employer or the State are not accountable for all external constraints or indirect coercion existing in practice: for example, the need to work in order to earn one’s living.</em><sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn2" id="ffn2">2</a>]</sup> (emphasis added)</p> <p>What is most disturbing about this is that it negates the key form of coercion found in market society, namely economic necessity. The ILO takes it as a given that people will be forced to sell their labour to survive unless they are wealthy enough to avoid having to do so. Yet this idea – that ‘real’ coercion can only ever be perpetrated by one individual against another – prevents the ILO and likeminded institutions from understanding where the force in ‘forced labour’ comes from in a large number of cases. </p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img width="230" style="border: 1px solid black;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>A simple scenario from one of the poorer regions of the world will suffice to make this point concrete. Imagine you are a subsistence farmer with a young family to support. You have no money and your crops earn very little, in part because much of the return is paid to the multinational companies supplying you with fertiliser and seed. If everyone in your household remains fit and healthy you can just about get by, but your daughter has just fallen seriously ill. Remember, this is a poor and rural area and there is no clinic nearby. There is a hospital in the nearest town but it is expensive and far away, and there is no social safety net to pay for her care or for your travel. This leaves you with only one option – to borrow money. But doing so creates new problems, since the only person willing to lend to someone in your position charges a hefty sum. And as you both know, you will never be able to repay him, so he offers you a choice: either you work his crops or you make clothes in his brother’s factory for a year without pay. Or, your daughter could die. What do you do? And who here is guilty of coercion?</p> <p>It is important to emphasise that this is not a whimsical example. A wealth of research shows that people all over the world routinely make choices such as this, submitting themselves to precisely these kinds of exploitative labour relationships because doing so represents their best or only available option.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn3" id="ffn3">3</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn4" id="ffn4">4</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn5" id="ffn5">5</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn6" id="ffn6">6</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn7" id="ffn7">7</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn8" id="ffn8">8</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn9" id="ffn9">9</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn10" id="ffn10">10</a>]</sup> Under conditions where menace of penalty are also present (such as the use of violence, intimidation, or threats of non-payment of due wages), the political establishment refers to them as ‘forced labourers’ and holds only the moneylender responsible for their plight. But is that appropriate? This report argues that it is not. Instead, we argue that pinpointing blame in this individualised way is neither an acceptable nor an accurate distribution of responsibility. The farmer above was given a choice and he took it. Although the moneylender may have taken advantage of the fact that the farmer had no better option, the fact that the farmer had no better option is not the fault of the moneylender. To focus narrowly on the moneylender is thus to miss the deeper, underlying structures that make his predatory offer possible. </p> <p>In our analysis, the real problem is less that the farmer was ‘forced’ by the moneylender to do work that he did not want to do, though this type of lending obviously takes advantage of the farmer’s desperation, and the use of intimidation, violence, or threats is not appropriate under any circumstance. Rather, it is that this exploitative exchange was the best choice the farmer had. And responsibility for that fact lies with the power-brokers organising our social world, who have ensured that money is a pre-requisite to survival and yet left the farmer with none of it, with no healthcare and with no social protection.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn11" id="ffn11">11</a>]</sup></p> <h2>Poverty and freedom</h2> <p>Let’s now return to poverty and root causes. We said at the outset that there is a contradiction between accepting the ILO definition of and approach to forced labour and believing that poverty is its underlying root cause. At the centre of this contradiction is the way that freedom is typically understood.</p> <p>In mainstream political thinking – and certainly in the thinking that structures international law<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn12" id="ffn12">12</a>]</sup> and policy around forced labour – freedom is understood in negative terms, i.e. as ‘freedom from’ something.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn13" id="ffn13">13</a>]</sup> Accordingly, we are understood to be free to the extent that no one interferes with us, and unfree to the extent that they do. Negative conceptions of freedom inform the dominant neoclassical understandings of the market that were developed by thinkers like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. They argued that capitalist markets are characterised by voluntary, free and equal exchange between individuals, and that workers are free so long as they experience an “absence of coercion” from other individuals.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn14" id="ffn14">14</a>]</sup> </p> <p>Negative conceptions of freedom, however, do not square with the idea of poverty as a root cause of forced labour. A root cause is a fundamental reason for the occurrence of a problem – an underlying, original source of action which sets in motion a chain of other actions and leads to a particular event. But poverty is no more than an abstract concept. It has no power on its own, and certainly cannot force anyone to labour involuntarily or under the menace of penalty.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">When we say that poverty is a root cause of forced labour, we are really saying that we understand the poor to be pushed into situations of exploitative or forced work by the fact that they lack viable alternatives.</p> <p>As such, when we say that poverty is a root cause of forced labour, we are really saying that we understand the poor to be pushed into situations of exploitative or forced work by the fact that they lack viable alternatives. We therefore acknowledge that an abstract freedom from interference – as might be found in a constitution entitling all citizens to be ‘free’ – is not enough to guarantee the exercise of that freedom. Only the freedom to resist interference can accomplish that. This acknowledgement that true ‘freedom from’ only exists with an accompanying ‘freedom to’ is of major significance, since it means that within the story that ‘poverty is a root cause of forced labour’ there exists an enormously powerful and more positive theory of freedom – a freedom anchored in the power to say no.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn15" id="ffn15">15</a>]</sup></p> <h2>Implications</h2> <p>What are the implications of this theory of freedom? First of all, it compels us to expand our understanding of key concepts, such as coercion and vulnerability, from the personal to the structural. Individual instances of exploitation rely on one side having no viable or superior alternatives to what is on offer, and thus extremely limited power to say no. Yet unless we believe this lack of alternatives to occur naturally like the rain, we have no choice but to acknowledge that it derives from the human arrangement of social, political and economic affairs. The ‘bad guy’ in this story, therefore, is not just the unscrupulous person offering exploitative work to people who need to take it. It is the system which ensures that taking it is the best option those people have. </p> <p>This recognition, in turn, requires us to rethink vulnerability as well. Vulnerability is commonly understood as a static or individual notion attached to individual types of people, often rooted in gendered and racialised narratives of victimhood. (Think ‘women and children’, for example, in the standard discourse).<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn16" id="ffn16">16</a>, <a class="footnote" href="#fn17" id="ffn17">17</a>]</sup> But according to our thinking, a fuller understanding of vulnerability must attend to the fact that it is relational, and that it could entail inhabiting a position within society that involves structural limits being placed on one’s available alternatives.<sup>[<a class="footnote" href="#fn18" id="ffn18">18</a>]</sup> Poverty – which we conceive of as the state of being denied access to society’s wealth – is one such structural limit. But there are others, as we will be discussing throughout this report. Together, they combine to ensure the supply of workers who can be subjected to labour exploitation, including its most severe forms.</p> <p>Finally, if the limits on people’s freedom to say no are neither randomly nor naturally distributed, we need to ask ourselves who or what is responsible for them? Who is responsible for arranging social, political and economic affairs such that only a small number of people enjoy the power to say no to the coercion inherent to the market while the vast majority do not? Who or what, ultimately, shapes the ‘root causes’ of forced labour? As you will see throughout this report, we hold governments, employers and the powerful very much to account. And in doing so, we challenge the notion that capitalist markets are harmonious, equal and natural institutions, and that their expansion entails a solution to the problem of forced labour. </p> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><strong>Next chapter: Concepts 2 of 2: Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</strong></a></p> <hr /> <style><!-- #footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;} --></style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">ILO (2012) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_182004.pdf">ILO Global Estimate of Forced Labour: Results and methodology</a>’, 19. <a href="#ffn1">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn2">Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) (2007) General Survey on Forced Labour, Geneva: ILO, 20–21. <a href="#ffn2">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn3">R. J. Steinfeld writes in his book <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/coercion-contract-and-free-labor-in-the-nineteenth-century/0D1B7FE036C459F3D78B53CF86FAE127"><em>Coercion, Contract, and Free Labor in the Nineteenth Century</em></a> (1991) that they choose the lesser of their two “disagreeable alternatives” (301). <a href="#ffn3">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn4">S. Castle &amp; A. Diarra (2003) ‘<a href="http://www.sarahcastle.co.uk/docs/Traffickingreport_final_October.pdf">The International Migration Of Young Malians: Tradition, Necessity Or Rite Of Passage</a>?’ <a href="#ffn4">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn5">T. Bastia (2005) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2435.2005.00333.x/abstract">Child Trafficking or Teenage Migration? Bolivian Migrants in Argentina</a>’, <em>International Migration</em>, 43(4), 57-87. <a href="#ffn5">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn6">A. De Lange (2007) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2435.2007.00407.x/full">Child Labour Migration and Trafficking in Rural Burkina Faso</a>’, <em>International Migration</em>, 45(2), 147–167. <a href="#ffn6">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn7">S. Morganti (2011) ‘La mobilità dei minori in Benin. Migrazione o tratta ?’, in ed. Alice Bellagamba <em>Migrazioni: Dal lato dell’Africa</em>, (Padova: Edizioni Altravista), 127-156. <a href="#ffn7">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn8">R. Huijsmans &amp; S. Baker (2012) ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-7660.2012.01786.x/abstract">Child Trafficking: ‘Worst Form’ of Child Labour, or Worst Approach to Young Migrants?</a>’, <em>Development and Change</em>, 43, 919-946. <a href="#ffn8">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn9">S. Okyere&nbsp;(2017)&nbsp;‘<a href="http://www.antitraffickingreview.org/index.php/atrjournal/article/view/266">‘Shock and Awe’: A critique of the Ghana-centric child trafficking discourse</a>’, <em>Anti-Trafficking Review</em>, 9. <a href="#ffn9">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn10">H. Lewis <em>et al.</em> (2014) ‘<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0309132514548303">Hyper-precarious lives: Migrants, work and forced labour in the Global North</a>’ <em>Progress in Human Geography</em>, 39(5), 580-600. <a href="#ffn10">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn11">D. McNally (2006) <a href="http://arpbooks.org/books/detail/another-world-is-possible"><em>Another World is Possible: Globalization and Anti-Capitalism</em></a>, 2nd ed., Winnipeg: ARP Books. <a href="#ffn11">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn12">ILO (1930) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C029">Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)</a>’. <a href="#ffn12">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn13">As Isaiah Berlin’s famous (1969) essay ‘<a href="http://faculty.www.umb.edu/steven.levine/courses/Fall%202015/What%20is%20Freedom%20Writings/Berlin.pdf">Two concepts of liberty</a>’ explains: “I am normally said to be free to the degree to which no man or body of men interferes with my activity. If I am prevented by others from doing what I could otherwise do, I am to that degree un-free; and if this area is contracted by other men beyond a certain minimum, I can be described as being coerced, or, it may be, enslaved”. This theory informs the ILO’s (1930) Forced Labour Convention, which defines the concept as shown above, as well as the ILO’s (1956) Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery. This defines slavery as “the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised”. <a href="#ffn13">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn14">See, for instance, M. Friedman (1962) <a href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo18146821.html"><em>Capitalism and Freedom</em></a>, Chicago University Press. <a href="#ffn14">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn15">K. Widerquist (2013) <a href="http://www.palgrave.com/br/book/9781137274724"><em>Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No</em></a>, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. <a href="#ffn15">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn16">L. H. Malkki (1996) '<a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/656300?seq=1">Speechless Emissaries: Refugees, Humanitarianism, and Dehistoricization</a>', <em>Cultural Anthropology</em>, 11(3), 377-404. <a href="#ffn16">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn17">M. Ticktin (2016) ‘<a href="https://culanth.org/fieldsights/902-what-s-wrong-with-innocence">What’s Wrong with Innocence</a>’, <em>Cultural Anthropology</em>. <a href="#ffn17">↩︎</a></li> <li id="fn18">This is increasingly (though rarely explicitly) being recognised in discussions around the legal concept of “the abuse of a position of vulnerability”, included in the <a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ProtocolTraffickingInPersons.aspx">Palermo Protocol</a> as one of the “means” by which trafficking takes place. See the UNODC (2012) issue paper ‘<a href="https://www.unodc.org/documents/human-trafficking/2012/UNODC_2012_Issue_Paper_-_Abuse_of_a_Position_of_Vulnerability.pdf">Abuse of a position of vulnerability and other “means” within the definition of trafficking in persons</a>’. <a href="#ffn18">↩︎</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115547 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Confronting root causes: forced labour in global supply chains https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Forced labour is all around us, but not how you think. 'Confronting root causes' pulls together research from across the world to explain where it comes from and what we can do about it.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Introduction_wo_Shadows_Facebook.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Illustration by <a href="https://www.carysboughton.com/">Carys Boughton</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">(CC BY-NC 4.0)</a></span></p> <p>It is by now widely recognised that effectively tackling forced labour in the global economy means addressing its ‘root causes’. Policymakers, business leaders and civil society organisations all routinely call for interventions that do so.<sup>[<a id="ffn1" href="#fn1" class="footnote">1</a>, <a id="ffn2" href="#fn2" class="footnote">2</a>]</sup> Yet what exactly are these root causes? And how do they operate?</p> <p>The two most commonly given answers are ‘poverty’ and ‘globalisation’.<sup>[<a id="ffn3" href="#fn3" class="footnote">3</a>]</sup> Although each may be foundational to forced labour, both terms are typically used in nebulous, catch-all ways that serve more as excuses than explanations. Both encompass and obscure a web of decisions and processes that maintain an unjust status quo, while being used as euphemisms for deeper socio-economic structures that lie at the core of the capitalist global economy. </p> <div style="margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:10px;float:left;width:240px;padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;text-align:center;"><h3>What do we mean<br /> by forced labour?</h3><p>This report uses a broader definition of ‘forced labour’ than the standard international definition discussed in the next chapter. We include work brought about by physical, psychological or economic coercion and recognise that, despite lacking the alternatives needed to defend against such coercion, workers’ frequently retain and exhibit agency when entering into coercive labour relations.</p> </div> <p>The question thus becomes: exactly which aspects of poverty and globalisation are responsible for the endemic labour exploitation frequently described with the terms forced labour, human trafficking or modern slavery? Which global economic processes ensure a constant and low-cost supply of highly exploitable and coerced workers? And which dynamics trigger a demand among businesses for their exploitation, making it possible for them to profit from it? </p> <p>This 12-part report is an attempt to answer these questions in a rigorous yet accessible way. With it, we hope to provide policymakers, journalists, scholars and activists with a road map for understanding the political economy of forced labour in today’s “global value chain (GVC) world”.<sup>[<a id="ffn4" href="#fn4" class="footnote">4</a>]</sup> </p> <h2>The Beyond Trafficking and Slavery study </h2> <p>Why is this important? First, because although awareness is growing that exploitation is structural – in the sense that systemic forces underpin the fact that some people are exploited while others are not – little has been done to explain how these forces operate, what causes them, or why they have not yet been overcome. </p> <p>Second, while calls to address root causes are now commonplace, there remains a distinct lack of discussion about what doing so should precisely entail. This poses huge problems for policy-makers and activists, because if we cannot understand the issues we face, we are limited in what we can do about them. We are also more likely to mistake symptoms for causes, wasting precious resources on treating the former without ever achieving real gains on the latter. </p> <div style="width: 230px; float: right; padding-left: 20px; margin-left: 20px; border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC; margin-bottom: 20px; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #CCCCCC;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing"><img width="230" style="border:1px solid black;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Cover_Root_Causes_Cover_460.jpg" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;"><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KX7Rcfbw4SK4nh5RQmcZ-7fZho296bg6/view?usp=sharing">Download this report as a PDF</a></strong></span></div> <p>Indeed, millions are spent every year on efforts to prevent forced labour.<sup>[<a id="ffn5" href="#fn5" class="footnote">5</a>]</sup> Yet that expenditure often amounts to little, since most policymakers and activists lack a comprehensive theory to guide their actions. This deficit causes them to shy away from pushing for bigger and more politicised change, instead favouring small-scale, isolated interventions that can be marketed as concrete and measurable ‘wins’.<sup>[<a id="ffn6" href="#fn6" class="footnote">6</a>]</sup> The resulting programmes are often like Band-Aids, and have minimal impact on existing structures of power within the global economic system. Worse still, they often do more harm than good to the people they are supposed to be helping.<sup>[<a id="ffn7" href="#fn7" class="footnote">7</a>, <a id="ffn8" href="#fn8" class="footnote">8</a>, <a id="ffn9" href="#fn9" class="footnote">9</a>, <a id="ffn10" href="#fn10" class="footnote">10</a>, <a id="ffn11" href="#fn11" class="footnote">11</a>, <a id="ffn12" href="#fn12" class="footnote">12</a>]</sup></p> <p>It is time for policy and activism to address these failings, to confront the root causes of severe exploitation, and to do so in a systemic and informed fashion. With the hope of sparking a conversation that will help them do this, we have drawn together existing research on the political economy of forced labour in global value chains (GVCs) to provide an overview of its root causes. Our source material has been gathered from across a range of academic disciplines and includes country and industry-specific cases, ethnographic investigations, statistical studies and relevant non-academic data. We also draw upon the canon of historical and theoretical work accounting for forced labour in the modern economy.</p> <p>The picture of forced labour that we present in this report departs markedly from prevailing discussions of modern slavery. Much recent analysis tends to conceptualise the deepening and expansion of markets as the solution to forced labour.<sup>[<a id="ffn13" href="#fn13" class="footnote">13</a>]</sup> By contrast, we see the problem of forced labour as intrinsically linked to core dynamics of the global economy. Soaring levels of inequality, indecent work, concentrations of corporate power and ownership, shifting legal and governance regimes – these are all factors that render workers increasingly unprotected in the face of ever-harsher market forces. </p> <div style="margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:10px;padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;text-align:center;"><h3>What do we mean by political economy?</h3><p>Political economy refers to the underlying social and political mechanisms and principles that structure systems of social organisation. These are the girders and tent poles propping up and giving shape to our everyday lives. Structures that matter for this discussion include race, gender, caste, legal systems, and the market economy.</p><p>The study of political economy is the study of these structures. It examines the ‘rules of the game’, rather the actions of any individual player. It is also the study of power and its unequal distribution, specifically the power to affect the shape of the global economy. Today the actors with the power to do that include major corporations and industry bodies, as well as politicians, governments and inter-governmental organisations.</p> </div> <h2>Overview of the report</h2> <p>This report is organised around a metaphor – the classical economic metaphor of ‘supply and demand’. Within mainstream economic theory, the price of any particular good is not determined by the individuals who buy and sell it. Instead, the price results from a system-wide balance between how much of it is available in the world (supply), how many people want it, and how badly (demand). The price goes up as supply decreases or as demand increases, and down if the opposite applies. This is a useful way of thinking about forced labour. Rather than a simple consequence of greed or the moral shortcomings of individuals, forced labour in global supply chains is a structural phenomenon that results when predictable, system-wide dynamics intersect to create a supply of highly exploitable workers and a business demand for their labour. </p> <p>Our report looks at eight of these dynamics: four relating to supply and four relating to demand. On <strong>the supply side</strong>, the four dynamics we look at all contribute to creating a pool of workers vulnerable to exploitation. These include:</p> <div style="margin-left:25px;text-indent:-8px;"> <p><strong>• <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty">Poverty</a></strong>, which we understand to entail the legally-created deprivation of material and social resources;</p> <p><strong>• <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2">Identity and discrimination</a></strong>, by which we understand the denial to some people of the rights and status of full personhood, e.g. along lines of race and gender;</p> <p><strong>• <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3">Limited labour protections</a></strong>, which create pools of unprotected workers outside the remit of state safeguards, who face serious barriers to acting collectively and exerting rights; </p> <p><strong>• <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4">Restrictive mobility regimes</a></strong>, which do the same. </p> </div> <p>Each of the elements we have chosen to look at on <strong>the demand side</strong> either create pressure within the market for highly exploitable forms of labour or open up spaces within which that labour can be exploited. All of these dynamics are integral to the nature of global supply chains as they are currently constituted. They include:</p> <div style="margin-left:25px;text-indent:-8px;"> <p><strong>• <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5">Concentrated corporate power and ownership</a></strong>, which creates huge downward pressure on working conditions, in part by lowering the share of value available to workers as wages; </p> <p><strong>• <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7">Outsourcing</a></strong>, which fragments responsibility for labour standards and makes oversight and accountability very difficult;</p> <p><strong>• <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6">Irresponsible sourcing practices</a></strong>, that put heavy cost and time pressures on suppliers, which can lead to risky practices like unauthorised subcontracting; </p> <p><strong>• <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8">Governance gaps</a>,</strong> which are intentionally created around and within supply chains, opening up spaces for bad practice.</p> </div> <p>Each of these eight dynamics shall be dealt with in turn over the subsequent chapters.</p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/diagram1_920.jpg" width="100%" /> <p>Before we take a closer look at these factors, however, we must first lay out the conceptual foundations of our analysis. In the next two chapters, we define key terms and articulate a theory of the concept of freedom. We believe this to be essential both for understanding the root causes of forced labour and for building progressive political responses to them. We also break apart the apolitical history of globalisation, which we argue is a political and historical process designed by and for the powerful, rather than some neutral consequence of autonomous market forces. It is to such theoretical foundations that we now turn.</p> <p><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0">Next chapter: Concepts 1 of 2: Forced Labour and the Meaning of Freedom?</a></strong></p> <hr /> <style>#footnotes li{margin-bottom:10px;}</style> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1">International Organization for Migration ‘<a href="https://www.iom.int/counter-trafficking">Counter-trafficking: our approach</a>’. <a href="#ffn1">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn2">Walk Free Foundation (2017) ‘<a href="https://assets.globalslaveryindex.org/content/uploads/2017/02/20105509/Walk-Free-Submissions-NSW-Inquiry-Human-Trafficking-FINAL-.pdf">Select Committee on Human Trafficking Inquiry into Human Trafficking (NSW)</a>’. <a href="#ffn2">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn3">ILO (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf">Profits and Poverty: the Economics of Forced Labour</a>’, Geneva: ILO. <a href="#ffn3">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn4">F. W. Mayer, N. Phillips &amp; A. C. Posthuma (2016) ‘<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13563467.2016.1273343">The political economy of governance in a ‘global value chain world’</a>’, <em>New Political Economy</em>, 22(2), 129-133. <a href="#ffn4">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn5">M. Dottridge (2014) ‘<a href="http://www.antitraffickingreview.org/index.php/atrjournal/issue/view/3">Editorial: How is the money to combat human trafficking spent?</a>’, <em>Anti-Trafficking Review</em>, 3. <a href="#ffn5">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn6">P. Dauvergne &amp; G. LeBaron (2014) <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Protest+Inc+:+The+Corporatization+of+Activism-p-9780745669496"><em>Protest Inc.: The corporatization of activism</em></a>, Cambridge: Polity Press. <a href="#ffn6">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn7">A. E. Moore (2017) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/anne-elizabeth-moore/rich-in-funds-but-short-on-facts-high-cost-of-human-trafficking-a">Rich in funds but short on facts: the high cost of human trafficking</a>’ <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn7">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn8">D. Bose (2016) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/diya-bose/victims-of-trafficking-in-bangladesh-locked-up-for-their-own-good">Dhaka’s ‘victims of trafficking’: locked up for their ‘own good’</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn8">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn9">E. Shih (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/elena-shih/antitrafficking-rehabilitation-complex-commodity-activism-and-slavefree-goo">The anti-trafficking rehabilitation complex: commodity activism and slave-free goods</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn9">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn10">K. Kempadoo (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/kamala-kempadoo/white-man%E2%80%99s-burden-revisited">The white man’s burden revisited</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn10">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn11">N. Sharma (2015) ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/nandita-sharma/antitrafficking-whitewash-for-antiimmigration-programmes">Anti-trafficking: whitewash for anti-immigration programmes</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em>. <a href="#ffn11">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn12">K. Walters (2017) ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/kimberly-waters/rescued-from-rights-misogyny-of-anti-trafficking">Rescued from rights: the misogyny of anti-trafficking</a>’, <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.</em> <a href="#ffn12">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn13">K. Bales (2007) <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520257962"><em>Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves</em></a>, Berkeley: University of California Press. <a href="#ffn13">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> </ol><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <style><!-- .rctoc {font-size:90%;text-align:center;font-family:helvetica;} .rctoc_ch {padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);border-radius:25px;color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9)} .rctoc_ch_current {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);padding:10px;border:2px solid rgba(14,99,188,0.9);color:#FFF;border-radius:25px;} .rctoc a {text-decoration: none;} a:link .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:visited .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.1)} a:hover .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} a:active .rctoc_ch {background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.6);color:#FFF} #connector {height:10px;width:5px;background-color:rgba(14,99,188,0.9);display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;} --></style> <div style="width: 140px;" class="rctoc" id="container"> <p style="color: rgba(14,99,188,0.9); font-size: 110%; margin-top: 50px;"><strong>TABLE OF CONTENTS</strong></p> <div class="rctoc_ch_current"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong><br />The political economy of forced labour</div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 1/2</strong><br />The meaning of freedom</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-1"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCEPTS 2/2</strong><br />Globalisation and the rise of supply chains</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 1/4</strong><br />Poverty</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 2/4</strong><br />Identity and discrimination</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-3"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 3/4</strong><br />Limited labour protection</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>SUPPLY 4/4</strong><br />Restrictive mobility regimes</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-5"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 1/4</strong><br />Concentrated corporate power and ownership</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 2/4</strong><br />Outsourcing</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-6"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 3/4</strong><br />Irresponsible sourcing practices</div></a><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>DEMAND 4/4</strong><br />Governance gaps</div></a><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div><div id="connector"></div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0"><div class="rctoc_ch"><strong>CONCLUSION</strong><br />Where do we go from here?</div></a> </div> <!--container--> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Penelope Kyritsis Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis 115546 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Can the world end forced labour by 2030? https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/can-world-end-forced-labour-by-2030 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Alliance 8.7 needs to embrace a wholesale change in approach to forced labour if it is serious about tackling it in supply chains. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/es/genevieve-lebaron/podemos-acabar-con-el-trabajo-forzoso-para-el-2030">Español</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/8394332909_b9bd64d445_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Rice farmers working in the field in Kandal province. ILO/ Khem Sovannara/Flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/iloasiapacific/8394332909/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p>The world’s high level of interest in modern slavery and trafficking exists in part because many leading brand companies have been shown to profit from the use of exploitative labour practices in their supply chains. The <a href="https://cleanclothes.org/resources/publications/follow-the-thread-the-need-for-supply-chain-transparency-in-the-garment-and-footwear-industry">campaigns</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">exposés</a> demonstrating these links have pressured big firms into accepting more responsibility for the workers producing their products. And, over the past few years, we’ve seen an increasing number of <a href="http://3blmedia.com/News/Global-Business-Coalition-Against-Human-Trafficking-Expands-Scope-and-Steps-Efforts-End">corporate</a> and <a href="https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/sb657/resource-guide.pdf">governmental</a> initiatives aimed at improving the labour standards of the world’s workplaces. These initiatives have generally taken increased supply chain transparency as their primary mechanism for improvement, rather than punitive regulation or sanction, on the theory that ‘good’ companies will discover and address hidden exploitation, while ‘bad’ companies will be exposed for what they are, and will be punished for it by consumers and the market.</p> <p>The drive toward ‘decent work for all’ received a boost in 2015 when the United Nations recognised it as one of 17 <a href="http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/">sustainable development goals</a> to be accomplished by 2030. Since then a large network of institutional actors known as <a href="http://www.alliance87.org/">Alliance 8.7</a> – it takes its name from the part of SDG 8 specifically dealing with forced labour – has formed to spearhead the global effort around this SDG. There is, perhaps unsurprisingly given its composition, a lot of enthusiasm within Alliance 8.7 for voluntary, private sector-led governance approaches to eradicating forced labour in supply chains, including those that seek to increase supply chain transparency. There is only one catch: there is very little evidence to support their enthusiasm. </p> <p>Severe labour exploitation remains endemic across many sectors and regions of the world. As a large body of academic research, investigative journalism, and worker campaigns has by this point made clear, forced overtime, wage theft, the manipulation of debt and credit relations, sexual harassment and violence, and various other forms of coercion and exploitation are thriving in the global economy. If Alliance 8.7 is to realise its goal of eradicating forced labour, human trafficking, modern slavery, and the worst forms of child labour within the next thirteen years, or even make demonstrable progress toward it, dramatic action needs to be taken to address the root causes of these problems within global supply chains.</p> <h2>The limits of transparency</h2> <p>The initiatives and strategies currently on the table generally involve an expansion of existing social auditing, ethical certification, and awareness raising programmes. As continuations of the status quo, they disregard the growing body of empirical research <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14747731.2017.1304008">questioning</a> the effectiveness of these types of programmes, and demonstrate little awareness that a serious change of approach is needed in order to rise to this challenge. Why?</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">There are serious questions about the integrity of industry-led ‘monitoring’ initiatives.</p> <p>Transparency initiatives’ low level of effectiveness comes in part from problems in their design. The quality of social or ethical audits, for instance, varies widely because the companies commissioning them have discretion over their depth, stringency, and scope. Most audits furthermore focus on Tier 1 suppliers, those producers directly hired by the lead firm to produce their products. However, we know that <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1748-5991">forced labour thrives amongst workers employed by labour agencies</a> and contractors rather than direct producers, amongst unauthorised subcontractors, and within the informal and illegal sector, ranging from home based work to illegal mining operations. These workers are rarely encompassed within the scope of social audits. Relatedly, audits are also generally focused on product supply chains, as opposed to labour supply chains. Thus they overlook the “<a href="https://theconversation.com/why-businesses-fail-to-detect-modern-slavery-at-work-82344?utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=twitterbutton">often unregulated networks through which forced or trafficked workers may be recruited, transported, and supplied to business by third party agents</a>”.</p> <p>‘Good faith’ corporate initiatives have been further called into question by a number of recent high profile discoveries of labour exploitation in ‘ethically certified’ supply chains. The collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in 2013 shortly after it passed an audit; the discovery of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">rampant worker abuse</a> including murders by employers in the ‘ethically certified’ Thai fishing sector; and the discovery of <a href="http://thesourcefilm.com/">child labour on coffee plantations</a> certified as exploitation-free all raise questions about the faith placed in voluntary supply chain governance programmes. </p> <p>These problems raise serious questions about the integrity of industry-led ‘monitoring’ initiatives. There is little solid evidence that they work to address forced labour, modern slavery, or trafficking in global supply chains, and a lot of evidence that they are flawed.</p> <h2>And the limits of ‘light-touch’ legislation</h2> <p>Recent high profile government initiatives – such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (2010), the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/patricia-carrier-joseph-bardwell/how-uk-modern-slavery-act-can-find-its-bite">UK Modern Slavery Act</a> (2015), and Australia’s proposed <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/komala-ramachandra/australia-s-modern-slavery-proposal-falls-short">modern slavery in supply chains reporting requirement</a> – also prioritise improving transparency over punishing violations. &nbsp;Dozens of such laws have been passed since 2009. Such laws require large companies to disclose what they are doing to prevent and address forced labour in supply chains, however under most jurisdictions there is no penalty for reporting that they are doing nothing. Most of this legislation is low in stringency. It increases reporting obligations but, crucially, does not establish extraterritorial liability, does not create binding public standards, and does not sanction non-compliance.</p> <p>My colleague Andreas Rühmkorf and I recently published <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1758-5899.12398/full">a study</a> of the effectiveness of this legislation in the journal <em>Global Policy</em>. We looked at 25 major companies and studied whether and how their codes of conduct, supplier codes of conduct, terms and conditions for purchasing, and sustainability reporting evolved in the wake of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act. We found that very little substantive progress was made.</p> <h2>Building a better mousetrap</h2> <p>The approach that Alliance 8.7 takes to tackling forced labour and slavery in global supply chains should be informed by evidence about what works. At present, there is a distinct lack of evidence that soft law transparency legislation and voluntary industry efforts effectively reduce the worst forms of labour exploitation in the entirety of global supply chains. It remains an open question whether it would be better to re-start from scratch or to seriously work to improve existing initiatives. But either way, it’s important to understand that the primary obstacle to success with either option is not technical, but political. </p> <p>One curious feature of many supply chain governance initiatives is that they often sideline and marginalise workers in their design and implementation, rather than empowering them to exert their rights and to police initiatives’ effectiveness. Furthermore, when workers are given a seat in multi-stakeholder initiatives they often report that their participation wasn’t allowed to be anything more than superficial.</p> <p class="mag-quote-left">When companies push for regulation there is a need to question their motivations.</p> <p>This should be an enormous red flag. If the goal of these initiatives is to reduce forced labour and slavery, then workers are key assets in that struggle. Nobody has more reason to monitor and promote labour standards than they do, and they are best able to perform those functions when they are an organised and involved part of any initiative’s implementation. The <a href="https://wsr-network.org/">‘worker-driven social responsibility’</a> programmes now being led by groups like the <a href="http://www.ciw-online.org/">Coalition of Immokalee Workers</a> in the United States, for instance, are good examples of how workers can be meaningfully included in supply chain governance. </p> <p>Another big red flag is the eagerness with which companies have embraced transparency legislation. A fundamental assumption of the political economy literature on business is that companies resist all regulation that impinges upon their operations. Yet companies have actually been pushing for transparency regulation.</p> <p>In the UK, for instance, the government pulled the transparency in supply chains clause from a later version of the Modern Slavery Act, and it was actually an industry coalition that pressured the government to put it back in. Companies are not benevolent humanitarian organisations, so when they push for regulation there is a need to question their motivations. Is this particular type of legislation being promoted in order to head more stringent forms of legislation off at the pass? Such questions must be taken seriously if meaningful progress is to be made.</p> <p>Finally, we need to think carefully and feel extremely skeptical about the disproportionate power of industry actors in the inception, design, and implementation of both public and private anti-slavery initiatives. Corporate power is standing in the way of tackling the root causes of labour exploitation in global supply chains. Although the reasons underlying business demand for forced labour vary across business type, sector, and industry, there are clear patterns of root causes that could be addressed. To do that, however, requires fundamental changes to the business models that have become dominant in the global retail economy. If Alliance 8.7 wants to do its job right that’s what it should be pushing for.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-ram-n-torres/they-came-into-showers-why-we-formed-independent-farm-w">Why we formed an independent farm workers union</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/komala-ramachandra/australia-s-modern-slavery-proposal-falls-short">Australia’s ‘modern slavery’ proposal falls short</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-andrew-crane/overseas-anti-slavery-initiatives-flourish-but-domestic">Overseas anti-slavery initiatives flourish, but domestic governance gaps persist</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/judy-gearhart-penelope-kyritsis/gender-based-violence-at-work-when-boss-is-threat">Gender-based violence at work: when the boss is the threat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/neil-howard-mohan-mani/collective-bargaining-in-globalised-south">Collective bargaining in the Global(ised) South</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/benjamin-harkins/why-don-t-we-know-if-anti-trafficking-initiatives-work">Why don’t we know if anti-trafficking initiatives work?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Genevieve LeBaron Mon, 02 Oct 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron 113478 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Genevieve LeBaron https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/genevieve-lebaron-0 <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Genevieve LeBaron </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/politics/people/academic/genevieve-lebaron">Genevieve LeBaron</a>&nbsp;is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, Chair of the&nbsp;<a href="http://glc.yale.edu/modern-slavery/ModernDaySlaveryWorkingGroup/WorkingGroupMembers">Yale University Working Group on Modern Slavery</a>, and a UK ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow.</p> Genevieve LeBaron Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:13:54 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron 113289 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Overseas anti-slavery initiatives flourish, but domestic governance gaps persist https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-andrew-crane/overseas-anti-slavery-initiatives-flourish-but-domestic <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>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.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/2829985075_3812e5c539_b.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Nick Saltmarsh/Flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/nsalt/2829985075/">(CC BY 2.0)</a></span></p><p>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 date, <a href="https://tiscreport.org/">hundreds of companies</a> have published modern slavery statements as required by the Act. These statements depict the problem of forced labour as a hidden and illegal practice that is seeping into complex overseas supply chains, in spite of companies’ extensive efforts to protect human rights. Companies describe their efforts to prevent and address forced labour and human trafficking through the use of ethical auditing, certification schemes, supplier codes of conduct, awareness-raising and the installation of responsible sourcing managers. This is centred on vulnerable and faraway workers, such as in the Thai fishing industry or the Bangladeshi garments sector.&nbsp;</p> <p>There is without doubt value in company efforts to combat forced labour in supply chains operating in countries where national regulatory enforcement of labour standards is weak. Seldom acknowledged, however, is the fact that the problem is not exclusive to developing countries in the global south, but is also prevalent in developed countries in the north, including the UK.</p> <p>As we document <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rego.12162/full">in our research</a> published today in the journal <em>Regulation &amp; Governance</em>, regulatory and enforcement gaps surround the use of forced labour in <em>global </em>supply chains as well as supply chains located within UK borders. Problems such as the weak enforcement of labour law, poor oversight over labour providers and limited transparency in labour supply chains – combined with immigration laws that render migrant workers vulnerable to forced labour – mean that forced labour continues to thrive in UK-based industries.</p> <p>Many companies source from domestic supply chains in which forced labour is known to be a problem. These include the food, construction, garment and household goods industries, as well as those linked to services such as car washes and cleaning. Yet, companies reporting on their anti-slavery efforts rarely mention these UK-based supply chains or their vulnerable workforces, choosing instead to focus on workers in their sourcing networks overseas – instead of the presumably easier option of fighting forced labour at home.&nbsp;</p> <p>This blind spot may stem from the assumption that the UK government is already handling the problem of forced labour within its borders, so companies do not need to. However, as highlighted in our research, design flaws in public regulatory initiatives and poor enforcement mean that regulatory gaps frequently referred to as ‘decent work deficits’ in the developing world could also occur in the UK.</p> <p>The risk of forced labour in UK supply chains was acknowledged by department store chain John Lewis in its <a href="http://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk/content/dam/cws/pdfs/our-responsibilities/2017files/JLP-Human-Rights-Report-201617-Final.pdf">2016-2017 Human Rights and Modern Slavery Report</a>, following the high-profile 2016 conviction of one of its UK bed suppliers Kozee Sleep for exploiting a ‘<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leeds-35363259">slave workforce</a>’ to make beds sold in John Lewis stores. The company report notes that UK workers are at risk of slavery, due to “informal recruitment in seasonal supply chains” and the “lack of scrutiny of labour providers”. However, it is not clear how exactly the company plans to address these risks.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center">If ethical audits cannot detect forced labour in the UK, how effective are these tools abroad, where audit cheating and corruption are documented to be widespread?</p> <p>The Kozee Sleep case also underscores the shortcomings of company initiatives to monitor labour and social standards. According to several newspaper reports, Kozee Sleep passed an ‘ethical’ audit just weeks before it got busted for forced labour. As <em>The Independent </em><a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/foreign-workers-used-as-slave-labour-by-beds-supplier-to-next-and-john-lewis-a6686956.html">reported</a>, “ethical audits by a series of firms including John Lewis, Next, and Dunelm Mill failed to spot their supplier was employing foreign workers for less than £2 a day”. If ethical audits cannot detect forced labour in the UK, how effective are these tools abroad, where audit cheating and corruption are documented to be widespread?</p><p> Although the reports provide some detail about the initiatives that companies are taking to prevent and address forced labour, they very seldom report on the <em>effectiveness </em>of those efforts. For instance, when problems like the Kozee Sleep case are acknowledged, companies often respond by making vague references to training programs to help suppliers and service providers share good practice, or to generic ethical auditing programs. For instance, Tesco’s <a href="https://www.tescoplc.com/media/392433/modern_slavery_act.pdf">modern slavery statement</a> describes the requirement for all of its UK suppliers to attend a one-day training on modern slavery that “offers a support network where challenges and good practice can be shared among peers and experts”. While this may be a valuable initiative, the company does not report on how effective this program is in actually addressing the pattern of forced labour that has by now been well-documented in UK agricultural supply chains. This makes it difficult to assess whether or not progress is being made.</p> <p>Big business has a long way to go if it is serious about reducing its reliance on forced labour in the developing world. But the governance gaps surrounding forced labour in global supply chains are not the only ones to persist in the wake of the Modern Slavery Act’s passage. Companies looking to fight forced labour should start with their domestic supply chains, where they have high visibility, traceability and control as well as strong state resources that they could mobilise, if they really wanted to.&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><strong>A more extensive version of this piece was recently published in the academic journal <em>Regulation and Governance</em>. For download options, please see the <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rego.12162/full">Wiley Online Library</a>.</strong></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/mandatory-transparency-discretionary-disclosure">Mandatory transparency, discretionary disclosure</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard/forced-labour-is-big-business-states-and-corporations-ar">Forced labour is big business: states and corporations are doing little to stop it</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/patricia-carrier-joseph-bardwell/how-uk-modern-slavery-act-can-find-its-bite">How the UK Modern Slavery Act can find its bite</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/gscpd/genevieve-lebaron-and-joel-quirk/genevieve-lebaron-and-joel-quirk-intro">Introducing the terms of debate: regulation and responsibility in global supply chains</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Andrew Crane Genevieve LeBaron Mon, 11 Sep 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron and Andrew Crane 113269 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Mandatory transparency, discretionary disclosure https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/mandatory-transparency-discretionary-disclosure <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>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.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/8005511021_50f062cd67_h.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Garment factory in the Philippines. ILO/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)</p> <p>The challenge of governing labour standards globally has never been greater. Incidents such as <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31438699">Apple’s detection of ‘bonded servitude’</a> at its major subsidiary factories in China; the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">discovery of slave labour in the Thai prawn industry</a>, which supplies Walmart, Tesco, and Costco; and the skyrocketing <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/03/31/qatar-world-cup-workers/">death rate for workers constructing stadiums for Qatar’s World Cup</a> have drawn international attention to the severe labour exploitation that’s being fuelled by discount-driven consumer markets.</p> <p>Activists have become increasingly adept at linking severe labour exploitation back to the big brand corporations, whose purchasing practices shape working conditions within global supply chains. For instance, the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, in conjunction with local trade union and labour rights organisations, <a href="http://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/precarious-work-in-the-gap-global-value-chain">recently traced conditions at the Next Collections factory in Bangladesh</a> – where workers were “routinely forced … into 14-17 hour shifts, seven days a week amounting to workweeks of over 100 hours” and paid poverty level wages of $0.20 to $0.24 USD – back to clothing manufacturer Gap. </p> <p>Amidst calls for greater corporate accountability for labour standards, companies and governments have passed a flurry of initiatives intended to address and prevent modern slavery and forced labour in global supply chains.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Under transparency law, companies can report on pretty much any aspect of their corporate social responsibility programmes that they’d like.</p> <p>On the government side, these include transparency legislation like the <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents/enacted">UK Modern Slavery Act</a> and <a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/164934.pdf">California Transparency in Supply Chains Act</a>, which require some large manufacturers to disclose any voluntary measures they are taking to verify their supply chains against human trafficking and slavery. On the corporate side, companies are investing in new social responsibility programmes, and have expanded &#39;ethical&#39; auditing initiatives and NGO partnerships to monitor labour standards.</p> <p>Yet, by most measures, and across many sectors and regions, labour exploitation remains endemic. I am in the midst of writing a new book (to be published by <em>Polity</em> next year) that will explain why these new governance measures are failing to protect the world’s workers. The answers are complex and vary across sector, supply chain, and governance initiative. Here, I want to flag just one small but important part of the story, which relates to the problems of measuring the effectiveness of new legislation and private initiatives. </p> <h2>Transparency to what end?</h2> <p>None of the new laws require companies to consistently report on a standardised and specific set of indicators (e.g. the prevalence and known incidence of forced labour in their supply chains), or to provide straightforward and consistent information about whether the measures they are taking to combat exploitation are actually working. Rather, under transparency law, companies can report on pretty much any aspect of their corporate social responsibility programmes that they’d like. And unsurprisingly, most companies elect not to report information about the actual risks or patterns of forced labour, human trafficking, or modern slavery within their supply chains, nor on the progress they are (or are not) making towards combatting such practices. </p> <p class="mag-quote-left">A review of 230 company statements found that &quot;two-thirds do not identify priority risks, whether in terms of countries, supply chains or business areas&quot;.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.ergonassociates.net/images/stories/articles/ergonmsastatement2.pdf">one recent review of 230 company statements</a> produced to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act, “35% of statements say nothing on the question of their risk assessment processes, which is surprising for statements that are intended to be based around a due diligence approach. Two-thirds do not identify priority risks, whether in terms of countries, supply chains or business areas.” In short, under the new transparency legislation, companies are reporting, but they are reporting on vague and general issues related to social compliance rather than providing information on the real problems. As the <a href="http://www.ergonassociates.net/images/stories/articles/ergonmsastatement2.pdf">recent review notes</a>, “most statements do not go further than general commitments and broad indications of processes.”</p> <p>Until companies are transparent about the risks of forced labour in their supply chains and provide baseline data about the scale of such risks, it won’t be possible to evaluate whether the measures they purport to be taking to address these risks are actually working. Given the tenacity with which companies tend to triumph their successes, the lack of hard evidence confirming progress is suggestive of the opposite – that these new initiatives are doing little to alter the status quo. The business of forced labour in global supply chains cannot be combatted without reliable and consistent information about the patterns of forced labour within global supply chains and the effectiveness of public and private governance efforts to combat them.</p> <blockquote> <p>The piece was simultaneously published on SOAS&#39; <a href="https://blogs.soas.ac.uk/lsmd/">MSc Labour, Social Movements &amp; Development</a> blog.</p> </blockquote> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-montserrat-mir-roca/all-purpose-cop-out-of-anti-competitiveness">The all-purpose cop-out of ‘anti-competitiveness’</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-elizabeth-tang-sanjiv-pandita/getting-state-to-switch-sides-in-fight">Getting the state to switch sides in the fight for workers&#039; rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-elizabeth-tang-sanjiv-pandita/getting-state-to-switch-sides-in-fight">Getting the state to switch sides in the fight for workers&#039; rights</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Genevieve LeBaron Governing global supply chains? BTS at the ILO Supply Chain Roundtable Case studies and critique Thu, 17 Nov 2016 13:01:01 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron 106890 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Introducing the terms of debate: regulation and responsibility in global supply chains https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/genevieve-lebaron-and-joel-quirk/genevieve-lebaron-and-joel-quirk-intro <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>What is the best strategy for combating labour abuses in global supply chains? Should we continue with ‘corporate social responsibility’, or should we favour an alternative of international legal liability and accountability?</p> </div> </div> </div> <!--DEBATE BOX --> <style> #debatemain {padding-top:5px;margin-bottom:0px;padding-bottom:0px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-right:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;} #debatebox { margin-top: 0; padding: 0; display: flex; } #convenor { padding: 0px 20px; width:40%; } #respondents { width:60%; top: 0; padding: 0px 20px; border-left:1px solid #EDEDED; } .participant {font-size:100%;} .affil {font-size:90%;font-style: italic;color: #999;} .rspacing {margin:10px 0px;line-height:100%;} </style> <div id="debatemain"> <p style="background-color: #EDEDED; border-top: 3px solid #0061BF; color: #000000; font-size: 120%; font-weight: 400; margin: 0; padding: 10px 20px;">Policy debate</p> <p style="padding:0px 20px;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;color:#cf0a2c;font-weight:bold;font-size:110%;">Can corporations be trusted to tackle modern day slavery?</p> <p style="padding:0px 20px;font-size:90%;">We asked nine movers and shakers in the field of labour policy to respond to the following: <span style="color:#cf0a2c;">'Ending forced labor and modern slavery in global supply chains requires binding legislation, rather than corporate self-regulation and self-disclosure. Yes or no?'</span> This is what they answered.</p> <div id="debatebox"> <div id="convenor"> <p style="margin-top:0px;margin-bottom:0px; font-size:120%;font-weight:bold;">Convenors </p><p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/genevieve-lebaron">Genevieve LeBaron</a> &amp; <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/joel-quirk">Joel Quirk</a></span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="affil">Genevieve is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sheffield (UK).</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="affil">Joel Quirk is Associate Professor in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa).</span></p> <p class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/genevieve-lebaron-and-joel-quirk/genevieve-lebaron-and-joel-quirk-intro">Introduction: In whom should we trust? Responsibility and regulation in global supply chains</a></p> </div> <div id="respondents"> <p style="margin-top:0px;margin-bottom:0px; font-size:120%;font-weight:bold;">Respondents</p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/anannya-battacharjee/anannya-battacharjee-yes">Anannya Bhattacharjee</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Garment &amp; Allied Workers' Union</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/urmila-bhoola/urmila-bhoola-yes">Urmila Bhoola</a></span><br /><span class="affil">UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/cathy-feingold/cathy-feingold-yes">Cathy Feingold</a></span><br /><span class="affil">AFL-CIO</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/hugh-helferty/hugh-helferty-yes">Hugh Helferty</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Queen's School of Business</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/houtan-homanyounpour/houtan-homanyounpour-mayb">Houtan Homayounpour</a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Labour Organisation</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/edward-e-potter/edward-e-potter-no">Ed Potter</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Formerly of the Coca-Cola Company</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/anna-decourcywheeler/anna-decourcywheeler-yes">Anna de Courcy Wheeler</a></span><br /><span class="affil">The Freedom Fund</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gscpd/lara-white/lara-white-yes">Lara White</a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Organisation for Migration</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/lgscpd/leonardo-sakamoto/leonardo-sakamoto-yes">Leonardo Sakamoto</a></span><br /><span class="affil">National Commission for the Eradication of Slave Labour</span></p> </div> </div> <br /> </div> <!-- END DEBATE BOX --> <p>We sometimes speak about the global economy as if it were a force of nature, or as a patient with uncertain health. It can be tamed or unleashed, wounded or healed. The specific language used can reveal a great deal about how people think about economic processes and government policies. As any economist can tell you, the main bone of contention is often the role of regulation. Why and when is regulation required, and what form should it ideally take? Over the last three decades, this enduring debate has taken on new features, since so much of what now gets consumed comes from factories and workers in other countries. Instead of making goods in-house, corporations now subcontract many aspects of their production processes to partners in developing countries with lower wages, less regulation, and fewer protections for workers.</p> <p>There is no question that global supply chains are good for corporations, but <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilc/neil-howard-genevieve-lebaron/making-supply-chains-work-for-workers-2016-international">do they work for workers</a>? As you might expect, this question can be answered in many ways, with different responses covering the full spectrum of yes, no, maybe, and sometimes. In a world where jobs are scarce there will always be claims that nearly any job is better than no job at all. Yet this begs an obvious question regarding the types of jobs that have been created. Major corporations use <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/s%C3%A9bastien-rioux/food-retailers-market-concentration-and-forced-labour">their market power</a> to drive down costs by securing favourable contracts with suppliers, since their suppliers frequently have limited scope to negotiate better returns, better conditions, or less demanding production cycles. This combination of low prices and high expectations means that companies further down the supply chain frequently experience sustained pressure to depress pay and conditions, to the point where forced labour can appear as an unavoidable business strategy.</p> <h2>The limits of existing regulations</h2> <p>It is at this point that the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilc/andreas-r-hmkorf/ilo-report-on-decent-work-in-global-supply-chains-much-ado-about-noth">question of regulation</a> takes centre stage. Thanks to a steady stream of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">investigative reports</a>, it is now widely accepted that some factories and companies have been seriously abusing and exploiting their workers. According <a href="https://www.ashridge.org.uk/faculty-research/research/current-research/research-projects/corporate-approaches-to-addressing-modern-slavery/">one study</a>, “71% of companies believe there is a likelihood of modern slavery occurring at some stage in their supply chains”. However, there continues to be heated debate regarding <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilc/andreas-r-hmkorf/ilo-report-on-decent-work-in-global-supply-chains-much-ado-about-noth">who should be held responsible when forced labour is found to have taken place.</a> Most researchers and analysts talk in terms of widespread patterns, rather than isolated cases, suggesting that we have a serious global problem.</p> <p>Problems on this scale rarely come with easy or immediate solutions. A number of regulations already prohibit forced labour, slavery and abusive labour practices in most countries. However, these regulations suffer from a combination of legal loopholes and failures of enforcement. National laws rarely extend beyond national borders or citizens, creating ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rachel-wilshaw/what-would-loosen-roots-of-labour-exploitation-in-supply-chains">governance gaps</a>’ between different legal systems. Corporations are only legally responsible for workers they employ directly, so any abuses that take place at the hands of companies to whom they have subcontracted fall outside their legal obligations.</p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u561905/14063899866_a4f68a9acf_o-w920.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;"> Workers with disabilities in Dong Nai. ILO in Asia and the Pacific//flickr.cc(by-nc-nd)</p> <p>At an international level, we now have many conventions and protocols, including agreements against slavery (1926, 1956), forced labour (1930, 1957, 2014), and human trafficking (1949, 2000). While these international conventions contain valuable provisions and aspirations, they don’t necessarily come with the same forms of obligation, oversight or enforcement as national legislation. States routinely fail to enforce labour law without consequences. The key question is therefore not whether or not there should be any regulation. It is instead whether or not a new approach to regulation is required to update and globalise worker protections for the 21<sup>st</sup> century.</p> <p>In this debate, we have asked some of the world’s leading experts to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of a number of potential solutions. As we outline in more detail below, we are particularly interested in their thoughts on two approaches. On the one hand, we have corporate social responsibility (CSR), which has been dominant for over twenty years. On the other, we have an emerging argument that binding legislation should be prioritised over CSR.</p> <h2>Solution one: corporate social responsibility and voluntary action</h2> <p>The main principles of CSR are self-disclosure and self-regulation. The basic idea is that responsible corporations – working hand in hand with responsible consumers – can play a transformative role in cleaning up (or keeping clean) their supply chains. Established regulations remain on the books, but are also supplemented via voluntary action. Thousands of different initiatives have recently been introduced to bolster labour and environmental standards in supply chains, covering products such as bananas, tea, cocoa, t-shirts, and computers. Some CSR initiatives are specific to individual corporations, such as <a href="http://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/">Apple</a>, <a href="https://www.microsoft.com/about/csr/responsible-supply-chain/">Microsoft</a> or <a href="http://www.coca-colacompany.com/coca-cola-unbottled/from-farm-to-table-sustainability-in-our-supply-chain">Coca-Cola</a>. Others take the form of industry coalitions, such as <a href="http://www.cocoainitiative.org/en/">the International Cocoa Initiative</a> and the <a href="http://www.ethicaltrade.org">Ethical Trading Initiative</a>. These frequently include non-governmental organisations, such as Free the Slaves (cocoa) or Anti-Slavery International (ethical trading).</p> <p>The most common application of CSR principles involves the publication of policies, principles, reports and stories relating to the treatment of supply chain workers. In some cases, these publications are little more than general statements of principle that outline the values to which corporations aspire, but contain little or no information on how these values will be realised in practice. Others contain detailed material on codes of conduct, internal audits, and budgets. A good example of the later is Apple’s annual <a href="http://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/progress-report/">supplier responsibility reports</a>. Despite these variations in practice, there is nonetheless a common strand linking together most CSR initiatives. As a general rule, they are <em>voluntary</em>, so there are no automatic or direct penalties for non-compliance or poor performance. Companies determine their own standards, policies and associations, and decide when and how much to report regarding their overall performance.</p> <p>This general rule now comes with some important exceptions, where forms of CSR have been made a mandatory requirement via new legislation. The two most significant examples are the <a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/164934.pdf">California Transparency in Supply Chains Act</a> (2010) in the United States and the <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents/enacted">Modern Slavery Act</a> (2015) in the United Kingdom. At the heart of both pieces of legislation is a legal obligation for corporations of a certain size to make an annual public statement regarding modern slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains. In keeping with established trends, the quality of these <a href="https://business-humanrights.org/en/uk-modern-slavery-act-registry">public statements</a> has continued to be subject to <a href="https://knowthechain.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/KnowTheChain_Report_011316.pdf">tremendous variation</a>. Corporations can even satisfy their legal obligations by reporting that they are taking no action at all. If they publically proclaim their commitment to the cause and then don’t deliver, they face no penalties beyond the uncertain prospect of consumer activism or negative publicity. Reporting may well be mandatory, but public statements do not necessarily ensure that CSR efforts will be successful in eradicating forced labour. Supporters of CSR claim that voluntary action has often proved to be highly effective. Critics alternatively claim that CSR has repeatedly failed to adequately protect workers on the ground, resulting in growing calls for a new approach.</p> <h2>Solution two: expanded international accountability and legal liability</h2> <p>In recent years, a coalition of workers, civil society groups, investors, trade unions, and some industry and government representatives have argued that the current model of CSR-based solutions isn’t working. They have argued that a fresh approach is necessary, one in which global supply chains are regulated by global laws. The basic idea is for established regulations to remain on the books, but to supplement current models via expanded regulation at a national and international level to close down ‘governance gaps’. This means introducing a new regulatory framework with global reach that would legally curtail corporations’ ability to outsource liability for the working conditions associated with the production of the goods that they sell. In other words, holding corporations legally accountable for serious labour abuses across their <em>entire</em> supply chains. The most significant movement in this overall direction arises out of the most recent International Labour Conference in Geneva in June of this year. At this conference, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/neil-howard-cameron-thibos/ilc2016-what-happened-what-s-next">workers, unions and some governments</a> made the case that corporations need to be compelled to take direct responsibility for forced labour within their supply chains. While the precise nature of any future binding convention remains open to debate, the key argument is that <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilc/andreas-r-hmkorf/ilo-report-on-decent-work-in-global-supply-chains-much-ado-about-noth">moral responsibly must be translated into legal liability</a>. Corporations cannot be trusted to regulate themselves, so there is a need for mandatory action, rather than voluntary self-regulation.</p> <h2>What is the most effective solution?</h2> <p>We already have a great deal of <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyond-slavery-themes/forced-labour-in-global-political-economy">research into why and how labour abuses occur in global supply chains.</a> The primary goal of this debate is to harness this existing expertise and experience in order to identify the best strategies for taking effective action. As with any debate over politics and policy, we are faced with the difficult task of adjudicating between competing positions, priorities and interests. Our goal here is not to look for a single magical solution that will immediately resolve the problem once and for all (especially given the well-documented and widespread problem of effective enforcement). That does not mean, however, that we should attempt to avoid difficult decisions by declaring that we should be trying all of the available options at the same time. In any policy debate, some solutions are going to be more effective than others, so our chief task is to identify which solutions can be expected to make the most significant improvements for workers vulnerable to forced labour within global supply chains.</p> <p>We also need to recognise that some solutions will not be compatible or complimentary. Advocates of binding legislation often have no patience for self-regulation, since they regard it as a failure that complicates and undermines the search for more effective alternatives. Similarly, advocates of self-regulation are frequently opposed to more binding regulation, since they regard it as an unnecessary intrusion that not only creates further complications and costs, but can also make it harder for companies to set and enforce their own rules. As numerous researchers have documented, the popularity of CSR approaches can be partially traced to their political value as a defence <em>against</em> calls for further regulation. Through this debate, we hope to concentrate attention on what works, what doesn’t work, and what we should be aiming for next. There may not be a single magical solution to the challenge of forced labour in global supply chains, but some solutions will still be more effective and more deserving of action and energy than others.</p> <div style="padding:10px;border:1px solid #EDEDED;> <a href="http://glc.yale.edu/"><img style="float:right;margin-left:10px;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/GLC-logo_430.jpg" width="50%" /></a> <p>This series has been produced in conjunction with Yale University's <a href="http://glc.yale.edu/">Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition</a>. </p></div> <br /><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/ilc/benjamin-selwyn/promoting-decent-work-in-supply-chains-interview-with-benjamin-selwyn">Promoting decent work in supply chains? An interview with Benjamin Selwyn</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/ilc/ainhoa-barrenechea/decent-work-in-globalised-world-week-one-at-international-labour-co">Decent work in a globalised world? Week one at the International Labour Conference and the supply chains dilemma</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/ilc/judy-gearhart/global-supply-chains-time-for-new-deal">Global supply chains: time for a new deal?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Joel Quirk Genevieve LeBaron Debate: Can corporations be trusted to tackle modern day slavery? Tue, 13 Sep 2016 22:42:08 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron and Joel Quirk 105277 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Rethinking recovery: recovery for whom? https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/rethinking-recovery-recovery-for-whom <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Corporate profits are soaring, but so is labour exploitation. Who is the ‘recovery’ really benefiting?</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-7013890_920.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Dominic Lipinski/Press Association. All rights reserved.</p> <p>Has the labour market ‘recovered’ since the 2008-09 financial crisis? The answer to this question depends on whom you ask. </p> <p>The labour market is a central part of the UK’s ‘economic recovery’ narrative advanced by political and economic elites. In <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/statement-by-the-chancellor-following-the-eu-referendum">his address on 27 June to reassure the markets</a> amidst the turmoil caused by the Brexit vote, George Osborne, the British chancellor, suggested “the employment rate is at a record high” as evidence of the strength of the “rebuilt” UK economy. </p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find that official measures of national economic recovery have not translated into concrete improvements for UK workers.</p> <p>Likewise, official national statistics tell a story of steady improvement. Unemployment soared in the wake of the UK’s economic downturn, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/feb/15/uk-unemployment-high-economy-flatlines">peaking at 8.4% in 2011</a>, the highest jobless rate in nearly two decades. Today, unemployment is at a <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35594650">ten-year low</a>. Productivity indicators such as output per worker and output per hour dipped sharply in 2009 but have <a href="http://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/labourproductivity/timeseries/a4ym">now surpassed</a> pre-crisis levels. The redundancy rate has gone from <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/redundancies/timeseries/beir">12.2% in 2009 to 4.1% in 2016</a>. And the claimant count (of those claiming unemployment benefits) has fallen from roughly <a href="http://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/may2016">1.6 million in 2012 to 737,800 in April 2016</a>.</p> <p>But scratch beneath the surface of these statistics and you’ll find that official measures of national economic recovery have not translated into concrete improvements for UK workers. Rather, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/datablog/2014/nov/19/uk-workers-suffer-sixth-year-of-falling-real-pay-in-2014">real wages have fallen sharply</a>, there has been a sharp rise in <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/mar/12/wage-theft-cases-low-paid-workers">wage theft</a> amongst low paid workers, and the number of workers on <a href="http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2013/10/17/precarious-employment-recovery-regressive-redistribution/">zero-hours</a> contracts has <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/02/number-of-workers-on-zero-hours-contracts-up-by-19">skyrocketed</a>. There have been increases in reports of <a href="http://www.heads-uk.com/forced-labour-is-on-the-rise/">forced labour</a> and <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29420184">human trafficking</a> within the UK, as well as incidences of <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/471048/BIS-15-549-tackling-exploitation-in-the-labour-market.pdf">exploitation</a>, particularly of migrant workers. In short, recovery policy has only intensified the “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/18/economy-bleak-british-workers-technology">relentless slide toward a low-pay Britain</a>”.</p> <h2>Winners and losers of the British bailout</h2> <p>The UK government has spent over £500 billion in bailout funds to achieve economic recovery, and hundreds of billions have also been provided by the Obama administration. Where has that money gone, if not to working people? One clear winner is big business. Aided by a <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/07/corporate-welfare-a-93bn-handshake">corporate welfare regime</a>, corporate profits have climbed steadily since the financial crisis. In the US in 2014, according to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/business/economy/corporate-profits-grow-ever-larger-as-slice-of-economy-as-wages-slide.html?_r=0"><em>The New York Times</em></a>, “corporate profits [were] at their highest level in at least 85 years”. That same year, “total compensation of employees slipped to a 65-year low”. In other words, corporate profits have recovered, but those profits have not been passed onto workers. Rather, workers – and particularly low waged workers – have been left unprotected and struggling, battling wages, downward pressure on working conditions, and endemic exploitation. </p> <p class="mag-quote-left">Government reforms have bolstered corporate profits while at the same time work has become increasingly insecure and poorly paid.</p> <p>UK labour market dynamics are in line with regional and global trends. Governments around the world have enacted labour market reforms to spur growth and bailout business; these have bolstered corporate profits, at the same time as work has become increasingly insecure and poorly paid. A <a href="http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2016/03/07/where-now-for-flexicurity-new-speri-global-political-economy-brief/">recent study</a> of 19 European countries found that since the crisis, “governments across the EU have increased labour market flexibility by weakening and removing employee protections”. The International Labour Organisation has <a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_368252/lang--en/index.htm">warned</a> that large proportions of new jobs created since the crisis are concentrated in sectors that do not pay well and leave workers vulnerable to abuse. </p> <p>Further evidence of how workers are taking home a surprisingly small share of the pie is provided by Apple. In 2015 the company revealed that it had <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/22/investing/apple-stock-cash-earnings/">$203 billion in cash</a> and in the same year acknowledged widespread “<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31438699">bonded servitude</a>” in the factories that make up its global supply chain. One <a href="http://pcic.merage.uci.edu/papers/2011/value_ipad_iphone.pdf">recent study</a> of value distribution for the iPhone found that while Apple takes home 58.5% in profit, its global labour force now holds onto a mere 5.3%. </p> <p>Simply put, there is mounting evidence not only that recovery has failed to improve conditions for workers – it has actually been achieved by decreasing wages and labour standards across many industries and regions of the world.</p> <h2>Presenting the latest research</h2> <p>This dynamic was confirmed by a body of research presented at a <a href="http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2016/05/31/speri-woerrc-workshop-real-recovery-will-require-decent-work/">recent workshop</a> at the University of Sheffield that gathered academics and experts from across the UK to explore the impact of recovery wages and working conditions. For instance, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sustainable-fashion-blog/2015/feb/27/made-in-britain-uk-textile-workers-earning-3-per-hour">research</a> by Nik Hammer at the University of Leicester documents that 75-90% of the employees in Leicester’s booming garment industry are paid £3 per hour (less than half of the minimum wage). Another paper by Francesca Feruglia of Nazdeek <a href="http://rajanzaveri.com/rajanzaveri/Nazdeek_VR/Nazdeek_VR.html">demonstrates</a> that although tea industry profits have increased in recent years, tea workers receive $1.89 (well under the industry’s legal minimum of $3.60) and are frequently victims of forced labour. </p> <p>Taken as a whole, the research raised the concern that the financial crisis and associated recovery policies are now translating into a labour market crisis, as businesses have attempted to cut labour costs (in part by increasing agency and temporary workers, migrant workers, and through bogus self-employment), avoid pension-fund obligations, and undermine workers’ rights to pay, benefits, and bargaining. </p> <p>To further explore these dynamics, I have commissioned a series of articles on these themes to be published jointly by <a href="http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/">SPERI</a> and openDemocracy’s <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery"><em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em></a>. Over the coming weeks, the series will tackle the impact of recovery policy on the UK labour market. It will also assess labour conditions in global supply chains led by both UK-based retail firms and major brands and industries familiar to UK consumers. </p> <p>My hope for the series is that it will deepen understandings of the differentiated impact of recovery policy on business and workers, as well as across diverse segments of the labour market. Finally, I hope that the series will begin to chart new ways of thinking that move us beyond ‘<a href="http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2013/09/24/politics-quantitative-easing-recovery-regressive-redistribution/">recovery through regressive redistribution</a>’ and seek to stimulate prosperity in more equitable ways. </p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Rethinking Recovery:</strong> The <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/judy-fudge/rethinking-recovery-labour-market-exploitation-and-austerity-in-uk">second blog in the series</a> by Judy Fudge looks at labour market exploitation and austerity in the UK. This series is supported by a <a href="http://www.esrc.ac.uk/about-us/what-we-do/">UK Economic and Social Research Council</a> seminar series grant, ‘From REcovery to DIScovery: Opening the Debate on Alternatives to Financialisation.’</p> </blockquote> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/judy-fudge/rethinking-recovery-labour-market-exploitation-and-austerity-in-uk">Rethinking recovery: labour market exploitation and austerity in the UK</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/ilc/nick-clark/all-about-money">All about the money</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/susan-ferguson-david-mcnally/capitalism%E2%80%99s-unfree-global-workforce">Capitalism’s unfree global workforce</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Genevieve LeBaron Rethinking Recovery Mon, 04 Jul 2016 06:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron 103540 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Making supply chains work for workers? The 2016 International Labour Conference and beyond https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilc/neil-howard-genevieve-lebaron/making-supply-chains-work-for-workers-2016-international <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Employers, worker’s organisations and politicians are gathering to discuss decent work in global supply chains. BTS launches three months of multimedia analysis asking how – if at all – we can guarantee it.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/10987601513_67d535754f_k_920.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;">Ando International garment factory. Aaron Santos for the ILO/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)</p> <p>Chances are, you’re reading this on a laptop. If so, you’re sitting at the end of a long and winding <a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_468097.pdf">global supply chain</a>. The typical computer contains a memory chip from Malaysia, a battery from Indonesia, a screen from South Korea, RAM from Germany, and a hard drive made in Thailand. This all before it was assembled in China and then bought off a shelf in Buenos Aires, New York, or Vienna. The reality is that most products are now made by a global workforce fragmented across dozens of national boundaries, worksites, and employers. </p> <p>Transnational retail and manufacturing companies like Apple, Walmart, Tesco, and Unilever organise large swathes of global production across these complex, multi-national networks. The <a href="http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/wir2013_en.pdf">United Nations Conference on Trade and Development</a> estimates that they encompass 80% of all world trade. The transnational corporations (TNCs) sitting at the top of them source goods through commercial contracts across thousands of arms-length supplier firms, each of which is a discrete legal entity employing its own workers. This allows products to be made cheaply and quickly, but it also distances TNCs from legal responsibility for the labour and environmental practices associated with their production. </p> <p class="mag-quote-right">While transnational corporations create the rules of the game, they bear little responsibility for its outcomes.</p> <p>The reorganisation of production, investment, and trade into global supply chains represents a decisive break in the history of global capitalism. And many claim that it’s a positive development. The World Trade Organisation, for example, <a href="https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/world_trade_report14_e.pdf">estimates</a> that developing countries’ engagement in global supply chains caused their share of world trade to rise from 33% to 48% between 2000 and 2012. Economists argue that TNC investment helps lift the poor countries where suppliers firms are located out of poverty. And business leaders often claim that working conditions in global supply chains are better than they are anywhere else in the local economy. </p> <p>Of course, it’s no surprise to hear them tout the virtues of global supply chains since TNCs derive vast profits from this business model. <a href="http://pcic.merage.uci.edu/papers/2011/value_ipad_iphone.pdf">One recent study</a> estimates that Apple retains 58.5% of the value of every iPhone as profit, while the workers who make it take home only 5.3% as wages. Global supply chains allow big brands to hoard <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/22/investing/apple-stock-cash-earnings/">record amounts of cash</a>, but as suppliers scramble to get goods to them on time and for low costs, workers are often left underpaid and unprotected. </p> <p>Recent incidents – such as the discovery of “<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31438699">bonded servitude</a>” amongst Apple’s factory workers; rampant “<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">forced labour</a>” in Thailand’s prawn industry; and reports of <a href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/03/11/work-faster-or-get-out/labor-rights-abuses-cambodias-garment-industry">criminally abusive</a> conditions in Cambodia’s garment factories (which make clothes for Marks &amp; Spencer, Gap and Adidas) – have focused the world’s attention on the dangers that global supply chains can pose for workers. Disasters such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Savar_building_collapse">Rana Plaza</a> have done the same, and workers’ organisations, consumer activists, and academics now routinely ask whether the current structure of global supply chains can ever guarantee <a href="http://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/">worker safety</a> or <a href="http://www.oxfam.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2016/01/62-people-own-same-as-half-world-says-oxfam-inequality-report-davos-world-economic-forum">social justice</a>. In one recent and hard-hitting <a href="http://www.ituc-csi.org/frontlines-report-2016-scandal">report</a>, for example, the <a href="http://www.ituc-csi.org/">International Trade Union Confederation</a> claim that the rules governing global supply chains (or, rather, their absence) allow TNCs to accumulate historic levels of wealth and power <em>precisely</em> by taking both from everybody else. </p> <p>One of the key challenges from a workers rights and social justice perspective is that while TNCs create the rules of the game, they bear little responsibility for its outcomes. Top-tier firms like Nike or Adidas pay <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/jul/02/british-farmers-supermarket-price-wars">fiercely low prices</a>, demand goods too <a href="http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/07/16/efforts-to-clean-up-fast-fashion-supply-chains-face-a-tough-road">quickly</a>, or chronically <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/05/tesco-faces-investigation-over-how-it-pays-suppliers">delay their payments</a>, but it is up to suppliers to cope with these dynamics without cutting legal corners. Yet ample evidence shows that corners <em>are</em> often cut, through practices like unauthorised subcontracting, under- and non-payment of wages, excessive and involuntary overtime, or the use of exploited, under-age, or illegal labour. Suppliers often claim that they have no alternative if they wish to stay in business. </p> <p>For their part, workers have little recourse against the TNCs whose products they are producing, since legal liability for labour standards and the responsibilities of ‘employment’ are fractured across supplier firms and intermediaries (like recruiters or temporary labour providers). Whereas once a Ford employee could have picketed his factory in Detroit if he wished to pressure his manager for better pay or safer working conditions, now the workers in Guangdong have no such option when it comes to the contracts they work on for Apple in California. And this is <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rachel-wilshaw/what-would-loosen-roots-of-labour-exploitation-in-supply-chains">made worse</a> by the fact that many poor governments choose not to enforce minimum labour standards in a desperate attempt to attract footloose foreign capital. </p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/8249606100_3c1c62bc74_k_920.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;">A garment factory in Sri Lanka. M.Crozet for the ILO/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)</p> <p>As calls for corporate accountability for labour standards have intensified, companies have claimed that they can respond meaningfully by using voluntary corporate social responsibility programmes (CSR), such as certification schemes, ethical auditing, or codes of conduct. Governments like those of the US or UK have given these programmes credibility by <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents/enacted">mandating</a> that industry report on their voluntary efforts to prevent and address forced labour, human trafficking, and other forms of exploitation within their supply chains. But after almost two decades of such efforts, activists, workers, and consumers are wondering whether CSR can ever really be enough, or whether a new approach is needed to promote corporate accountability for supply chain labour standards. </p> <p>It is in this context that the <a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/lang--en/index.htm">International Labour Organisation</a> (ILO) has taken the watershed decision to put global supply chain governance on the agenda for its annual <a href="http://www.ilo.org/ilc/ILCSessions/105/lang--en/index.htm">International Labour Conference</a> (ILC), which begins today in Geneva. For the first time in history, and amidst much political contestation, the leaders of the world economy will gather at the ILO’s seat to begin discussing whether and how global supply chains can <a href="http://www.ilo.org/ilc/ILCSessions/105/reports/reports-to-the-conference/WCMS_473699/lang--en/index.htm">ensure decent work</a> for all their workers. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">For the first time in history the leaders of the world economy will gather at the ILO’s seat to discuss whether and how global supply chains can ensure decent work.</p> <p>Workers organisations, social justice activists and concerned citizens all want the ILO meetings to be a first step on the road towards binding international accountability for labour standards in supply chains. Noting the limited scope and effectiveness of national regulation in resolving these issues that plague ‘decent work’, workers organisations have <a href="http://asia.floorwage.org/workersvoices/reports/precarious-work-in-the-gap-global-value-chain">called</a> for the ILO to “move towards a binding legal convention regulating [global value chains]”. But businesses and many governments see it differently, arguing that regulation is unnecessary and perhaps even counter-productive. </p> <p>Whose voice will triumph? What is fair? And who or what should be responsible for guaranteeing that supply chains bring us the good without the bad of globalisation? These questions are of critical importance for decent work and social justice in the twenty-first century, and the ILO’s ILC is a key opportunity to begin addressing them.</p> <h2>Our coverage of ILC 2016 and beyond</h2> <p><em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em> will be reporting live from the ILC 2016, with comment, analysis and real-time reflection on what promises to be an important moment in the history of international labour relations. We’ll also continue to focus on supply chain governance right throughout the summer, since what happens in Geneva certainly won’t be the end of this conversation. </p> <p><strong><a style="font-size:110%;text-align:center;" class="pullquote-right" href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/bts-editorial-team/bts-explainer-what-is-international-labour-conference">BTS explainer: what is the International Labour Conference?</a></strong></p> <p>Our coverage will kick off today in tandem with the ILC. For the ILC’s first week, we’ll be giving readers a ‘primer’ on the key issues and debates. Articles from a renowned group of experts, activists, and policy-makers will think about what exactly decent work in supply chains means, how it can be guaranteed, what obstacles exist to it, and what the ILC may or may not achieve. We will feature case studies of corporate or governmental failings, profile the demands and desires of some of the key actors, and give voice to the workers who are so often silent at the bottom of the supply chain ladder. If this isn’t enough, readers can work through our <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/info/bts-short-course#2"><em>Short Course on Forced Labour in the Global Economy</em></a> for an accessible but academic take on all of the key questions. </p> <p>During the ILC’s second week, from Monday 6 to Friday 10 June, BTS will be on the ground in Geneva to cover events live from there. We’ll tweet from inside the ILO, talk to key actors involved in the ILC negotiations and discussions, and profile the social justice campaigners and workers rights activists camped outside. Our daily progress updates will give readers an on-the-ground idea of what is happening and where to go for more in-depth reading, while our video interviews and a number of further articles will highlight key stories, contributions from those involved, and why this is all important. </p> <p>The ILC meeting itself is of course no more than a start to this conversation. And in many ways, what happens after it will be far more important. So after the dust settles in Geneva, we’ll be preparing a wave of analysis and reflection that looks forward to the future. This will begin with a roundtable that includes a heterodox mixture of grassroots activists, global unions, major corporations, analysts of global supply chains and key government actors like the UK’s anti-slavery commissioner. Each participant will answer core questions about how we can ensure decent work in global supply chains and who is responsible for doing so.</p> <p>For the weeks that follow, we’ll commission reflection pieces from a number of interested observers. These will look at what the ILC meant and what its outcome means for the future. We’ll also have a full week of video testimony from voices that are often marginalised in the supply chain debate, and these will allow us to put human faces to the stories that are so often ignored.</p> <p>BTS’ coverage will continue beyond this right throughout the summer. One of the highlights will be a high-level debate that we’re convening on the future of decent work in supply chains. This debate will bring together a select group of major players from the international business and policy community and will put them in conversation with workers, activists and scholars. Will they agree on where we go? Or will supply chain workers be left none-the-better because the powers-that-be couldn’t agree on what to do? Join us for the coming months to find out!</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyond-slavery-themes/governing-global-supply-chains-bts-at-ilo"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/ILOarmband_280.jpg" width="100%" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/ilc/andreas-r-hmkorf/ilo-report-on-decent-work-in-global-supply-chains-much-ado-about-noth">The ILO report on ‘decent work in global supply chains’ - much ado about nothing?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/andreas-r%C3%BChmkorf/global-supply-chains-role-of-law-role-for-law">Global supply chains: the role of law? A role for law!</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/zuzanna-muskatgorka-jeroen-beirnaert/2014-ilo-protocol-new-standard-but-will-states-ma">The 2014 ILO protocol: a new standard, but will states make it real?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/rachel-wilshaw/what-would-loosen-roots-of-labour-exploitation-in-supply-chains">What would loosen the roots of labour exploitation in supply chains?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/ilc/bts-editorial-team/bts-explainer-what-is-international-labour-conference">BTS explainer: what is the International Labour Conference? </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Genevieve LeBaron Neil Howard Governing global supply chains? BTS at the ILO Mon, 30 May 2016 00:20:02 +0000 Neil Howard and Genevieve LeBaron 102536 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Follow the evidence: our series on 'research and representation' https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-joel-quirk/follow-evidence-launching-our-series-on-research-and-repr <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>BTS editors introduce the research methods stream of our ‘possible futures’ project, arguing that a stronger and more accurate knowledge base is necessary to advance advocacy efforts.</p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe width="469" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RqyW4Gxs0LU?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <div style="font-size:80%"><em>Excerpts from 'The Prospects and Perils of Quantification', held in October 2015 at the University of Sheffield.</em></div> <p>Over the last year, we at <em><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery">Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</a></em> (<em>BTS</em>) have published a string of critiques exposing the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ronald-weitzer/miscounting-human-trafficking-and-slavery">questionable research methods</a>, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/anne-gallagher/global-slavery-index-seduction-and-obfuscation">phony ‘statistics’</a>, and inaccurate analyses currently propping up misleading depictions of modern slavery, forced labour, and human trafficking. These articles have documented a widespread and fundamental problem: governments, activists, corporations and other actors routinely make claims and develop policies that, from a methodological and evidentiary standpoint, don’t stack up. In particular, the research and evidence base underpinning <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents/enacted">new national laws and policies</a> remains dangerously thin. </p> <p>News stories, NGO reports, and even academic papers too often simply recycle outdated, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joel-quirk-julia-o%27connell-davidson/introduction-moving-beyond-popular-representations#0">flawed facts and figures</a>—such as there being “<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19831913">27 million slaves</a> in the world today”—even though <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/04/24/why-you-should-be-wary-of-statistics-on-modern-slavery-and-trafficking/">fact-checks</a> routinely reveal these ‘facts’ to be false. <a href="http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/">The Global Slavery Index</a>, for example, continues to be cited as accurate despite the “<a href="http://www.cogitatiopress.com/ojs/index.php/socialinclusion/article/view/195">significant and critical weaknesses</a>” in its methodology and widespread concern about its <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/04/24/why-you-should-be-wary-of-statistics-on-modern-slavery-and-trafficking/">validity</a>. </p> <p>The ongoing use of this misinformation and bad data is frequently justified as being ‘better than nothing’. Specifically, apologists claim that bad data at least has the merit of raising public awareness. According to this argument, policymakers only want hard numbers while consumers need sensationalist stories to spur them into action. The awareness-raising potential of bad data is thus seen to <a href="http://dupress.com/articles/freedom-ecosystem-stop-modern-slavery/?icid=hp:ft:01">outweigh the dangers</a> pertaining to scientific inaccuracy.</p> <p>Yet scholarship suggests that this argument is spurious at best. For one thing, there is no evidence whatsoever that raising awareness around the ‘wrong’ data leads to the ‘right’ emancipatory outcomes. For another, as myriad <em>BTS</em> contributors have shown, the spread of inaccurate information has the potential to negatively impact and endanger the very people targeted for ‘saving’ by interventions, policies, and projects. For example, one <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/elena-shih/antitrafficking-rehabilitation-complex-commodity-activism-and-slavefree-goo">recent study</a> of ‘rescued’ sex workers found that the NGOs ‘liberating’ them subsequently subjected them to more exploitative labour relations than they had previously been experiencing. Organisations ranging from the <a href="http://www.un.org/ga/president/62/ThematicDebates/humantrafficking/N0240168.pdf">United Nations</a> to the <a href="http://www.gaatw.org/events-and-news/68-gaatw-news/817-regressive-policies-on-labour-and-migration-exacerbate-forced-labour-and-exploitation-international-rights-group-says">Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women</a> have been warning policymakers about these unintended consequences for over a decade. But little progress has been made.</p> <p>Our selective and limited knowledge about severe exploitation and unfree labour creates a fragmented evidence base. This, in turn, fuels partial, inaccurate, or irresponsible representations of these phenomena in the media and in policy. As Julia O’Connell Davidson and Joel Quirk <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joel-quirk-julia-o%27connell-davidson/introduction-moving-beyond-popular-representations#0">put it</a>, “Popular representations of trafficking and slavery have too often hurt—rather than helped—efforts to both understand and combat global exploitation, discrimination, and vulnerability.” Representations of ‘victims’ need to be accurate and the people concerned need to be empowered to represent <em>themselves</em>, because how we represent people conditions how we think about them, see them, and engage them. Representation <em>is</em> power, and it is structured by gender, race, age, nationality, and class. All of this needs taking into account, especially if we are to stop the vigilante abolitionists from attempting to ‘liberate’ people who don’t want to be saved or do not want to be saved in those ways. </p> <h2>The need for better research and representation</h2> <p>Three interlocking problems must be placed front and centre throughout the forthcoming conversation. First, there is a serious shortage of independent, rigorous, and ethically conducted research on trafficking, forced labour, and the practices associated with ‘modern slavery’. Second, there is a tendency among opinion shapers to prefer dubious statistics and inaccurate information over openly acknowledging and addressing existing knowledge gaps. Third, when data is generated that contradicts <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joel-quirk-julia-o%27connell-davidson/introduction-moving-beyond-popular-representations#0">dominant popular representations</a>—particularly those mobilised by advocacy organisations or governments—it tends to be discarded from the evidence base. Individuals and organisations genuinely committed to eradicating contemporary trafficking, forced labour, and slavery must confront these three problems head-on.&nbsp; </p> <p>Launched today as part of <em>BTS</em> ‘possible futures’ project, this new series on research and representations will provide a public forum for discussion, debate, and practical advice on how to take things forward. Our authors will consider how to strengthen the evidence base on contemporary exploitation and unfree labour, as well as how to surmount institutional reluctance to dissenting ideas in order to successfully impact policy.</p> <p>Key questions will include: How can we conduct reliable research on the exploitation and injustice understood as trafficking, slavery, or forced labour? How can we better enter the shadows of the illegal economy, or circumvent the barriers that powerful corporations or states place our way—especially within supply chains—to carry out this research? How can we collect evidence and conduct research that is ethical, ensuring that our work does no harm? How can we generate research that avoids the tropes and traps of the ‘<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/the-white-savior-industrial-complex/254843/">white savoir industrial complex’</a>? What cutting edge methods can be used to overcome the core challenges of forced labour research—namely that is it ethically complex, expensive, politically sensitive, and practically challenging to carry out? Last but certainly not least, how can we trace problematic practices back to the rich and powerful actors creating the conditions for vulnerability in the first place, and hold them to account? </p> <p>In addition to advancing strategies towards innovative research on the causes, consequences, and experiences of exploitation and domination, the series will also offer some practical guidelines for NGOs, activists, journalists and others who represent exploitation and the exploited in the media.</p> <p>The problems documented above will only be overcome through a combination of political will, radical and creative thinking, and the investment of substantial resources. We invite you to help us mobilise this energy and thinking by engaging with our series over the coming months. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/ashley-greve-oliver-kaplan/can-snowball-sampling-estimate-human-trafficking">Can snowball sampling estimate human trafficking?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/neil-howard/why-and-how-we-need-to-talk-to-victims">Why (and how!) we need to talk to ‘the victims’</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Joel Quirk Genevieve LeBaron Research and representation Thu, 03 Dec 2015 09:41:06 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron and Joel Quirk 98132 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Inequality and insecurity in UK households https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/genevieve-lebaron-johnna-montgomerie-daniela-tepebelfrage/inequality-and-insecurity-in-uk <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Measurements of, and debates about, economic recovery in the UK have tended to overlook deepening inequality along the lines of class, gender, race, ability, age and sexuality.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This is the first in a series of ten articles on the theme of rethinking recovery.</em></p><p><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/553846/uk-poverty.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/553846/uk-poverty.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="280" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><br /></em></p><p>Whether the UK has ‘achieved’ recovery or not depends on whom you ask, how you phrase the question, and what is at stake for them in providing a particular answer. To say that the very nature of recovery is contested is a rather large understatement. For some, recovery has been achieved because the growth rate of GDP has <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/gdp-growth">been restored</a>, although even here less <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a3e91ddc-e26f-11e3-a829-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3agsew5wa">sanguine commentators</a> have pointed out that growth still relies heavily on debt-driven consumer spending, house price inflation and <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10989500/IMF-fears-ultra-low-rates-are-fuelling-asset-bubbles.html">asset bubbles</a>. </p><p>For others, a continued dependence on finance-led growth is not recovery because there has not been a <a href="speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/SPERI-Paper-No.7-Are-We-There-Yet-PDF-747KB.pdf">rebalancing of the UK economy</a> away from its dependence on finance and services toward manufacturing, nor a revitalisation of sectors of the economy dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises. Indeed, the sheer variety of perspectives and variables used to measure recovery highlights the difficulty of discerning whether the UK is moving out of – or into – a prolonged stagnation.</p><p>Largely ignored even by such critical accounts is the reality that political and economic policies associated with ‘recovery’ in the UK have deepened inequality and exclusion along the overlapping lines of class, gender, race, ability, age and sexuality. Sweeping <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/10/iain-duncan-smith-conservative-cabinet-david-cameron-welfare-cuts">welfare reforms</a>, for instance, are disproportionately targeting women and low-income couples with children, with particularly dire consequences for single mothers. The newly imposed ‘<a href="http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/housing-benefit-size-criteria-impacts-social-sector-tenants?gclid=COyDkZXR0MUCFbCWtAod8nsASg">bedroom tax</a>’ – which has reduced housing benefits for thousands of tenants, while requiring many thousands more to transfer to smaller homes – has had especially devastating consequences for disabled tenants, who have lost homes adapted to support their disability. &nbsp;</p><p>One key reason that these social, financial, and emotional costs of recovery remain hidden is that the typically narrow focus on national level of debts, deficits, taxes and expenditure tends to overlook changes at the micro-level of the household and daily life. It is here that the human costs and broader social challenges of recovery become apparent. For many, rising hunger forces individuals and families to choose between <a href="speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2013/12/16/hungry-change-food-insecurity-wake-crisis/">heating and eating</a>; employment has become so <a href="speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/tag/zero-hours-contracts/">precarious and poorly paid</a> that even those with jobs are struggling to pay bills; and still others are trapped in abusive forced labour relations, which have become <a href="http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-business-models-supply">endemic in certain UK industries</a>. </p><p>In short, the UK’s economic ‘recovery’ has come at a high social, emotional and financial cost for those who can least afford it, while leaving the wealthy to stockpile <a href="http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/about-inequality/scale-and-trends/scale-economic-inequality-uk">ever-larger sums</a> of cash. We can expect these tendencies to become even more pronounced under the deepening austerity agenda of the new Conservative government, unless a counter-narrative can elucidate the true human costs of this growth model and inspire action towards an alternative.</p><p>We believe that an important starting point in developing a coherent critique of austerity lies in documenting and analysing the growing insecurity and inequality spurred by policies designed to achieve economic recovery. This series of posts will contribute to this urgent task. Grounded in an analysis of recovery’s hidden costs at the level of everyday life, it will hone in on the profound shifts that austerity is sparking in UK households and in the UK labour market. It is linked to, and supported by, an Economic and Social Research Council seminar series grant, ‘’From REcovery to DIScovery: Opening the debate on alternatives to financialisation’.</p><p>The first half of the series – launched today, and proceeding via four weekly instalments to be published over the next month or so – draws together posts investigating the impact of austerity on households, including pieces on the gendered impact of universal credit, intergenerational inequality, and how the companies in the ‘recovery industry’ are profiting from deepening poverty and inequality.<br />The second half of the series will resume in June 2016, again with five weekly instalments, and will tackle the impact of recovery policies on the UK labour market, including posts on forced labour, the impact of recovery policy on wages and working conditions, and deepening gendered and racial inequality within paid and unpaid labour. </p><p>The overall aim of the series is to move the political project of economic re-imaginations forward by capturing and analysing everyday consequences of austerity, exposing differentiated experiences of it, and drawing attention to the driving forces of these hidden costs in national and global economic and political policies and logics. The series will enable us not only to understand the scale of developing economic and policy contradictions but also the crisis dynamics themselves and the social and political struggle over the direction of recovery. </p><p>Finally, we hope that the series of posts will begin to chart new ways of thinking and even develop some new mid-level policies that move us beyond the failures of austerity.&nbsp; These will include policies that address corporate and labour market governance, as well as wealth redistribution, and will seek to stimulate UK prosperity in a more equitable way. <br /><br /><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/comment/">SPERI Comment</a>, the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute blog.</em></p> uk uk Austerity and Recovery Daniela Tepe-Belfrage Johnna Montgomerie Genevieve LeBaron Tue, 02 Jun 2015 23:00:01 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron, Johnna Montgomerie and Daniela Tepe-Belfrage 93251 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Slaves of the state: American prison labour past and present https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/slaves-of-state-american-prison-labour-past-and-present <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>We know that corporations are drawn to prisoners because they constitute a source of cheap and reliable labour. But what makes prison labour so attractive to governments?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/555228/754954.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/555228/754954.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Inmates on a chain gang in Arizona in 2011. Eduardo Barraza/Demotix. All Rights Reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Prisoners in the United States produce a vast array of products bought and sold in supermarkets. They roast <a href="http://catalog.pia.ca.gov/store.php?t=1427670033">coffee beans</a>, farm trout and catfish, milk cows and goats for artisanal cheeses sold at <a href="http://fortune.com/2014/06/02/prison-labor-artisanal/">Whole Foods</a>, and pick and process <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204774604576630972860034248">Idaho potatoes</a> and other <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/05/17/the-law-of-unintended-consequences-georgias-immigration-law-backfires/">fruits and vegetables</a>. Corporations both large and small have called upon prisoners to make clothes, shoes, and other department store goods, such as <a href="http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-06-14/news/bs-md-flag-day-prisons-20110610_1_sewing-machines-flags-state-buildings">American flags</a> or <a href="http://www.prisonblues.net/">Prison Blues jeans</a>.</p> <p>The US prison system is characterised by staggering <a href="http://prospect.org/article/new-jim-crow-0">racial and class-based disparities</a>. For instance, in 2008, the US Bureau of Justice reported that <a href="http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p07.pdf">one in three black men</a> would go to prison in his lifetime. Of the <a href="http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&amp;iid=5177">one in 35 adults</a> in America currently under correctional control, most are from <a href="http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Lockdown_America.html?id=a46BJOHmq_gC">poor and working class backgrounds</a>. Reflecting on the fact that most prisoners are arrested for poverty-related crimes like theft or selling drugs, while prison time perpetuates their poverty, Harvard sociologist Bruce Western has called US prisons ‘<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/science/long-prison-terms-eyed-as-contributing-to-poverty.html?pagewanted=all">the new poverty trap</a>.’ </p> <p>Prisoners’ meagre wages do little to free them from this trap. They are paid <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119083/prison-labor-equal-rights-wages-incarcerated-help-economy">dramatically less</a> than market rates would dictate for their labour. The state of California, which has put <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/07/31/336309329/thousands-of-inmates-serve-time-fighting-the-wests-forest-fires">inmates to work as fire fighters</a>, reportedly pays them <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/07/31/336309329/thousands-of-inmates-serve-time-fighting-the-wests-forest-fires">$2 a day</a> compared to a non-inmate fire fighter’s typical hourly wage of <a href="http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes332011.htm">$34.44</a>. Wages vary across different ‘employment’ scenarios, but the majority of employed prisoners are paid between <a href="http://www.bop.gov/inmates/custody_and_care/work_programs.jsp?">US$0.12 to $0.40 per hour</a>. Prisoners have often been subjected to dangerous working conditions, such as being <a href="http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/BOP/o1010.pdf">exposed to cadmium and lead</a> while recycling electronics. </p> <p>Pointing to racial, class and income disparities, many critics have described prison labour as a form of ‘<a href="http://www.alternet.org/story/151732/21st-century_slaves%3A_how_corporations_exploit_prison_labor">modern day slavery</a>.’ <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/prison-labor_n_2272036.html">Article</a> after <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2008/07/what-do-prisoners-make-victorias-secret">article</a> depicts the problem as one in which corporations are exploiting prisoners as part of their “<a href="http://www.alternet.org/story/151732/21st-century_slaves%3A_how_corporations_exploit_prison_labor">eternal quest to maximize profit</a>.” It’s no doubt true that some prison labour is pursued as a cost-cutting strategy for firms. But framing prison labour as an interchangeable form of corporate exploitation has obscured its wider and more complex role in US capitalism—both historically and today. In some ways, the more interesting question is: what makes prison labour so attractive to governments?</p> <h2>Prison labours past</h2> <p>Prison labour is not a modern phenomenon. A vast body of research has demonstrated that there have been at least three major waves of for-profit prison labour in the history of US capitalism. </p> <p>The earliest wave occurred across Northern states in the early to mid nineteenth century, where the rise of factory work and urbanisation was resulting in labour scarcities and worker rebellions. Prisoners were put to work in large-scale industrial factories to fulfil capitalists’ need for a productive and disciplined labour force. Prison factories during this period were penal-social laboratories. ‘<a href="http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Prison_Labor_and_Convict_Competition_Wit.html?id=LabaAAAAMAAJ&amp;redir_esc=y">The whip made men living machines</a>’, while managers experimented with different divisions of labour and violent methods of discipline. As historian <a href="http://history.berkeley.edu/people/rebecca-m-mclennan">Rebecca McLennan</a> has <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gnjwVU3qGu4C&amp;pg=PA3&amp;dq=penal-social+laboratories&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=LSsdVceBMIbnaK77goAM&amp;ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&amp;q=penal-social%20laboratories&amp;f=false">argued</a>, these prison factories played an important role in quelling widespread resistance to the new industrial social order by habituating them into the disciplines of waged labour.</p> <p>The second and overlapping wave of prison labour—the convict lease system—emerged in the Southern states in the wake of the formal abolition of plantation slavery in 1865. American states leased large blocks of prisoners to private companies, which forced prisoners to pick cotton, mine coal, and lay railroads. Far from being a mere substitute for slavery, historians like <a href="http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/history/faculty/oshinsky">David Oshinsky</a> have argued that this system of unfree labour was ‘<a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Worse-Than-Slavery-Parchman-Justice/dp/0684830957">worse than slavery</a>’: it was a brutal strategy to re-appropriate the labour of former slaves and their children. With convict <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Wheel-Servitude-Forced-Slavery/dp/0813154146">death rates of over 40%</a> in some states, prison labour powerfully and publicly reinforced a racially polarised social order. </p> <p>Both of these systems of prison labour were enormously profitable. According to <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Crisis-Imprisonment-1776-1941-Historical/dp/0521537835">one study</a>, in 1865-66, ‘American prisoners made goods or performed work worth almost $29 million—a sum equivalent, as a relative share of Gross Domestic Product, to over <em>$30 billion</em> in 2005 dollars.’ </p> <p>The role of prison labour in US capitalism has never been just about corporate profits. The key architect and beneficiary of these prison labour systems have always been states. Prison labour has helped generate the power and revenue necessary to impose a social order ruled by money and markets. At the same time, the prison system upholds the market order imposed by governments, incarcerating those who resist or cannot find a livelihood within it. High numbers of prisoners have been incarcerated for property crime, theft, or other attempts to create a livelihood outside of low-paid, precarious labour markets. Viewed in this light, prison labour has historically played an essential disciplinary role, both for individual prisoners and for capitalist expansion more broadly. It also helped to uphold racialised and class-based social orders on which economic ‘growth’ was predicated in both the North and the South, until it was outlawed (until 1979) during the Great Depression.</p> <h2>Prison labour today</h2> <p>The third wave of US prison labour—our contemporary system— needs to be understood in this historical light. Today’s prison labour is not simply a ‘substitute for’ plantation slavery or an interchangeable ‘form’ of slavery. To suggest otherwise obscures the central role of governments in perpetuating and profiting from prison labour. While there are some obvious parallels between different systems of exploitation and domination, simplistic analogies blur complex entanglements between slavery, prison labour, and other systems of unfree labour. </p> <p>In comparison to the two previous waves, a relatively small number of contemporary prisoners exclusively work for private businesses. A wave of legislation—beginning with the Prison Industry Enhancement Act in 1979—re-authorised profitable prison labour and mandated that prisoners work during their incarceration. Today, most of the <a href="http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpus13.pdf">2,220,300 prisoners</a> in the US work directly for the state to maintain the prisons in which they are confined. Roughly <a href="https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/bankingonbondage_20111102.pdf">6% of state prisoners and 16% of federal prisoners</a> are incarcerated by and work for private companies. </p> <p>Some prisoners work for Federal Prison Industries, a government-owned corporation also known as <a href="http://www.unicor.gov/Shopping/viewCat_m.asp?iStore=UNI">UNICOR</a>, which <a href="http://www.unicor.gov/information/publications/pdfs/corporate/2014%20FPI%20Annual%20Management%20Report_C.pdf">reported</a> in 2014 to employ 12,468 inmates across 78 prison factories. UNICOR recycles <a href="http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/BOP/o1010.pdf">toxic e-waste</a>, manufactures goods from the <a href="http://www.unicor.gov/information/publications/pdfs/industrial/CATMI1800_C.pdf">postal containers used by US Postal Service</a> to <a href="http://www.unicor.gov/Shopping/ViewCat_m.asp?idCategory=1453&amp;iStore=UNI">ballistic military gear</a>, and runs <a href="http://www.unicor.gov/shopping/viewcat_m.asp?iStore=UNI&amp;idCategory=1429">call centers</a> for private firms. UNICOR’s total sales <a href="http://www.unicor.gov/information/publications/pdfs/corporate/FY14_Sales_Report_all_sections_c.pdf">surpassed US$389 million in 2014.</a></p> <p>Still more inmates work for booming, state-level prison industries. Prisoners in states like <a href="http://pia.ca.gov/default.aspx">California</a> and <a href="https://www.coloradoci.com/">Colorado</a> work at everything from <a href="http://catalog.pia.ca.gov/store.php?t=1427985303">farming and roasting almonds</a> to making the <a href="http://catalog.pia.ca.gov/store.php?t=1427985303">diploma covers</a> that college graduates buy in their University gift shops. Some build <a href="https://www.coloradoci.com/manufacturers/tag/index.html?intro">custom motorcycles</a> that retail at over US$30,000. In spite of bans on the sale of prison made goods in international law, such as the International Labour Organization’s <a href="http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C029">1930 Forced Labour Convention</a>, such goods are sold commercially across the United States, including in state-run <a href="https://www.aci.az.gov/retail-outlet-store/">retail outlet stores</a>. </p> <p>Although these prison industries are owned and operated by state governments, private businesses sometimes partner with the state through ‘<a href="http://jointventureprogram.ca.gov/Program-Models/">joint venture programs</a>’. In many states, prisoners are leased or contracted directly to private firms. For example, Arizona Correctional Industries claims to have ‘<a href="https://www.aci.az.gov/labor-contracts/">provided over 2 million hours of labour to private sector companies</a>’ since the year 2000. Its partners have included Cargill, Hickman’s Family Farms, and ESB Modular Manufacturing. Although these programmes appear to be expanding, it is important to emphasise that only about <a href="https://www.law.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/child-page/266901/doc/slspublic/JLipez_05.pdf">6% of state inmates</a> are estimated to work for private firms. Even in these schemes, the state benefits through revenue exchanged for prisoners’ labour. </p> <p>The cost-savings and direct revenues accruing to federal and state governments through prison labour are substantial, offsetting the massive cost of incarcerating so many Americans. In addition, prison labour has become a key source of revenue for states coping with fiscal crisis. One notable example is the state of California, which faced prolonged and dramatic budget crisis between 2008 and 2012. In response the state has increasingly turned to prisons for skilled labour, replacing unionised and well-paid government employees with low-paid prisoners. California’s inmate fire fighter program reportedly saves the state <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/amandachicagolewis/the-prisoners-fighting-californias-wildfires#.rogpJXLzq">$1 billion a year</a>. </p> <h2>Slaves of the State</h2> <p>Just as in past, prison labour today is about far more than money. Prison continues to play a central role in anchoring the increasingly unequal and highly racialised social order that characterises contemporary US society. The majority of prisoners continue to be predominantly working class people of colour who have been incarcerated for minor offenses, such as theft, selling drugs, or property related crimes. If imprisonment is, as Loic Wacquant has described it, ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/lo%C3%AFc-wacquant/punitive-regulation-of-poverty-in-neoliberal-age">the punitive regulation of poverty</a>,’ then prison labour is one of the most corporeal forms of neoliberal discipline in existence today. It draws in the unemployed, disenfranchised, and discriminated against, trapping them into disciplines of precarious waged labour.</p> <p>In keeping with historical precedents, the key architects and beneficiaries of prison labour remain federal and state governments. It has long been clear who retains the ultimate ownership of prisoners’ labour, with the Virginia Supreme Court declaring in 1871 that prisoners were ‘<a href="http://www.prisonpolicy.org/prisonindex/prisonlabor.html">slaves of the state</a>.’ This premise hasn’t fundamentally changed since. Attempts to attribute all blame to profit-driven corporations wrongly absolve governments of their primary responsibility in the exploitation of prison labour.</p> <blockquote> <p>This article is a condensed version of a book chapter forthcoming in an issue of the Proceedings of the British Academy edited by Laura Brace and Julia O’Connell Davidson. </p> </blockquote><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alex-lichtenstein/using-us-prison-labour-to-make-crime-pay">Using US prison labour to make crime pay</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/james-brewer-stewart/%E2%80%98new-abolitionists%E2%80%99-and-problem-of-race">The ‘new abolitionists’ and the problem of race</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/joel-quirk-genevieve-lebaron/use-and-abuse-of-history-slavery-and-its-contemporary-leg">The use and abuse of history: slavery and its contemporary legacies</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Genevieve LeBaron On history Thu, 23 Apr 2015 04:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron 92192 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The use and abuse of history: slavery and its contemporary legacies https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joel-quirk-genevieve-lebaron/use-and-abuse-of-history-slavery-and-its-contemporary-leg <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery editors introduce their issue 'On History', which challenges the superficial narratives of anti-slavery used by 'modern-day abolitionists' and considers the lessons found in alternative historical approaches.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/555228/DAN_2389310b.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/555228/DAN_2389310b.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="288" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s (2012) ‘Lincoln’. Fair use.</span></span></span></p><p>Campaigners and governments leading the fight to end ‘modern-day slavery’ regularly appeal to the history of anti-slavery to help justify their current activities and agendas. These appeals to history typically involve one or more of the following: 1) a <a href="http://www.historiansagainstslavery.org/main/2015/02/uncomfortable-silences-anti-slavery-colonialism-and-imperialism/">selective focus</a> upon mostly white anti-slavery campaigners in Britain and the United States; 2) a largely <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/vanessa-pupavac/residual-causes-wilberforce-and-forced-labour">uncritical celebration</a> of the virtues of ‘great emancipators’, such as William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln, whose personal examples are invoked as models to emulate; and 3) a recurring emphasis on <a href="http://newint.org/features/special/2007/03/01/anti-slavery/">innovative strategies used by ordinary citizens</a>—petitions, boycotts, pamphlets—whose impact is held to have been politically decisive in securing ‘freedom’ for enslaved Africans. </p> <p>Anti-slavery campaigners are therefore chiefly regarded as “heroes [who] won great battles”, to quote <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0309/feature1/online_extra.html">Kevin Bales</a>, and their inspirational historical example is put forward as a model that we should follow today. In a high profile speech in 2012, US President Obama <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/25/remarks-president-clinton-global-initiative">declared that</a> “Our fight against human trafficking is one of the greatest human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it—in partnership with you.&nbsp; The change we seek will not come easy, but we can draw strength from the movements of the past.” If pioneers such as Wilberforce and Lincoln were able to end legal slavery, then what stops a new band of college students, churches, activists and public officials from ‘liberating slaves’ today? </p> <p>This superficial approach to history is flawed. It sings songs of praise for past anti-slavery efforts, yet does not seriously engage with the history of slavery or its legacies. Centuries of severe and systematic exploitation and abuse have too often been reduced to an abbreviated form of ‘pre-history’, whose main narrative function is to set the stage for the ‘moral triumph’ of abolition. As a number of our contributors demonstrate in more depth, millions of enslaved Africans played a fundamental role in both building the Americas and enriching Europe, while external demand for slaves drew parts of Africa into a political economy of violent enslavement.</p> <p>Prior to the early nineteenth century, forced migration from Africa to the Americas greatly outpaced migration from Europe. Enslaved labour not only constituted a key source of wealth and power, it also proved to be a core economic motor for the development of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/books/review/the-half-has-never-been-told-by-edward-e-baptist.html">modern capitalism</a>. To protect and maintain this system, slave owners and their allies developed elaborate institutions to both regulate and reinforce their property rights, including new forms of banking, contract, insurance and policing. They also devised self-serving racist theories to justify their privileges. This toxic combination of racism and economic interest created a system of slavery chiefly defined by extraordinary levels of physical abuse, psychological torment, and sexual violence. </p> <p>Enslaved Africans both resisted and endured these inhuman conditions. Resistance could take many different forms, with some of the most notable examples including shipboard uprisings crossing the Atlantic and numerous cases of flight and revolt upon arrival in the Americas. Slaves who escaped joined Maroon communities outside European control, such as <a href="http://blackwomenofbrazil.co/2014/08/18/zumbi-dos-palmares-an-african-warrior-in-brazil-the-legend-of-the-nations-greatest-black-leader-continues-to-be-a-topic-of-debate-and-legend/">Palmares</a> in the seventeenth century, or travelled long distances to settle in ‘free’ communities such as <a href="http://www.afroammuseum.org/boston_campus.htm">Boston</a> and <a href="http://www.buxtonmuseum.com/">Buxton</a> in the nineteenth. Families and communities also emerged under the shadow of slavery. Slaves found ways to establish personal bonds, however fragile, and contributed to the evolution of distinctive forms of language, food, music, religion and culture. </p> <p>Historical patterns of resistance were fundamental to the anti-slavery cause, yet too many ‘<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joel-quirk/rhetoric-and-reality-of-%E2%80%98ending-slavery-in-our-lifetime%E2%80%99">modern-day abolitionists’</a> continue to imagine slaves as passive victims who benefitted from activism conducted by others on their behalf. This overlooks the crucial role of slaves and ex-slaves in challenging historical slave systems. This most famous example is the successful revolt of 1791 that paved the way for the foundation of the <a href="http://isreview.org/issue/63/black-jacobins">Black Republic of Haiti</a> in 1804. Black generals such as Toussaint L'Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines won a series of decisive victories against English, French and Spanish armies, and thereby created an inescapable challenge to racist ideologies that held that blacks were inherently inferior to whites.</p> <p>When states in Latin America broke away from Spain during the early nineteenth century, <a href="http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=31743">slaves fought for their freedom</a> in wars of independence. Decades later, as many as 100,000 slaves and ex-slaves fought against the Confederacy during the Civil War in the United States. According to a new body of research by historians such as <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/On-History-A-Rebellious-Take/47497/">Steven Hahn</a>, the enlistment of slaves in the Union army can be best understood as part of a <a href="http://southernspaces.org/2004/greatest-slave-rebellion-modern-history-southern-slaves-american-civil-war">much larger slave rebellion</a>, which saw slaves in the southern United States massively undermine slavery through their own efforts. &nbsp;</p> <p>Neither the legal abolition of slavery nor the official end of hostilities <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/opinion/sunday/the-dangerous-myth-of-appomattox.html?_r=0">brought resistance to an end</a>. Whenever slavery was abolished, former slave owners and entrenched elites made every effort to defend their privileges, thereby forcing former slaves to <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/the-civil-war-isnt-over/389847/">continue their struggle for rights and recognition</a>. In the decades that followed legal abolition, former slave owners turned to other similar systems of labour exploitation, such as indentured, forced and convict labour. They also concocted new systems of racial dominance, such as the ‘separate yet equal’ duplicity of the <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_events.html">Jim Crow era</a>, which was in turn policed by the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/opinion/lynching-as-racial-terrorism.html">horrors of lynching</a>.</p> <p>Extreme violence was often justified as ‘protecting’ white feminine virtue from the ‘uncontrollable’ sexual savagery of black men, while female black domestic workers continued to labour in white households under conditions often reminiscent of slavery. When Britain and France abolished slavery in 1834 and 1848, respectively, both governments <a href="https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/project/context/">financially compensated masters</a> for the loss of their property. &nbsp;In no case did slaves receive compensation for their years of toil and abuse. These and other related developments ultimately contributed to global patterns of wealth, poverty, inequality and discrimination that remain with us to this day. </p> <h2>Introducing our Contributors</h2> <p>Over the next three weeks we will publish a series of articles that explore these and other related historical themes in greater depth. All of these articles were specifically commissioned to explore issues and developments that have been overlooked or marginalised in the rush to celebrate the virtues of ‘great emancipators’. As we shall see, there is a great deal that the global history of slavery and anti-slavery can potentially teach us about how our world is organised today, while also suggesting possible futures and political projects that could—and should—emerge in relation to combating contemporary injustice, discrimination and exploitation.</p> <p>It should become apparent, moreover, that the global history of slavery and anti-slavery is much more than a useful source of instruction and inspiration regarding how we should act today. This history also speaks directly to the too often neglected question of <a href="http://www.historiansagainstslavery.org/main/2015/02/uncomfortable-silences-anti-slavery-colonialism-and-imperialism/">how we should <em>not </em>act</a>. Whenever the legal abolition of slavery is reduced to the ‘moral triumph’ of ‘heroic’ campaigners, little space remains for more challenging questions and political consequential questions regarding the practical limitations of what was accomplished, what happened next, and what other factors and actors were also in play. </p> <p>We begin with a series of articles focusing upon government responsibility. Every government in the world today is officially committed to the anti-slavery cause, yet this rhetoric conflicts with official support for legal regimes and policy responses that promote forms of systemic abuse, vulnerability, discrimination and exploitation. This is not a new phenomenon, as histories of the Communist gulag, Nazi work camps and colonial forced labour regimes have helped make clear. In our lead article published today, Jim Stewart explores how US government officials were not only directly responsible for upholding legal slavery and slave trading, they also occupied a similar role in the aftermath of legal abolition in 1865, with both federal and state level officials playing a decisive role in defending ‘slavery by another name’. Stewart argues that this history has far-reaching ramifications for the present, but it has been largely overlooked owing to the failure of ‘modern-day abolitionists’ to grapple with slavery and race. </p> <p>Our first week on government responsibility also features contributions from Alex Lichtenstein, Genevieve LeBaron, Laya Behbahani, Benedetta Rossi and Sara Farris. Both Lichtenstein and LeBaron concentrate upon the historical roots and contemporary dimensions of the US ‘<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/prison-industrial-complex/">prison industrial complex’</a>. Each author offers a different yet complimentary analysis of the underlying interests of governments and their private sector allies in perpetuating and profiting from prison labour. Behbahani considers the historical origin and more recent evolution of the <em>kafala</em> system, which is the current foundation for the state-sponsored exploitation of millions of migrant labourers across most of the Arabian Peninsula. This is followed by an original contribution by Rossi, who connects the failure of historical anti-slavery measures in Africa to confront entrenched models of marriage, gender and kinship with more recent patterns of wartime captivity and sexual violence. We wrap up our first week with Farris, who reconstructs the frequently overlooked history of care and domestic work as an integral feature of state-sponsored capitalism during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. </p> <p>Our second week focuses upon patterns of historical and contemporary political activism and intervention. We begin with two complimentary pieces from Jessica Pliley and Gretchen Soderlund, who consider different aspects of the history of anti-trafficking campaigns in the United States. As a now extensive body of research has demonstrated, the key historical precursor to modern anti-trafficking was not anti-slavery, but the political campaigns against ‘white slavery’ and the patriarchal policing of prostitution. Pliley connects ‘white slavery’ interventions to concerns about national security and immigration. She demonstrates that gendered assumptions about potential prostitutes were a central feature of a massive government effort to regulate female mobility and sexuality. ‘White slavery’ was therefore crucial to the growth of the FBI and other security agencies. Soderlund, in turn, focuses upon the ‘continual feedback loop’ that binds together sensational media reports and political activism in the 1880s to similar reports that have been key to anti-trafficking activism from the 1990s onwards. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>This second week on political activism also features additional contributions from Andrea Major, Nelly Schmidt, Joel Quirk and Alice Bellagamba. Major and Schmidt both focus on the practical limitations and political complications that marked the history of British and French anti-slavery activism. Major’s contribution demonstrates the limitations of a celebrated boycott of ‘slave sugar’ by British abolitionists during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, along with the practical problems associated with ‘ethical’ sugar produced in India. Schmidt’s piece—published simultaneously in English and French—explores the problematic attitudes and political agendas that defined the historical worldview of nineteenth century French abolitionists, together with recent forms of memory and forgetting. We end the week with pieces from Quirk and Bellagamba. Quirk compares the political and ideological appeal of ‘modern-day slavery’ to recent campaigns for reparations, while Bellagamba examines the contemporary legacies of historical slave systems in southern Senegal. She pays particular attention to the ways in which boundaries of community amongst slave descendants have been constructed.</p><p> Our final week focuses upon the contemporary legacies of historical slave systems. The primary concern is the politics of representation, recognition and reparations. We begin with two pieces from Ana Lucia Araujo and Ali Moussa Iye. Araujo’s contribution asks how and why recent efforts to commemorate the past continue to intersect with the enduring legacies of slavery in countries such as the United States and Brazil. Another valuable perspective on this overall topic comes from Iye, who documents the numerous ways in which the UNESCO Slave Route Project—established in Benin in 1994—has sought to address the global history and legacies of slavery. These authors are followed by pieces from Taiwo Adetunji Osinubi, who explores how African writers have represented the history of slavery and abolition, and María Elisa Velázquez, who considers the continuing challenges that peoples of African descent face in Latin America today. Our final piece comes from Claudine Boothe and Nathaniel Adam Tobias&nbsp;Coleman, who discuss the politics and history of various calls and campaigns to repair the wrongs of the past.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/james-brewer-stewart/%E2%80%98new-abolitionists%E2%80%99-and-problem-of-race">The ‘new abolitionists’ and the problem of race</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Genevieve LeBaron Joel Quirk On history Tue, 21 Apr 2015 04:00:00 +0000 Joel Quirk and Genevieve LeBaron 92105 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Forced labour is big business: states and corporations are doing little to stop it https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard/forced-labour-is-big-business-states-and-corporations-ar <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The recent flurry of government, corporate, and NGO initiatives to eradicate slavery does little to tackle underlying causes. Until this changes, severe exploitation will thrive in the global economy.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Forced labour is often described as an isolated crime perpetuated by ‘<a href="https://www.apple.com/uk/supplier-responsibility/labor-and-human-rights/">unscrupulous</a>’ employers. But it is more systemic than many governments, businesses, and anti-slavery organisations want to believe.</p><p>While unethical labour recruiters and bad apple employers certainly do not help, the much bigger, structural problem is the unfair global economic system in which they operate. To genuinely understand why forced labor is thriving today, we need to understand how the <em>system</em> works, and the role that businesses and states play in fostering an economic and political context in which individuals can exploit with impunity. </p><p>We can begin to understand forced labour’s role in this system by thinking in terms of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/nov/20/forced-labour-in-supply-chains">supply and demand</a>. In the age of neoliberal globalisation, certain types of businesses ‘need’ forced labour to safeguard their profits or their market share. For this reason, as Andrew Crane explains, some businesses ‘<a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2070311">attempt to underprice a key resource (labor) through illegitimate means</a>.’ At the same time, large swathes of the poor ‘need’ awful jobs to safeguard their survival, and they frequently find their exit from those jobs blocked (creating a common scenario of forced labour). The former expresses the demand, while the latter <em>are</em> the supply. </p><p>Precise business dynamics vary by industry. In <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ben-richardson/still-slaving-over-sugar">sugar</a>, for instance, cane producers use bonded labour or excessive overtime to maintain the crop’s <a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/08/sugar-mills-idUKL6N0S31SU20141008">low market price</a>. While in electronics manufacturing—where studies show <a href="http://www.verite.org/research/electronicsmalaysia">high proportions of workers</a> are subject to some form of forced labour—factories turn to debt-bonded migrant workers hired through <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/kendra-strauss/role-of-labour-market-intermediaries-in-driving-forced-and-unfree-labou">&nbsp;intermediaries</a> to meet customer orders.</p><p>Yet similarities exist <em>across</em> different commodities and supply chains. Evidence from a range of contexts suggests that lead firms across a broad range of industries tacitly rely on forced labour to make their products, despite supplier codes of conduct or CSR claims to the contrary. </p><p>Paying suppliers <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/jul/02/british-farmers-supermarket-price-wars">fiercely low prices</a>, demanding goods too <a href="http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/07/16/efforts-to-clean-up-fast-fashion-supply-chains-face-a-tough-road">quickly</a> or on short notice, and chronically <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/05/tesco-faces-investigation-over-how-it-pays-suppliers">delaying payments</a> all foster reliance on exploited labour, including unprotected agency workers, as well as forced, bonded, or child labour. This is particularly acute at <a href="http://www.sedexglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Sedex-Transparency-Briefing-Nov-2013.pdf">lower tiers of the supply chain</a> and <a href="http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-business-models-supply">along the labour supply chain</a>, where enforcement of labor standards is especially minimal. </p><p>In short, while global supply chains produce unprecedented profits—increasingly concentrated at the very top—they do so at a serious cost to workers. This is why <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/benjamin-selwyn/harsh-labour-bedrock-of-global-capitalism">Benjamin Selwyn</a> claims that supply chains should be viewed “not as benign spheres of opportunity, but as tools for increasing the exploitation of labour.”</p><p>Why are so many people ‘available’ to be exploited in this fashion? A crucial part of the answer lies in the <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/a-brief-history-of-neoliberalism-9780199283279?cc=gb&amp;lang=en&amp;">neoliberal policies</a> that have been widely demonstrated to foster inequality and insecurity, and to entrench poverty and exclusion. As welfare states have been rolled back and the guarantee of regular employment or social protection has been diminished, more and more of the world’s people are forced to become what Nicola Phillips <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/nicola-phillips/what-has-forced-labour-to-do-with-poverty">refers to</a> as ‘the working poor’. Survival has been ‘marketised’, and when survival is only possible through money and markets, people with few options have to accept whatever the market has to offer.</p><p>In contrast to the dominant market thinking which attributes this to abstract economic forces, we hold it to be a fundamentally <em>political </em>state of affairs. As the actors ultimately responsible for setting the rules of the game, governments and big businesses are not merely guilty of complicity in the existence of forced labour, but of <em>actively creating</em> the very conditions that make it possible. </p><p>As <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rachel-wilshaw/what-would-loosen-roots-of-labour-exploitation-in-supply-chains">Rachel Wilshaw</a> and her OXFAM colleagues make clear, when inequality rises, so too does the likelihood of <a href="http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/wealth-having-it-all-and-wanting-more-338125">state capture by elite business interests</a>. The more wealth concentrates at the very top, the more those at the very top are able to influence states to promote policies that protect profits over people. Thus we now witness social spending slashed to pay for corporate tax breaks. We have a proliferation of ‘light-touch’ labour regulations that, among other things, replace ‘expensive’ <a href="http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/gb/docs/gb297/pdf/esp-3.pdf">labour inspection</a> with the ‘cheaper’ option of letting businesses take charge of protecting workers’ rights. And we have the creation of bonded labour pools in the form of temporary foreign work programmes, such as the ones <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/susan-ferguson-david-mcnally/capitalism%E2%80%99s-unfree-global-workforce">documented by</a> Susan Ferguson and David McNally.&nbsp; </p><p>We must assess existing anti-slavery or anti-forced labour strategies within this context rather than outside of it. The governance initiatives currently in place—ranging from private mechanisms like auditing to public initiatives like transparency legislation—simply fail to confront the underlying causes. Indeed, a common feature across the full spectrum of recent initiatives championed by states, corporations, and NGOs is that they leave the <a href="http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-business-models-supply">business models</a> that give rise to forced labour fully intact. At the same time, they do very little to challenge the inequality and poverty that guarantees a supply of workers needy enough to accept dreadful working conditions. </p><p>Thus, while many corporations’ supply chain initiatives focus on identifying and preventing forced labour through ‘ethical’ compliance auditing, none that we have seen attempt to reduce suppliers’ reliance on forced labour by paying them more, or by putting a stop to their use of labour market intermediaries. <em>So long as price, contract length, and the dynamics of labour subcontracting remain off the table for change, such initiatives will do little to tackle the relations of power and production that give rise to forced labour in the first place</em>. </p><p>The same is true for government efforts.&nbsp; Many states have recently passed national action plans and legislation to eradicate forced labor. Although these initiatives seek to harmonise government agencies to better identify and prosecute incidents of forced labour, as well as to raise the criminal justice consequences for individual perpetrators, they have done little to alter the broader political economic context in which such crimes emerge and thrive. None do anything whatsoever to address chronic economic insecurity. Is it any wonder, then, that <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/jens-lerche/ilo-campaigns-missing-wood-for-trees">Jens Lerche</a> laments that ‘there has been little or no progress in eradicating forced labour worldwide’?</p><p><span>It’s time to stop tinkering around the edges and to move towards more systemic solutions to these problems. These need to be centred around redistribution of value, both within and along the supply chain, and within society more broadly. </span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/neil-howard/basic-income-and-antislavery-movement">Neil Howard’s article</a><span> puts forth a powerful case for the consideration of Unconditional Basic Income as a structural strategy to address and prevent severe labour exploitation.&nbsp; Doubtless, there are many other bold and creative solutions.&nbsp; The point is that we need to start working towards these, and stop reinforcing the status quo.&nbsp;</span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/neil-howard/basic-income-and-antislavery-movement">Basic income and the anti-slavery movement</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/rachel-wilshaw/what-would-loosen-roots-of-labour-exploitation-in-supply-chains">What would loosen the roots of labour exploitation in supply chains?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/joel-quirk-andr%C3%A9-broome/politics-of-numbers-global-slavery-index-and-marketplace-of-ac">The politics of numbers: the Global Slavery Index and the marketplace of activism</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Genevieve LeBaron Forced labour in the global political economy Fri, 13 Mar 2015 05:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron and Neil Howard 91229 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Introducing Beyond Slavery’s month on forced labour in the global political economy https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard/introducing-beyond-slavery%E2%80%99s-month-on-forced-labour-in-g <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery editors introduce their February issue exploring the political economic contexts of slavery, trafficking and forced labour, and examining global efforts to confront their root causes.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/555228/5399795.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/555228/5399795.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Migrants in Greece protest one year after 30 strawberry pickers were shot. Menelaos Mich/Demotix. All Rights Reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>There is a growing and sober awareness among international organisations and some advocacy groups that trafficking, slavery and forced labour are not anomalies perpetuated by a few ‘bad apple’ employers. Rather, severe labour exploitation is an endemic feature of the contemporary global economy. From slavery and trafficking in the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">production of shrimp in Thailand</a> to <a href="http://fortune.com/2015/02/12/expedia-buys-orbitz/">artisanal cheese and clothing</a> made by US prison labour, forced labour plays a significant role in commodity production, as well as care, domestic, and sex work. The need to address forced labour more systematically has been emphasised recently in the rise of calls to <a href="http://www.ilo.org/declaration/WCMS_106268/lang--en/index.htm">tackle ‘root causes’</a>. </p><p>Yet what actually are these root causes? How do they operate? Beyond the commonplace notion that ‘poverty’ renders workers vulnerable to abuse, or that this abuse constitutes <a href="http://www.ilo.org/declaration/WCMS_106268/lang--en/index.htm">‘the underside of globalisation’</a>, what do we actually know about the specific ways in which the structure of the global economy conditions both poverty and severe labour exploitation? </p><p>Over the coming weeks we present a number of articles that attempt to get to grips with these questions. These take as their starting point two basic premises: 1) poverty and globalisation are indeed fundamental for the rise and proliferation of seriously exploitative labour; 2) we need to go beyond these abstractions if we’re to generate sophisticated understandings of how and why.</p><p>In doing so, it might be useful to borrow a metaphor from classical economics—that of <em>supply and demand</em>. &nbsp;We contend that under certain circumstances, policies that impoverish people, as well as policies that heighten their dependence on money and markets for subsistence, create a <em>supply</em> of workers vulnerable to serious exploitation. At the same time, the pressures of capitalist globalisation as well as the dynamics of particular industries generate a <a href="http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-business-models-supply">business <em>demand</em></a> for their labour. However, given that not all poor people are trafficked, and that not all businesses deploy forced labour, which factors specifically lead these lines of supply and demand to intersect?</p><p>Our first week lays out the big picture of forced labour in the global economy. Nicola Phillips kicks us off by interrogating some troubling but common assumptions about poverty and vulnerability to forced labour, arguing that those who are most exploited are often _not&nbsp;_the most destitute. As she points out, poverty-as-vulnerability is not reducible to income. Rather, it involves education, opportunity, access to services, migrant rights, gender justice, and other factors. </p><p>Marcus Taylor highlights another crucial driver of forced labour in the global economy: climate change. He argues that drought and scarcity drive many small-holder farmers into cycles of debt and bonded labour, thereby intensifying the relational webs of dispossession and domination that permeate caste and class in India. Both authors flag the need for policy to incorporate nuanced understandings of how macro political economic dynamics like poverty and climate change generate a ‘supply’ of people vulnerable to labour exploitation, which can include forced labour, trafficking, and slavery. </p><p>Linking the growing supply of vulnerable workers to business’ demand for it, Kendra Strauss focuses our attention on an increasingly large and powerful group of recruiters and employers called ‘labour market intermediaries.’ These brokers often profit from workers’ vulnerability at bottom end of the labour market, sometimes through business models deliberately configured around practices of human trafficking and forced labour. David McNally and Sue Ferguson take this discussion further by identifying the role of wealthy states’ labour market and immigration policies in facilitating employers’ use of bonded and unfree labour. They flag the neoliberal rollback of social protection and privatisation of the means of subsistence as root causes of forced labour, insofar as these trends have undermined the freedom of poor workers to say ‘no’ to exploitative jobs.</p><p>Our second week examines how, within the context of these macro trends, sector specific dynamics can also generate a demand for forced labour. The articles look at the specifics of three individual economic sectors. Sébastian Rioux looks at retail-driven food supply chains; Ben Richardson examines the production of sugar; Chun-Yi Lee examines manufacturing in China; and Alessandra Mezzadri analyses the role of labour unfreedom in the global garment industry. Each of these pieces fleshes out the previous reflections on <em>supply&nbsp;</em>with a corresponding analysis of <em>demand_.</em></p><p>Discussions of demand in the age of the ‘global factory’ inevitably require reflections on <em>supply chains</em>, the price-setting power of lead firms, the violent battle for profit along the supply chains, and the ways in which supply-chain dynamics create space for, or even require, severe worker exploitation. Rioux begins this discussion with a piece on the monopsony of global food retailers, while Richardson’s article reveals how modern firms producing goods for global value chains draw on management techniques developed in slave times, including forced labour. </p><p>The second half of the month deepens the discussion of global supply chains, and turns attention to existing policy responses. The third group of articles looks at the particularities of expanding efforts to tackle forced labour in global supply-chains, while the fourth addresses global governance initiatives more broadly. A common theme running throughout this analysis will be the chronic insufficiency of contemporary efforts to get to grips with the nuances of global exploitation, or to address the ‘root causes’ with which we began our reflections. </p><p>Benjamin Selwyn’s article argues that increasingly complex global supply chains are not technical and benign business innovations, but rather are tools to accelerate domination and surplus extraction. So long as initiatives to ‘slavery-proof’ supply chains fail to incorporate this insight, they will be inadequate. Fabiola Mieres and Siobhán McGrath echo this stance, documenting the limitations of corporate self-governance and the industry of ‘risk mitigation’, while Andreas Rühmkorf laments deficiencies in existing legal frameworks to hold multi-national companies responsible for forced labour in their supply-chains. Kate McDonald, for her part, highlights the pitfalls of relying on ethical consumers to generate ethical labour practices.</p><p>In our last batch of articles, Joel Quirk and André Broome take aim at the politics of global benchmarking that characterise latter-day ‘modern slavery’ abolitionism. Rather than genuinely addressing worker exploitation, they argue, the NGO strategy of benchmarking seems more focused on establishing organisational credentials and brand recognition within a competitive charity marketplace. Jens Lerche, while not levelling accusations of bad faith against the International Labour Organisation, still criticises the UN’s ‘labour arm’ for its counterproductive reformism and lack of political courage when seeking to represent the world’s workers. Finally, Rachel Wilshaw urges us to take a holistic view of the governance challenges surrounding forced labour, including inequality and corporate power.</p><p><span>Finally, we (Genevieve LeBaron and Neil Howard) will be back to wrap up the month, drawing key lessons across the arguments and evidence put forward for policy, activism, and future research.</span></p> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Genevieve LeBaron Forced labour in the global political economy Mon, 16 Feb 2015 05:00:00 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron and Neil Howard 90536 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Time to get serious about forced labour in supply chains https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/time-to-get-serious-about-forced-labour-in-supply-chains <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="Paragraph">We now know that our shopping carts are full of forced labour. So why are governments and industry doing so little to stop it?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Paragraph"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/3376820.jpg" alt="Protesters march on Walmart in Bellevue on Black Friday in 2013" title="" width="460" height="308" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Protesters march on Walmart in Bellevue on Black Friday in 2013. Rick Barry/Demotix. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>In June 2014, <em>The Guardian</em> ran a <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">headline news story</a> revealing the widespread use of conditions it described as modern slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour by employers in the Thai prawn industry. &nbsp;It traced the prawns into the freezers of some of the world’s largest supermarkets, including Walmart, Tesco and Costco. Surprisingly little has changed since.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Paragraph">Policymakers in the retailers’ home countries have largely refused to intervene, claiming – as the UK’s Cameron government did – that it is ‘<a href="mailto:http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/11/slavery-prawns-thailand-supermarkets-labour">up to consumers whether they eat prawns processed in Thailand using slave labour</a>’. &nbsp;The US – which imports <a href="http://apflnet.ilo.org/news/come-and-learn-slavery-truth">roughly 40%</a> of Thailand’s shrimp exports – downgraded Thailand in its 2014 <a href="mailto:http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/%3Futm_source=NEW+RESOURCE%253A+Trafficking+in+Persons+Report+2014%26utm_campaign=2014.07.16+NEW+RESOURCE%253A+Trafficking+in+Persons+Report+2014+%26utm_medium=email"><em>Trafficking in Persons</em></a> report and, like <a href="mailto:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/24/slavery-thailand-baroness-warsi-prawns-supermarkets">policymakers in the UK</a>, has promised to ‘raise concerns’ with the Thai government over slavery and human trafficking. &nbsp;But neither country has asked their supermarkets to stop selling goods knowingly produced with slave labour.&nbsp; In fact, UK policymakers have been so reluctant to tell businesses what to do that they <a href="mailto:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-asks-retailers-to-lead-the-way-on-transparent-supply-chains">asked</a> a trade association, the British Retail Consortium, to recommend the steps that companies could take to eliminate their own human rights abuses.</p> <p class="Paragraph">Industry hasn’t done much better. &nbsp;Retailers claim they are working with their suppliers to deepen existing ‘social auditing’ programmes, which – it is worth pointing out – failed to detect or address this problem in the first place.&nbsp; Representatives of US and UK supermarkets reportedly met in Thailand towards the end of July to create an ‘<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jul/30/supermarkets-thailand-prawn-slavery-seafood">industry action group</a>’ that will design yet another corporate social responsibility (CSR) benchmark for the seafood industry. &nbsp;Simply put, industry efforts to date have been largely focused around the same voluntary CSR and certification efforts that failed to detect or address the rampant labour abuses in the first place.</p> <p class="Paragraph">Meanwhile, prawn-eaters – like <a href="http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-business-models-supply">cannabis smokers</a>, <a href="http://www.antislavery.org/english/campaigns/cocoa_traders/">hot chocolate drinkers</a>, and <a href="http://www.verite.org/research/promoting-responsible-labor-practices-gold">gold</a> and <a href="http://www.antislavery.org/english/campaigns/cottoncrimes/default.aspx">cotton wearers</a> around the world – continue to consume the fruits of forced labour.</p> <p class="Paragraph">Thanks to careful research by academics, reporters and NGOs – and the testimonies and resistance of exploited workers themselves – we now know that our grocery carts are filled with the produce of forced labour. &nbsp;In the UK, severe exploitation is routinely uncovered in the <a href="mailto:http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-uk-food-industry">food industry</a>, such as among <a href="mailto:http://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/oct/29/workers-chickens-allegedly-trafficked-beaten">chicken and egg collectors</a>, <a href="mailto:http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-11617664">onion pickers</a>, <a href="mailto:http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-northern-ireland-exploiting-vulnerability">mushroom gatherers</a> and <a href="mailto:http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-northern-ireland-exploiting-vulnerability">fishermen</a>. &nbsp;While exact numbers remain difficult to pinpoint, week after week household staples are tarnished with new evidence of workers’ bondage and exploitation.</p> <p class="Paragraph">The evidence of illegality and human suffering has piled up high enough. It’s time to confront the reality that these are not just ‘one-off’ discoveries attributable to unscrupulous employers or temporary glitches in an otherwise effective social auditing system. The reality now is that severe labour exploitation is endemic in <a href="mailto:http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-business-models-supply">certain industries</a>. It has become a solid and predictable feature of the low-cost, high-volume retail business model that currently reigns in the global economy.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Paragraph">So why are governments and industry doing so little to stop it?&nbsp; Walmart made over <a href="mailto:http://fortune.com/2013/11/12/why-wal-mart-can-afford-to-give-its-workers-a-50-raise/">$17 billion</a> in profits last year.&nbsp; Tesco made <a href="mailto:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27046105">around £3.7 billion.</a> &nbsp;It is surely not unreasonable to ask that these businesses find a way to procure prawns farmed without <a href="mailto:http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">recourse to the beating and killing of workers</a>.&nbsp; Is it?</p> <p class="Paragraph">Yet, the global wave of ‘anti-slavery’ legislation passed by governments over the past five years has done little to tackle the <a href="http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/forced-labour-business-models-supply">business models of forced labour</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;Indeed, while this body of legislation has raised criminal justice consequences for individual perpetrators of forced labour, governments have refused to impose new responsibilities on retailers. &nbsp;Take the UK’s 2014 draft <a href="http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2014-2015/0008/cbill_2014-20150008_en_1.htm">Modern Slavery Bill.&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;In its current form, the Bill doesn’t even require companies to report on their own voluntary efforts to prevent or address slavery in their supply chains, as the Draft Modern Slavery Joint Select Committee <a href="mailto:http://www.supplymanagement.com/news/2014/mps-call-for-legal-requirement-on-firms-to-report-anti-slavery-work">recommended</a> and the California state legislature <a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/164934.pdf">recently mandated</a>. As for imposing legally binding restrictions on businesses, well, say no more!</p> <p class="Paragraph">On the industry side, retailers continue to tinker around the edges of the problem with auditing and certification schemes. &nbsp;But there is little evidence to suggest that they are tackling the underlying dynamics of their supply chains that fuel demand for severe exploitation and sub-minimum wage labour, such as downward pressure on prices and margins, unpredictability of demand, and tightening speed to market. &nbsp;Like many of the problems associated with subcontracting – itself a technique to reduce cost and liability – these dynamics somehow always seem to remain off the table for change.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Paragraph">Eradicating forced labour will require profound changes to contemporary business models. These are not changes that consumers can achieve on their own. &nbsp;Too many products depend on severe forms of exploitation to simply ask consumers to keep slavery out of their shopping carts. &nbsp;This is impossible for even the most conscientious of consumers to achieve, as the credibility of our ‘ethical’ auditing system has been in tatters ever since a string of ‘certified’ factories collapsed, burned down, or had severe exploitation discovered in them weeks later!</p> <p class="Paragraph">In short, it’s time for policymakers and industry to get serious about tackling slavery in supply chains.</p> <p class="Paragraph"><em>An original version of this article was published on the </em><a href="http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/comment/">Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute&nbsp;</a><em>(SPERI) blog.&nbsp;</em></p> <a name="logo"></a><p style="background-color: #ededed; padding: 14px; border: 1px dotted #003399;"><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery#0"><img style="float: right; border: 3px solid #fff; margin: 0px 10px 10px 10px;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/BTS-logo-140px-a (1).png" alt="Beyond Slavery" width="120" /></a>This article is from the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery#0"><em>Beyond trafficking and slavery</em></a> editorial partnership, supported by King's College London, the University of Nottingham and the University of the Witwatersrand.<br /></p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery International politics Economics Genevieve LeBaron Tue, 07 Oct 2014 07:13:04 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron 86570 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Introducing: Beyond Trafficking and Slavery https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/neil-howard-genevieve-lebaron-cameron-thibos/introducing-beyond-trafficking-and-slaver <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This week’s special feature was edited by <a href="http://blogs.eui.eu/neilhoward/">Neil Howard</a>, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/author/genevieve-lebaron">Genevieve LeBaron</a> and <a href="http://www.cameronthibos.com">Cameron Thibos</a> from openDemocracy’s new editorial partnership, <strong><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery">Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</a>. </strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p>‘Modern slavery’, ‘human trafficking’, and ‘forced labour’ are all issues of major political and media concern. Barely a day now passes without some sensational story. Governments everywhere are <a href="http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/joint-select/draft-modern-slavery-bill/">passing legislation</a>, civil society interest is <a href="http://www.walkfreefoundation.org/">rocketing</a>, and ever more consumers are <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/11/slavery-prawn-shoppers-boycott-unethical-seafood-greenpeace">asking questions</a> about how their products are made.</p> <p>Yet for all this attention, how much is actually known about these phenomena? We’ve no shortage of anecdotal stories, but reliable information is in seriously short supply. Mainstream media is quick to present ‘modern slaves’ as living under exceptional circumstances, but it’s often impossible to <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/04/capitalism-coercion-2014417133923106962.html">distinguish their lives</a> from those of people living under ‘ordinary’ capitalist exploitation. Why is this? And why is it that ‘protection’ policies governments put in place so frequently <a href="http://isw.sagepub.com/content/56/1/80.abstract">do more harm than good</a>?</p> <p>These are the kinds of questions that we’ll be exploring over the coming week, and that <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery"><strong><em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em></strong><strong> </strong></a>will be answering over the coming year. Let us introduce you to our partners and authors:</p><p>We begin, on Monday, with <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/dina-haynes/when-human-trafficking-becomes-cause-celebre">Dina Haynes </a>asking why it is that trafficking and slavery have become such contemporary <em>causes celebres</em>? Media personalities, politicians, and even sports stars line up to shout ‘Stop The Traffic’ or ‘End Slavery’. One of the reasons why they’re so easily able to do so, according to <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/joel-quirk-annie-bunting/politics-of-exception-bipartisan-appeal-of-human-trafficking">Joel Quirk and Anne Bunting,</a> is that contemporary abolitionism can be all things to all people. It ‘rarely poses a direct threat to major political and economic interests’ and thus is easy to promote without rocking the boat.</p><p>Such sentiments are echoed on Tuesday, in articles by <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julia-o&#039;connell-davidson/happy-endings-slavery-emancipation-and-freedom">Julia O’Connell Davidson</a>, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/time-to-get-serious-about-forced-labour-in-supply-chains">Genevieve LeBaron</a> and <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/neil-howard/slavery-and-trafficking-beyond-hollow">Neil Howard</a>. Drawing on <em>The Guardian</em>’s recent splash about slavery in Thai fisheries, Neil reminds us that exploitation is inherent within the structures of global capitalism. For this reason policy responses centred on encouraging better business behaviour will never be anything other than anaemic. Genevieve takes this argument further, examining the deficiencies of private supply-chain governance initiatives, while Julia prompts us to ask deeper questions about the very meaning of freedom, coercion and consent under contemporary conditions of inequality.</p><p>On Wednesday,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sam-okyere/fielding-wrong-ball-%E2%80%93-culture-as-cause-of-%E2%80%98modern-slavery%E2%80%99">Samuel Okyere</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ronald-weitzer/miscounting-human-trafficking-and-slavery">Ron Weitzer</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/prabha-kotiswaran/law%E2%80%99s-mediations-shifting-definitions-of-trafficking">and Prabha Kotiswaran</a>&nbsp;shed light on the immense deficiencies underpinning mainstream abolitionist thinking. Ron takes apart efforts to ‘measure’ contemporary slavery, revealing how weak core data are and how problematic are its assumptions. Sam shows how these assumptions often equate ‘culture’ with exploitation in ways that mirror colonial thinking and entrench existing root causes. Prabha details the history of the Palermo Protocol as a cautionary tale, and advises us to limit our expectations when we seek to address trafficking through legal means.</p><p>On Thursday, we have two Q&amp;A interviews with respected figures central to debates around trafficking and slavery.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/bridget-anderson/extreme-exploitation-is-not-problem-of-human-nature">Bridget Anderson</a>&nbsp;is an Oxford Professor and a highly authoritative voice on matters of mobility, labour exploitation and trafficking. She has long called for an opening of borders and a more serious, political response to such extreme exploitation.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/helga-konrad/narrow-viewpoints-and-conflicting-interests-undermine-antitrafficking-eff">Helga Konrad</a>, by contrast, was both an Austrian Government Minister and former Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). She has a unique insider’s perspective on what policy-makers think and do – and here she is clear in her critique of them.</p><p>Finally, on Friday we look at history and its implications. <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/karen-bravo/transatlantic-slavery-and-contemporary-human-trafficking">Karen Bravo</a> examines parallels between nineteenth century abolitionism and its latter-day equivalent, while. <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/tryon-p-woods/antiblackness-of-%27modernday-slavery%27-abolitionism">Tryon Woods</a> provocatively asks whether some of those parallels might make anti-trafficking better understood as ‘anti-blackness’.</p><p>Once the week is out, you’ll find us on our dedicated section, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery"><strong><em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em></strong>. </a>From now until January, we’ll have a steady stream of articles, interviews and field reports from all over the world. From January onwards each month will focus on a specific theme, each of which will go to the very heart of contemporary critical thinking about exploitation, domination, its causes and its consequences. We look forward to seeing you over the coming year.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/dina-haynes/when-human-trafficking-becomes-cause-celebre">When human trafficking becomes a Cause Celebre</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/joel-quirk-annie-bunting/politics-of-exception-bipartisan-appeal-of-human-trafficking">The politics of exception: the bipartisan appeal of human trafficking</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/neil-howard/slavery-and-trafficking-beyond-hollow-call">Slavery and trafficking: beyond the hollow call</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/time-to-get-serious-about-forced-labour-in-supply-chains">Time to get serious about forced labour in supply chains</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/julia-o%27connell-davidson/happy-endings-slavery-emancipation-and-freedom">Happy endings? Slavery, emancipation and freedom</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/ronald-weitzer/miscounting-human-trafficking-and-slavery">Miscounting human trafficking and slavery</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sam-okyere/fielding-wrong-ball-%E2%80%93-culture-as-cause-of-%E2%80%98modern-slavery%E2%80%99"> Fielding the wrong ball – culture as a cause of ‘modern slavery’</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/prabha-kotiswaran/law%E2%80%99s-mediations-shifting-definitions-of-trafficking">Law’s mediations: the shifting definitions of trafficking</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/bridget-anderson/extreme-exploitation-is-not-problem-of-human-nature">Extreme exploitation is not a problem of human nature</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/helga-konrad/narrow-viewpoints-and-conflicting-interests-undermine-antitrafficking-eff">Narrow viewpoints and conflicting interests undermine anti-trafficking efforts: Q&amp;A | Part I </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/karen-bravo/transatlantic-slavery-and-contemporary-human-trafficking">Trans-Atlantic slavery and contemporary human trafficking </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/tryon-p-woods/antiblackness-of-%27modernday-slavery%27-abolitionism">The antiblackness of &#039;modern-day slavery&#039; abolitionism</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Civil society Culture Economics Ideas International politics Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Neil Howard Mon, 06 Oct 2014 06:59:28 +0000 Neil Howard, Genevieve LeBaron and Cameron Thibos 86546 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why we need to move Beyond Trafficking and Slavery https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/neil-howard-genevieve-lebaron-cameron-thibos/introduction <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Introducing a new openDemocracy partnership&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">challenging both the empty sensationalism of mainstream media accounts of exploitation and domination, and the hollow, technocratic policy responses promoted by businesses and politicians.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><a name="1"></a></p><p dir="ltr">Over the past fifteen years, forced labour, trafficking, and slavery have become issues of major political and media concern. Governments worldwide have passed a wave of ‘anti-slavery’ and ‘anti-trafficking’ legislation, championed as a solution to the constant stream of media reports documenting horrific abuse and serious exploitation. So why is it that most sources continue to show a rise in severe exploitation in a range of contexts, despite the laudable aims and billions of dollars channelled into these initiatives?</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There’s actually very little evidence to show that existing anti-slavery initiatives are effective in ensuring prevention or in providing protection to victims.&nbsp;In addition, there are serious questions about the marginal difference between ‘slaves’, ‘victims of trafficking’, and ordinary people who are just plain exploited within the capitalist system and as a result of myriad social hierarchies. What are these policies doing if they’re not safeguarding the very people they’re supposedly designed to protect.</span></p><p dir="ltr">This site aspires to be an alternative to the many 'Modern-Day Slavery Hubs' dotted across conventional media. While these outlets make an important contribution, they often feature stories that are sensationalist, de-politicised, and based on questionable research. We are here to go beyond such simplicity. Our editors will marshal the best of contemporary scholarship to provide informed, nuanced, and focused analysis. They’ll engage practitioners and policy-makers about life inside the policy system, and link failings to wider questions about the nature of the societies in which we live.</p><p dir="ltr">The site contains several sections. In addition to a regular stream of articles, we have a blog for short pieces from a wide range of voices – for which we invite contributions – as well as a pedagogical section. The latter contains clear, concise introductions to all the major issues, and recommends both essential and radical texts for further reading. As we are academics at heart who are always looking for good teaching materials, we’ll also make the articles published on this site available as e-books for use in the classroom later in the year.</p><p dir="ltr">Over the next 12 months you’ll see dozens of pieces from academics and practitioners on a range of debates. Starting in January, each month will focus on a distinct theme. We’ll begin by examining the common misconceptions of slavery, trafficking, and forced labour as promoted by politicians and across the mainstream media. We’ll follow this by looking at how political structures, economic systems, and legal frameworks sustain and entrench human vulnerability in a way that allows such exploitation and domination to flourish in plain sight.</p><p dir="ltr">We’ll take apart historical legacies to open up questions of reparation, parallels between then and now, and the similarities and differences between practices, places and policies. This will involve asking how migration and mobility regimes limit mobility and distinguish who can and cannot be legally exploited. Similarly important will be questioning dominant ideas about ‘race’, ‘caste’, ‘ethnicity’ and ‘belonging’. The history of the Atlantic Slave Trade shows that exploitation has always been predicated on conceptions of hierarchy – whatever the axis upon which it turns – and our contributors will examine how and why that remains the case today. Other fault lines include gender and generation – meaning men, women, adults and children – and our writers will look at feminized forms of forced labour, the absence of men from discourses around trafficking, and the problems pertaining to the ‘child labour’ legislation that criminalizes adolescent livelihood strategies.</p><p dir="ltr">We’ll finish this first year by turning our attention to the future. Although the site is designed to provoke reflection, it is also explicitly political. One of its major goals is to reflect on solutions around which we can mobilise. Ranging from the utopian to the eminently practical, we’ll close the year with serious, political and innovative ideas about what we can do and how.</p><p>We look forward to seeing you over the coming 12 months!</p> <a name="logo"></a><p style="background-color: #ededed; padding: 14px; border: 1px dotted #003399;"><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery#0"><img style="float: right; border: 3px solid #fff; margin: 0px 10px 10px 10px;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/BTS-logo-140px-a (1).png" alt="Beyond Slavery" width="120" /></a>This article is from the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery#0"><em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em></a> editorial partnership, supported by King's College London, the University of Nottingham and the University of the Witwatersrand.<br /></p> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Cameron Thibos Genevieve LeBaron Neil Howard Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:51:06 +0000 Neil Howard, Genevieve LeBaron and Cameron Thibos 86495 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Genevieve LeBaron https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/genevieve-lebaron <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Genevieve LeBaron </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/politics/people/academic/genevieve-lebaron">Genevieve LeBaron</a>&nbsp;is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, Chair of the&nbsp;<a href="http://glc.yale.edu/modern-slavery/ModernDaySlaveryWorkingGroup/WorkingGroupMembers">Yale University Working Group on Modern Slavery</a>, and a UK ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow. You can follow her on twitter <a href="https://www.twitter.com/@glebaron">@glebaron</a>.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> &lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/politics/people/academic/genevieve-lebaron&quot;&gt;Genevieve LeBaron&lt;/a&gt; is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield.&lt;/p&gt; </div> </div> </div> Genevieve LeBaron Fri, 14 Mar 2014 09:48:44 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron 80296 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Not just about the money: corporatization is weakening activism and empowering big business https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/genevieve-lebaron-peter-dauvergne/not-just-about-money-corporatization-is-weakening-a <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Activist and advocacy organizations increasingly look and act like multinational corporations. Is it worth the price? This is the seventh installment in our series on money and social transformation.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/ken.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Credit: www.thewrighteronline.com. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/ken.jpg" alt="Barbie, it's over. Credit: www.thewrighteronline.com. All rights reserved." title="Credit: www.thewrighteronline.com. All rights reserved." width="460" height="173" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Barbie, it's over. Credit: www.thewrighteronline.com. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>At the beginning of the 1970s <span><a href="http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/about/worldwide/">Greenpeace</a></span> was a motley band of peaceniks and environmentalists living in our home province of British Columbia in Canada. Now the Amsterdam headquarters of Greenpeace manages a multimillion-dollar brand, with scores of branches worldwide, thousands of employees, and millions of financial supporters.</p> <p> The history of Greenpeace is one of courage and daring defiance, and the organization has long protested both unsustainable production and wasteful consumption. But like every multinational NGO, Greenpeace is under great pressure to achieve short-term results, which are now so essential for raising the money required to pay a burgeoning staff and finance projects.&nbsp;</p> <p> In 2011 one of Greenpeace`s big ‘victories’ was convincing Barbie-doll manufacturer Mattel to <span><a href="http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/forests/mattel-and-barbie-drop-deforestation-20111005">remove illegal rainforest wood</a></span> from its cardboard-box packaging. This campaign certainly has its merits, and Greenpeace may think of it as a win.</p> <p> But it`s not. Praising Mattel and calling this a victory may enhance public trust in the Greenpeace brand, but it also legitimizes the trade and consumption that Greenpeace has long opposed, and which lie at the root of unsustainable patterns of growth and development.</p> <p> All NGOs want to gain the public`s trust, and in recent years they have done well on that score. The <span><a href="http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/2014-edelman-trust-barometer/">2014 Edelman Trust Barometer</a></span> ranked NGOs as the world’s most trusted institution – the seventh year in a row that they have come out on top of business, media, and governments.</p> <p> Trusted brands like Amnesty International and WWF are now going toe-to-toe with Coke, McDonald’s, and Nike. As <span><a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/nml.149/abstract">Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, John Quelch, and Bernard Simonin</a></span> point out, over the past decade both Amnesty International and WWF have remained among Europe’s top five most trusted brands, with Amnesty at number 1 in 2004, beating out Microsoft and Michelin. That year Amnesty ranked 13th in the United States, just behind corporate brands such as UPS, Proctor &amp; Gamble, and Johnson &amp; Johnson.</p> <p> The brand value of some NGOs even rivals that of iconic businesses. In 2001 <span><a href="http://www.interbrand.com/en/">Interbrand</a></span> already estimated that the brand value of Habitat for Humanity was US$1.8 billion – which at that time put it on a par with Starbucks.&nbsp;</p> <p> In the words of former Greenpeace communications director Jonathan Wootliff and PR executive Christopher Deri, NGOs have become “<span><a href="http://www.palgrave-journals.com/crr/journal/v4/n2/abs/1540140a.html">The New Super Brands</a></span>.” Understandably, corporations are eager to partner with them. Doing so costs them relatively little, yet the payback can be substantial. It enhances their reputation for social responsibility, deflects their critics, and helps to advertise their products.</p> <p> Many NGOs are just as keen to partner with multinational corporations. Some merely want more money to pay staff and run bigger projects. But most enter the game of partnering in order to access corporate boardrooms. “We could spend 50 years lobbying 75 national governments,” the former president of WWF Canada remarked to journalist <span><a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/marketing/beyond-the-bottle-coke-trumpets-its-green-initiatives/article569182/">Simon Houpt</a></span> in 2011, “or these folks at Coke could make a decision … and the whole global supply chain changes overnight. And that in a nutshell is why we're in a partnership.”</p> <p> However, gaining access to the boardroom and taking corporate money comes with a price. As we explore in our new book <span><em><a href="http://www.polity.co.uk/book.asp?ref=9780745669489">Protest Inc</a>.</em></span>, activist and advocacy organizations have increasingly come to look and act an awful lot like multinational corporations.</p> <p> Just like corporations, high-powered lawyers and marketing consultants now serve and defend the leading brands of NGOs. In 2000, WWF sued the World Wrestling Federation for using the acronym ‘WWF,’ forcing the Federation to <span><a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20070302/ENT0101/703020451">change its name</a></span>. Amnesty hired GlobeScan – a marketing firm whose clients include Barrick Gold, BP, Chevron, Shell, and Goldman Sachs – <span><a href="http://www.globescan.com/clients/case-studies/amnesty-international.html">“to build a revitalized brand identity” for the “next 50 years.”</a></span> </p> <p>Today’s multinational NGOs own investments, stocks, and real estate worth millions of dollars. The largest of them employ thousands of workers and have branches across the world. By the time <span><a href="http://www.wwf.org/">WWF</a></span> <span><a href="http://www.hks.harvard.edu/hauser/role-of-brand/documents/wwf_brand_case_study.pdf">turned 50 in 2011</a></span>, it was paying some 5,000 staff across more than a hundred countries. Annual budgets reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars – and each year expenses and revenues seem to rise. <span><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/IOR80/001/2012/en/4fef3bd7-b608-4cdc-b57e-9df1e2fa4bee/ior800012012en.pdf">Amnesty International’s 2010 global income</a></span> exceeded US$260 million. That year the <span><a href="http://www.savethechildren.org/atf/cf/%7B9def2ebe-10ae-432c-9bd0-df91d2eba74a%7D/RESULTS-FOR-CHILDREN-Q1Q2-2011.PDF">revenue of Save the Children USA</a></span> was more than US$540 million; even the small <span><a href="http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/">American branch of Greenpeace had a budget</a></span> of nearly US$28 million.</p> <p> Advertising and education budgets alone can rival the GDP of a small country. Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s <span><a href="http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/Content/AboutUs/Financial/1207-1375237%20Financial%20Statements%20as%20of%2010.31.12_eissue.pdf">annual fundraising and public education costs</a></span>, for instance, exceed US$200 million – higher in 2011 than the GDP of the <span><a href="http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crname=Marshall+Islands">Marshall Islands</a></span> or <span><a href="http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=Kiribati">Kiribati</a></span>. And like corporations, presidents and CEOs run most of these nonprofit organizations through corporate-style hierarchies and top-down management.</p> <p> In a move that would have been unthinkable thirty years ago, NGOs now work alongside energy multinationals like Chevron and ExxonMobil, and brand companies like Apple and Nestlé. Some groups still refuse corporate money. But for many NGOs, partnerships are becoming an indispensable way of supporting their programs and staffing. WWF’s partnership with Coca-Cola, for instance, was worth around US$20 million in 2010. </p> <p>‘Small’ isn’t necessarily ‘beautiful’ and ‘big’ isn’t always ‘bad,’ but these trends raise crucial issues about the future of global citizen action. How did ‘saving the world’ become big business?</p> <p>NGOs “are winning,” <span><a href="http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/6913747/ngos-new-super-brands">Wootliff and Deri</a></span> argue, because “they speak directly to consumers, appealing to emotions through simple and concise themes.” Some activists do lament the marketing of causes to tap consumers for donations. And some like Karen Strickler decry the <span><a href="http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/04/09/lost-in-the-fumes/">“fog of big money”</a></span> that is drifting over NGO executives and their boards.</p> <p> We too worry about the corporatization of NGOs and their work. It’s not questions of money alone that make us uneasy, although some <span><a href="http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/when-green-becomes-inc/?_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">top salaries in the larger NGOs</a></span> are certainly out of hand.&nbsp;</p> <p> What’s more disturbing is how corporatization is transforming what activists and NGOs now think is ‘realistic’ and ‘possible’ to change in the world.&nbsp;</p> <p> Increasingly, NGOs are dividing advocacy into projects with concrete and easily-measurable outcomes in order to demonstrate ‘returns on donations’. Needing to pay salaries, rent and electricity bills, NGOs have centralized their management structures and moved away from tactics that might threaten firms or governments or donors.</p> <p> Advocacy for far-reaching change in world politics is increasingly off the table: radically-reorienting international organizations, redistributing global income, reining in multinational corporations beyond voluntary codes of conduct, reversing unfair terms-of-trade, protecting workers, and pushing for a different economic order that is based around sharing and an end to growth.</p> <p> One example of an NGO that has drifted towards this kind of moderation is the <span><a href="http://www.ifaw.org/">International Fund for Animal Welfare</a></span> (IFAW). Since starting out in 1969, the IFAW has moved away from its founding goal of fighting to stop Canada’s seal pup hunt, and towards a focus on scientific and educational campaigns for dogs, cats and other animals.</p> <p> Now, ‘successes’ include saving individual animals, by providing, for example, veterinary care in developing countries. We are not suggesting that this is trivial work. But it does indicate how far the IFAW has wandered from its goal of ending Canada’s commercial seal hunt, which, since resuming in the mid-1990s after shutting down, has in some years been <span><a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09644016.2011.551024#preview">even larger than it was when the IFAW originally got going</a></span>.&nbsp;</p> <p> This shift in what the IFAW declares a ‘success’ or Greenpeace a ‘victory’ is a symptom of a general tapering of ambition. NGOs are channeling more energy and resources into projects and away from campaigns for deep, systemic change. And their goals increasingly reinforce the social, economic and political systems they say they want to transform.</p> <p> In the words of Italian political theorist <span><a href="http://www.marxists.org/archive/gramsci/">Antonio Gramsci</a></span>, corporatization is narrowing “the limits of the possible”. It is also taking us away from the empowering social relations that feminists, environmentalists, and human rights advocates have long strived for.</p> <p> Narrow thinking, bureaucratic structures, and the overriding priority of fundraising lead NGOs to treat people as donors and consumers, rather than to empower them to struggle for social justice. The pursuit of money, as <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/michael-edwards/money-in-terms-of-social-change-it’s-both-‘beauty-and-beast’"><span>Michael Edwards writes in </span><span><em>Transformation</em></span></a>, can “turn helping others into another form of domination”.</p> <p> Corporatization has major consequences, not only for NGO-style activism but also for protest movements, and even for dissent more broadly. The belief that voluntary action by business can decrease inequality, advance human rights, and slow environmental destruction is strengthening. And by legitimatizing corporate power in world politics, these emerging trends are marginalizing campaigns for system-wide change.</p> <p> The corporatization of activism is occurring against a backdrop of incentives and pressures to conform with the existing global order, including a worldwide security crackdown on direct action, protest and dissent; far-reaching changes in the nature of social life, including the strengthening of consumerism; and the growing power of corporations to set their own rules.&nbsp;</p> <p> In this context, the decision by a well-intentioned and highly-trusted NGO to partner with business is understandable, especially as this can increase its ability to nudge a company to improve at least some of its worst practices.</p> <p> No wonder NGOs are the world’s most trusted institution. As <span><a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/cra-audits-charitable-status-of-tides-canada-amid-tory-attack/article4105719/">governments attack and defund</a></span> NGOs which are more critical, mainstream groups are reassuring governments with pragmatic goals, comforting consumers with feel-good labeling and cause marketing, and partnering with corporations.&nbsp;</p> <p> Corporatized activism is shoring up big business, sustaining capitalist states, and building support for a lightly-reformed status-quo. It threatens no one in power. But it weakens grassroots activism and poses a major threat to those who are struggling to transform the world.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/adam-parsons/sharing-economy-short-introduction-to-its-political-evolution">The sharing economy: a short introduction to its political evolution</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/transformation/adam-parsons/reading-list-on-sharing-economy">A reading list on the sharing economy</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/thomas-h-greco-jr/money-debt-and-end-of-growth-imperative">Money, debt and the end of the growth imperative</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/transformation/steve-consilvio/buy-low-sell-low-secret-to-healthier-economy">Buy low, sell low: the secret to a healthier economy</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/laura-gottesdiener/is-laughter-best-medicine-for-monopoly-capitalism">Is laughter the best medicine for monopoly capitalism?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/transformation/jennifer-buffett-and-peter-buffett/can-philanthropy-support-transformation-of-society">Can philanthropy support the transformation of society?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/michael-edwards/money-in-terms-of-social-change-it%E2%80%99s-both-%E2%80%98beauty-and-beast%E2%80%99">Money: in terms of social change, it’s both ‘beauty and the beast’</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Creative Commons </div> </div> </div> Transformation Transformation Greenpeace Transforming Politics Transforming Society Peter Dauvergne Genevieve LeBaron Funding for human rights - related articles The role of money Activism Economics Fri, 14 Mar 2014 09:41:30 +0000 Genevieve LeBaron and Peter Dauvergne 80295 at https://www.opendemocracy.net