Modern-Day Slavery

4 12 2014

AS: Today, I’m going to be attending a talk on modern-day slavery that has been organized by the University of Liverpool’s Centre for the Study of International Slavery in conjunction with the University of Liverpool Management School’s Operations and Supply Chains Excellence Knowledge Platform. Dr. Siobhan McGrath (Durham University) will talk about  Power and Freedom in Supply Chains: Addressing the ‘demand-side’ of forced labour?

I’m very interested in this talk, which will doubtless deal with the UK government’s Modern Slavery Bill, which seeks to combat human trafficking of sex slaves and agricultural workers. My own view going into the talk is that the British government’s laudable goal of eliminating modern-slavery and trafficking is inconsistent with their other stated goal, which is to reduce the number of migrants legally allowed to enter the UK. In most cases, so-called modern slavery exists because we don’t have a regime of open borders and undocumented migrants are therefore vulnerable to exploitation.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to learning more tonight.

Check out Reason’s excellent debate on Open Borders.

P.S. Update: in her talk, the speaker mentioned her research on the enslavement of internal migrant workers in Brazil. The fact that citizens can become de facto slaves in their own country does tend to go against the theory that modern-day slavery is mainly a result of government-imposed immigration controls. However, I also got the impression that it was fairly relatively for charities to go in and liberate the unfree Brazilian charcoal workers precisely because they had the legal right to be in Brazil and move around across state lines in search of work.

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