Kevin Bales

Kevin Bales

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

Location London

Activity

  • 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
    Kevin

  • 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
    Kevin

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

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

  • 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!"
    Kevin

  • 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.
    Thanks
    Kevin

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

  • 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 kbbales@gmail.com, I'll make sure it gets to the right place. Sorry about that!
    Kevin

  • 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: http://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/VeriteForcedLaborMalaysianElectronics2014.pdf
    So, it is happening, just not quickly enough
    thanks

  • 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 (https://www.charitynavigator.org) 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 (https://www.charitynavigator.org) 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...

  • Hi Hannah, - it's a great question, and You're right - very hard to answer. There are people in NK that work to help others against all the different types of oppression, and groups outside NK that also do a lot. At Nottingham we've done some work with a group in the Netherlands that works on NK. Basically the situation there is one of a military dictatorship...

  • You're right that local law enforcement will be needed, and of course SHOULD already BE there since every country has laws in place - so governments will need to invest in law enforcement to get the job done. And, yes, criminal if not caught might move to a new location, but if liberation is done well, then the community becomes slave-free and slave-proof, and...

  • I've not looked deeply into either (as I did with the areas in the book) but you're right, there is plenty of examples.

  • It's safe to do it, and I am no fan of Nestle, but I think this lawsuit is a bad idea - and actually doing more harm than good in that Nestle does put resources into solving the problems in cocoa through the International Cocoa Initiative, and this just uses up time and money (paid to lawyers) that could be getting people out of slavery. On the other hand if...

  • Yes, that's right - the inspections for organic also tend to identify other problems

  • A year is a short time in politics (also an eternity) - and my book wasn't the biggest news of the year, but that's OK, good ideas have legs and keep moving forward. People and groups and governments are thinking about it and some are beginning to figure out how to act.

  • After 5000 years of slavery, we can now bring it to an end - we've got the knowledge, the laws, the resources, and the will if we choose to make it happen.

  • Sorry Dawn, but there's just not enough bandwidth for everyone to have several hundred people on something like skype. wish we could!

  • That's actually a great question that we are still finding out the answer to - for example, very recent work points to slavery in the construction industry in the developed world - so much nearer than slaves in the Congo that might be contributing to your phone. Economic and industrial sector analysis is a new and growing area.

  • Hi Viktoria, I certainly HOPE we can achieve a " ’unity’ of NGOs and INGOs (an other institutions) working on the field of environmental protection and human rights". I wrote the book aiming at exactly that. I feel they have much more to benefit than to lose by cooperating at the places when slavery and environmental issues intersect. Exactly HOW to bring them...

  • Hi - more progress is certainly needed, but let me just point out that this is a very recent protocol, and that 50forfreedom campaign is very new as well. Getting any international instrument, convention or protocol, ratified takes a long time. This one is actually moving pretty quickly!

  • Manning was not the only whistle-blower penalised for exposing military involvement in trafficking - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Bolkovac
    I don't think that slavery is thriving more than at any time in history, all the evidence says otherwise, but that just means we're making progress and need to press on it harder.

  • There is a lot of discussion going on in the USA now about the 13th Amendment and slavery in prisons. When one could assume that due process was applied - that every person who ended up in prison was fairly tried, was found guilty by peers, retained their constitutional rights, and then held by the state, and required to do some work, it was hard to call that...

  • Yes, slavery is pernicious and it is hiding, but our job is to uncover it as best we can and to study so as to anticipate where it might go next. You can't really worry about a gem you've inherited from your mother, that's in the past and any chance to change whatever situation it came from is likely gone. BUT we can think about the phones and tablets, learn...

  • Stephen, this is an interesting post - speculative yes, but no harm in that since we should be thinking ahead, not just waiting for problems to develop. AI opens a lot of ethical questions. But more immediate are your thoughts about slavery ON the internet - this does occur: people are enslaved and then sexually exploited in front of webcams and people pay to...

  • Hi EVERYONE - In this step it suggests you might watch a longer talk on this subject. Just wanted to tell you that in addition to the link given I've done a more recent talk that runs about 17 minutes and can be found here: http://falling-walls.com/videos/Kevin-Bales-10661
    Thanks
    kevin

  • HI Deborah - just to add - that number of 27 million was work I did in the 1990s, it was the first published estimate of global slavery, but my data and methods were weak (as I said very clearly when it was published) - so it is both OLD and WEAK. The most recent figure of 45 million is from 2016, and based on much stronger data and methods. Expect a new...

  • Thomas Clarkson is a hero of mine.

  • Hi Katarina, yes, there were dissenting voices, but very very few. In many ways the primarily "abolitionist" movements in the Roman period were revolts by slaves (which isn't really the same thing as a social movement). There were three of these to be recorded as national 'wars'. They are known as the Servile Wars (from the latin "servus" meaning slave). The...

  • Great! let's talk offline - drop me an email.

  • HI Naor - yes, I'm going to go get some supper now! See you next week.
    Thanks everyone - great questions!
    kevin

  • Hi Viktoria, this is a great question because your special knowledge helps us pinpoint the tricky parts of measurement. Hungary is one of the countries where we don't have a random sample survey, and also where we don't have a multiple systems estimation - MSE (yet! Hungary would be a very good candidate to carry out MSE and we would love to have a chance to...

  • Thanks Naor - definitely for education for the liberated, initiation program and personal development, rehabilitation etc. - because no one BUYS slaves to get them to freedom since 1. it is illegal and 2. it simply puts money in the pockets of criminals to continue enslaving people.

  • In a word, yes. Look at the way that Freedom Fund does this (see their website), coordinating NGOs in India (and other places), getting them to use the same methods for monitoring and evaluating their results (comparing apples with apples!) and the result is rapid cross-fertilisation and improvement of liberation. We'll see much more of this in the future, and...

  • Hi Tok, we know the cost of liberation, rehabilitation, and reintegration in many different contexts - because the organisations doing the work keep careful records. If you then take the cost-per-liberation/reintegration for different places and countries, and multiply up to the total number of estimated slaves while adjusting for the differing costs in...

  • Hi Tok, we know the cost of liberation, rehabilitation, and reintegration in many different contexts - because the organisations doing the work keep careful records. If you then take the cost-per-liberation/reintegration for different places and countries, and multiply up to the total number of estimated slaves while adjusting for the differing costs in...

  • That's right Karine, we use stats to discover what seem to be the main factors supporting slavery in different countries and context - clearly conflict is a key factor since when wars break out the rule of law collapses and people are much more easily enslaved - as in Syria right now.

  • Hi Karine, actually that 27 million number was from 1998 and put together with very loose methods (I know, it's my number - and was the first attempt to achieve a global number). The 45.8 million is from 2016 and based on much much better research methods and much more accurate and reliable. So not so much a surprise as a much better 'microscope' that sees...

  • You were right to think about survivor's experiences - there are plenty of areas of slavery that will need qualitative research first - to help us get the understanding we need to go deeper - and case studies especially since that is a good way to explore a subject where the data is thin. How people understand or rationalise or feel about slavery in different...

  • Victoria, you've hit a lot of good points and areas in the intersection of tech and slavery - there's no good source on this (though I'm working on a book about this with a Norwegian think tank) - there some great NGOs like Thorn that use tech to fight slavery, and plenty of ways that criminals use tech to engage in slavery. And then there is the interesting...

  • The key here is that we would know where to place programmes, and how to adjust existing techniques, and then the monitoring and evaluation of those programmes (more data!) would help to refine them and make them more effective.

  • Good point! Sometimes it does seem that some Libertarians mainly want liberty for themselves, and hang the rest.

  • Hi Viktoria - first, thank you for your important work in educating others about modern slavery and especially about techniques to help survivors.
    You're right, there are sometimes these rare cases that mix kidnapping with slavery with another strange and usually twisted perspective. I am thinking about the tiny 'Marxist Cult' that was found out in South...

  • I can't tell a lot from the abstract, except that these three people believe that trade should be completely unfettered - which most people think is a bad idea since the past shows that leads to lead in paint and filth and disease in food, etc etc. I have to admit I tend to ignore stuff like this, rather than use up valuable time confronting it because...

  • Yes, we're doing a lot now with satellite images - check out this short article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/10/23/satellites-reveal-child-slave-camps-in-unesco-protected-park-in/

  • Not so well. There was some real progress when the old dictator died and they had their first legitimate elections. The new government started a slavery eradication programme, but then there was a military coup - and slavery was back in business. Some very heroic antislavery workers are fighting the good fight, but often ending up in prison. Google slavery in...

  • Hi Caroline, the new technique we use for developed countries like the UK is Multiple Systems Estimation - let me pop a citation in here: “Modern Slavery in the UK: How many victims?” Significance (journal of the Royal Statistical Society), (June, 2015) Kevin Bales, Olivia Hesketh and Bernard Silverman. That will give you the full explanation of exactly how it...

  • Phil - you're right slavery IS different in different contexts, BUT it is still slavery, so if you focus on the root facts, there's usually a way to get at it. Plus we do know how to successfully address a lot of the forms of slavery. But you need planning and ways to measure effectiveness.

    I wish I could believe that general improvements will gradually...

  • Hi Aisling, I am especially interested in divestment, I think this is the way to go when a company is clearly not doing the right thing even after having a clear indication of the problem and solution. Boycotts are very blunt instruments and because slave labour actually makes up a very small part of any commodity boycotts will risk damaging poor people large...

  • I agree, I feel there should be a serious threat to cancel the WC if they don't clean up their act.

  • There's a lot to be said about the role of the UN, both in terms of what they do and all that they could and should do, but don't. If you have a look at my book Ending Slavery, you'll find a whole chapter about the UN and how it could be much more effective fighting slavery. That said, there has been real progress in the UN in the past few years and SDG 8.7 is...

  • Victoria - sorry, I should say, there's no skype-like live chat, we have to use text based since students are all over the world, and many don't have the bandwidth for vid-chat. So I hang out and type as fast as I can!

  • Yes, it's the one you just posted on....
    Thanks
    kevin

  • By typing a question as you just did...
    Welcome
    Kevin