Kevin Bales

Kevin Bales

I'm one of the educators on this MOOC and very excited to be part of it.

Location London


  • Kevin Bales made a comment

    AND - you might want to visit your local Quaker Meeting - you'll find there people who reflect all of the themes we've learned about and who are very open to your thoughts as well.

  • Hi Deborah, Thanks so much for the work you've been doing. Andrew Forrest is a wonderful friend to the anti-slavery movement, he's supported the Global Slavery Index and more. That $75 million is going to make an impact! All best

  • Hi Laura, I just looked at you website - it's great, what an excellent way to engage people, I'm impressed! Am I right in thinking you're based in the US? And will you put information about the MA in Slavery & Liberation on your site?
    All best

  • Thank you John, euphemisms are a powerful tool of the slaveholders!
    All best

  • Hi Judy, Thanks for your note, I'd also like to see the materials you've been preparing at the No Project. Good work!

  • Hi Sonia, I know ECLT from way back! I was one of the founders of the International Cocoa Initiative, a very similar organisation. It's exactly this industry-wide cooperative approach that needs spreading to many other product chains. As we say in England "more power to you elbow!"

  • Hi Dave, I learned that you often have to be gentle and patient with the listener, often through no fault of their own, they've never heard about the current situation. So, step by step.

  • Spot on Gabrielle, all good ways to move forward. Law enforcement training has been lagging behind for years - in which country do you live?

  • I was disturbed by the reports in the last few days about the Trump budget cutting a number of anti-trafficking programs. Free the Slaves send out notices about this. And this after a number of republicans passed a bill to increase funding to this area.

  • Hi Naor, please send a note directly to me at, I'll make sure it gets to the right place. Sorry about that!

  • I'm afraid that I don't see how identity theft constitutes slavery, this crime has been around for centuries as fraud, imposture, etc. the internet just opened a new way to commit the crime. It is terrible to have your electronic ID stolen, but that doesn't make you a slave.

  • Hi Naor, yes, people have been working on a business rating system, and there are some NGOs that try to rate different industries, see this one by Verite:
    So, it is happening, just not quickly enough

  • Freedom ToBe is right, you can call or text or email the US National Hotline (run by Polaris) and lots of groups spread that number around win many different languages - so little cards in diff languages in public toilets - especially on main highways. But I think you have a point, that you are right, coming at it cold and maybe frightened it is not...

  • Thanks Susan, slavery really can happen anywhere. The journalists may think that it is primarily about the sex trade, but I'd suspect that there could be more in agriculture in Suffolk and Norfolk, it's just that media much prefer being able to use the word "sex" in a story.

  • Hi Sorrell, TIP Report is annual, and normally comes out about now - May or June BUT (you may have noticed) there is a larger than usual amount of chaos in the US government just now, so there's no telling if they make the normal deadline. In terms of advice and support, the TIP Office in the State Department offers all sorts of advice and often hands over...

  • Hi Bridget, There's a backstory here that in some ways just makes things more muddy. "Forced Labour" was a big issue in 1920-1930, it was a euphemism for 'slavery carried out by European powers in their colonies' - The League of Nations and others were trying to reduce this for the same reason that they were working against slavery. It was really a code word,...

  • Glad you're back Aurora - and not to worry, the great thing about online learning is that the schedule is always up to you!

  • Hi Sonia,
    You're right we have to always be thinking about how to raise not just awareness, but commitment and resources - and to really go for it when we ARE flavour of the month, but also always ready for when we're not and still have to keep growing. There IS a slow but steady growth, and the Conservative Party manifesto for the uncoming election in the UK...

  • Thanks for this, I don't know Yuki, let me read more about the Our Power Campaign, much appreciated

  • Hi Harry, To whom would we address the petition? There have been campaigns that lead to new UN or ILO conventions, and they can be important in creating a permanent legal framework upon which further campaigning and work can be done. But in term of really changing things, they are not very powerful, they simply help build the scaffolding as it were. The idea...

  • OUCH! thanks for catching that!

  • erh, that should be "four star rating" not "start" - oops

  • We shouldn't use this course to promote any particular organisation, but remember that watchdogs like Charity Navigator ( will give you an honest report on any charity (including antislavery groups) in terms of their effectiveness - look for a 4 start rating, it's hard to get!

  • We shouldn't use this course to promote any particular organisation, but remember that watchdogs like Charity Navigator ( will give you an honest report on any charity (including antislavery groups) in terms of their effectiveness - look for a 4 start rating, it's hard to get!

  • The absolutely best (and most effective) place to intervene is at the very beginning of the chain, where the slavery happens - that's why liberators local NGOs are so important. Trying to solve the problem at the cash register is much less effective.

  • It might increase the amount of slavery in UK food, but it's hard to know - many of the things we might it touched by slavery, like prawns or shrimp, don't come from the EU now - and are consumed by the whole EU. It is something we'll need to watch carefully. I do feel worried about it, as well as about 'buying globally' when, leaving slavery aside for a...

  • We haven't talked about FairTrade in particular, though perhaps a mention when we talked about supply chains. Fair Trade helps fight slavery because when farmers and producers in the developing world get a fair and stable price for their crops, it means they are much less likely to become vulnerable to enslavement. To be certified as FairTrade farm or...

  • Hi Gill, the £36 million was a political compromise - the law was always assumed to have a lower limit so that your local corner shop wouldn't be expected to report (at least yet, start with the big ones first). The original number was lower than £36 million but got pushed up by some "pro-business" politicians, likewise, foreign subsidiaries got excluded as...

  • Good question Karine, and it is no surprise that the early Quakers that started the antislavery movement practised what you call a minimalist lifestyle - their against slavery only reinforced their commitment to 'simplicity' as they put it. A thoughtful, conscious, simple (minimalist) lifestyle lived by those in the rich countries especially (most people in...

  • This history of the USA and its laws on agricultural (and domestic) labour is very sad and bitter and should have been rectified a long time ago. Basically when the first labour laws were coming into effect Southern representatives in Congress blocked the laws until they removed the two key areas of labour they wanted to exploit with impunity - their...

  • We discussed this a lot last week - so briefly, yes, that very first measure of global slavery (one of mine of 27 million slaves) had weak methods - a fact I made clear when I published it - now we have much much better and more reliable methods, so ignore the old numbers.

  • And especially see Blackmon's brilliant book Slavey by Another Name

  • Yes, we can think of better ways, like governments doing their duty - enforcing the laws they have on the books already, and corporations working harder to ensure that slavery doesn't creep into supply chains. Most of these things can't be done by a single consumer, you need to find ways to cooperate and collaborate.

  • Hi Naor - it's interesting that ask to whom we should share information we collect on human rights crimes and suggest "to the government, to the police, to the army, to an international inspection force" - because the two groups you don't mention may be the most powerful - journalists and the public. And the best answer to your question is "all of the above"...

  • HI Sonia, you are so right about being clear about what is slavery and what is not, and a good operational definition is crucial - child soldiers meet ALL the criteria to be considered as slaves, and we certainly include them in the work we do.

    Likewise, child "brides" - but that's an area where the public ideas around the world are still in flux, some...

  • Hi Andrew, most slavery is in small groups (unless you're thinking about the government of Uzbekistan enslaving its own citizens in their thousands). In those fish processing camps, there were under 100 child slaves, so they were pretty big.

    There's not so much about modern slave revolts, but later in the course you'll be learning about how slave...

  • You just did it - you asked a question. It all happens with the typing, we don't go 'live' like TV!

  • Hi Liliana, if you are able to ask a question, we are linked.

  • We're learning more about the impact of the high levels of refugees and immigrants moving toward the EU - and not surprisingly the evidence is that while some do fine and reach safety, many of the suddenly vulnerable are picked off by criminal and exploited in many ways, including slavery. This is not helped by governments, and some politicians in particular,...

  • Thanks Marnie - well the evidence is pretty new on the scene, so we need to get it out there and hope the knowledge helps change behaviours and policies. But you are right, for the greedy their gain IS more important than our world, and sadly that is actually taught as a political good in many countries. That's an idea that must be challenged all the...

  • Hi Tok, Well, several people are raising this - and feel free to do so yourself with any UN people you meet or representatives from your country. But the UN moves VERY slowly and has very little real power, so the word needs to go to governments and other groups as well. We know you can turnaround natural destruction, but that means you have to enforce...

  • Hi Karin, I don't actually think slavery is growing on a daily basis, but the truth is we don't know if it is or not. Meanwhile, I do know that the population explosion has created a number of situations that support slavery - and it has certainly led to a collapse in the cost of acquiring slaves over the last 50 years. It's not just about slavery though -...

  • Paul, Rina, Leslie - all good points. Paul your central question is a crucially important question - in social science terms it's 'how do we end a social and political system that supports slavery? what are the key drivers and factors that have to be altered to end slavery within that system?" There's a different answer for each country. In a country like...