TED Talk By Kevin Bales on Modern Slavery

Kevin Bales Combats Modern Slavery

[Photo by openDemocracy] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Dr. Kevin Bales is an expert on modern slavery and President of a human rights organization called Free the Slaves. In the 1990′s Bales teamed with Simon Pell to form the fundraising and research consultancy Pell & Bales Ltd.

The firm has since grown to be the largest company of its kind in the UK, and has raised over $1 billion for medical charities, human rights groups, environmental campaigns, and overseas development. Martin Albrow’s globalization theory and Darren O’Byrne’s theories on human rights have influenced Bales’ research.

Some of his views on modern slavery were anticipated by contributors to the 1970s mode of production debate, including his work on debt bondage in India and Pakistan. Bales has received many awards and honors for his work throughout the years.

TED Talk By Kevin Bales on Modern Slavery

Kevin Bales gave a TED Talk in which he discussed modern slavery. He said that when he began to research the topic back in the early 1990s, there was very little academic literature to be found on the subject.

All of the articles on slavery were historical in nature, and the only ones on modern slavery were anecdotal and full of speculation. This gap in the literature led him to launch a full research project which took him to five countries around the world, where he met slaves and slaveholders, and looked very deeply into slave-based businesses. He said these businesses continue to exists because they are profitable.

He found agricultural workers in Africa who were whipped and beaten in the fields before they escaped. These people were forced to work without pay, 24/7 under the threat of violence. It is real slavery in exactly the same form that has taken place throughout human history.