Kevin Bales is Professor of Contemporary Slavery at the
Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation. He
was Co-Founder of Free the Slaves, the US Sister organization of
Anti-Slavery International and is Emeritus Professor of Sociology
at Roehampton University in London. He also serves on the Board of
Directors of the International Cocoa Initiative. His book
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy
published in 1999, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and has
now been published in ten other languages. Archbishop Desmond Tutu
called it “a well researched, scholarly and deeply disturbing
expose of modern slavery”. In 2008 he was invited to address the
Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Paris, and to join in the
planning of the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative.
In 2006 his work was named one of the top “100 World-Changing
Discoveries” by the Association of British Universities. The
Italian edition of Disposable People won the Premio
Viareggio for services to humanity in 2000, and the documentary
based on his work, which he co-wrote, Slavery: A Global
Investigation , won the Peabody Award for 2000 and two Emmy
Awards in 2002. Other awards include the Laura Smith Davenport
Human Rights Award in 2005; the Judith Sargeant Murray Award for
Human Rights in 2004; and the Human Rights Award of the University
of Alberta in 2003. He was also awarded a Prime Mover Fellowship by
the Hunt Alternatives Fund in 2009 and a Doctorate of Humane
Letters, Honoris Causa , by Loyola University Chicago, in
He was a Trustee of Anti-Slavery International and a consultant
to the United Nations Global Program on Trafficking of Human
Beings. He has been invited to advise the US, British, Irish,
Norwegian, and Nepali governments, as well as the governments of
the Economic Community of West African States, on the formulation
of policy on slavery and human trafficking. He edited an Anti-Human
Trafficking Toolkit for the United Nations, and published, with the
Human Rights Center at Berkeley, a report on forced labour in the
USA, and completed a two-year study of human trafficking into the
US for the National Institute of Justice. His book
Understanding Global Slavery was published in September
2005. He is the author of New Slavery: A Reference
Handbook (revised 2nd ed. 2005). In 2007 he published
Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves , a roadmap for
the global eradication of slavery which won the 2011 Grawemeyer
Award for Ideas Promoting World Order. In 2008, with Zoe Trodd, he
published To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today’s
Slaves ; and with eight Magnum photographers, Documenting
Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery . In 2009 he
published with Ron Soodalter The Slave Next Door: Human
Trafficking and Slavery in America Today , the first full
exploration of contemporary slavery in the United States. He is
currently writing a book on the relationship between slavery and
environmental destruction, and with Jody Sarich a book on forced
He gained his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics.
- Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves, University
of California Press, September 2007.
- Winner of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Promoting World Order
2011 ($100,000); also published in Japanese and Finnish.
- Understanding Global Slavery, University of California
Press, October, 2005.
- Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy,
University of California Press, April 1999. Also published in
Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Norwegian, Russian, Turkish,
Korean, Arabic, and Japanese. Winner of the 2000 Premio
Internazionale Viareggio Versilia, literary prize (approximately
$6,000) awarded to a book that promotes social justice and peace.
Revised Edition published in 2004; “10th Anniversary”
revised edition to be published in 2012.
- New Slavery: A Reference Handbook, part of the
Contemporary World Issues Series published by ABC-Clio,
September, 2000. Revised edition published in 2005.
Co-Authored or Edited Books
- The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in
America Today, University of California Press, 2009, with Ron
- Modern Slavery, OneWorld Publications, 2009, with Zoe
Trodd and Alex Williamson
- To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today’s
Slaves, Cornell University Press, 2008, with Zoe Trodd
- Documenting Disposable People: Contemporary Global
Slavery, Hayward Publishing, 2008, 158 pages, Project to
survey contemporary global slavery carried out with eight Magnum
photographers: Abbas, Ian Berry, Stuart Franklin, Jim Goldberg,
Susan Meiselas, Paolo Pellegrin, Chris Steele-Perkins, and Alex
- Traffik, Powerhouse Books, 2008, Text for photographic
project on survivors of trafficking into sexual enslavement with
photographer Norman Jean Roy.
- Slavery Today – A Groundwork Guide, Groundwood Books,
2008, with R.T. Cornell (co-author). Also published in Korean,
German, and Swedish.
- Anti-Trafficking Toolkit prepared for the United
Nations Global Program on Trafficking in Persons, Centre for
International Crime Prevention, Vienna, 2002, with Angelika
Kartusch and Burkhard Dammann (@100,000 words total)
- The Social Survey Movement in Historical Perspective
1880-1930, Cambridge University Press, 1991, with Martin
Bulmer and K.K. Sklar (co-editors).
- "Slavery in its Contemporary Manifestations” in The Legal
Understanding of Slavery: From the Historical to the
Contemporary, Jean Allain (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University
- "The Paradox of Women, Children, and Slavery” in
Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake: Law and the Experience of Women
and Children in Africa, Benjamin N. Lawrence and Richard L.
Roberts (eds), Ohio University Press, 2012, pp 241-253, with Jody
- "The Anti-Slavery Movement: Making Rights Reality” in From
Human Trafficking to Human Rights: Reframing Contemporary
Slavery, Alison Brysk and Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick (eds),
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012, with Austin
- "Anti-Slavery and the Redefinition of Justice” in Global Civil
Society 2011 – Globality and the Absence of Justice,
Martin Albrow and Hakan Sekinelgin, London: Palgrave McMillan,
2011, pp. 64-77, with Jody Sarich.
- "Afterword – The End of Child Slavery?” in Child Slavery
Now: A Contemporary Reader, Gary Craig (Editor) Bristol,
Policy Press, 2010.
- “Five Themes of Failure” Preface to Unfinished Business: A
Comparative Survey of Historical and Contemporary Slavery by
Joel Quirk, Paris, UNESCO Publications, 2009
- "All of it is Now” in Many Middle Passages: Forced
Migration and the Making of the Modern World, Cassandra Pybus,
Emma Christopher, Marcus Rediker (eds.), University of California
Press 2007, with Zoe Trodd, pp. 222-34.
- "Physical and Mental Health Aspects of Rehabilitating Children
Freed from Slavery” in Child Labour Research, Bureau of
International Labour Affairs, 2007, with Judy Hyde and Marc
- "The New Slavery” in The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader
in Ethics and Literature, Louis P. Pojman (ed.) Oxford
University Press, 3rd edition, 2007.
- "Foreword” in Buying Freedom: The Ethics and Economics of
Slave Redemption, K. Anthony Appiah and Martin Bunzl (eds.)
Princeton University Press, 2007.
- "How We Will End Slavery in the 21st Century” in
Slavery Then and Now (2 Volumes Commemorating the
200th anniversary of the end of the slave trade in the
British Empire), Jubilee Publishing, 2007.
- Non-State Actors and the Challenge of Slavery” in Centre
Stage: Non-state Actors in the Human Rights Universe, George
Andreopoulos, Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat, Peter Juviler (eds.)
Kumarian Press, 2006.
- "Racism and Modern Slavery” in Dimensions of Racism –
Anti-Discrimination Series Vol. 1, Kevin Boyle (ed.) United Nations
(UNESCO) Publications, 2005, with Jessica Reitz, pp. 99-110.
- "Because She Looks Like a Child” in Gender through the
Prism of Difference, Maxine Baca, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo,
Michael A. Messner.(eds.) Oxford University Press, 2005, pp.
- "Stolen Goods” in Die Zehn Gebote, Hrsg. Klaus
Biesenbach für das Deutsches Hygiene Museum Hatje Cantz Verlag
- "Because She Looks Like a Child” in Global Woman: Nannies,
Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy, Barbara Ehrenreich
and Arlie Russell Hochschild (eds.) Metropolitan Press, 2003.
- "The Construction of Biblical Certainty: Textual Optimism and
the United Bible Societies” in Studies in the Early Text of the
Gospels and Acts, D.G.K. Taylor (ed.) University of Birmingham
Press, 1999, with Kent Clarke.
- "The Dual Labour Market of the Illicit Economy” in
Sociological Theory, Randall Collins (ed.) Jossey-Bass,
- "The Nicaraguan Prison System,” in The World’s
Prisons, The Howard League, 1991, with V. Baumann.
- "Winning the Fight: Eradicating Slavery in the Modern Age,”
Harvard International Review, Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring 2009.
- "Investigating Human Trafficking: Challenges, Lessons Learned,
and Best Practices,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Vol.
76, No. 4, April 2007, with Steven Lize.
- “The Next Step in the Fight Against Human Trafficking:
Outlawing the Trade in Slave-Made Goods,” Intercultural Human
Rights Law Review, Vol. 1, June 2006, with R. T. Cornell, pp.
- "Hidden Slaves: Forced Labour in the United States,”
Berkeley Journal of International Law Volume 23, Number 1,
2005, with Laurel Fletcher and Eric Stover, pp. 47-111.
- "Slavery and the Human Right to Evil,” Journal of Human
Rights, Vol. 3 No. 1, March 2004, pp. 53-63.
- "International Labour Standards: Quality of Information and
Measures of Progress in Combating Forced Labour,” Comparative
Labour Law and Policy, Vol. 24, No. 2, Winter 2004
- "The Social Psychology of Modern Slavery,” Scientific
American, April, 2002.
- "Slavery and the Shadow Economy,” Journal of International
Affairs, Vol. 53, No.2, Spring 2000.
- "No One Shall Be Held in Slavery or Servitude:
A Critical Analysis of International Slavery Agreements,” Human
Rights Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, Jan. 2001, with Peter
- "Expendable People: Slavery in the Age of Globalization”
Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 53, No. 2, Spring
- "Globalization and Slavery,” International Dialogue,
Vol. 1, Summer 1999.
- "What Predicts Human Trafficking?” Proceedings of the
United Nations Conference on Human Trafficking, Verona,
- "Popular Reactions to Sociological Research: The Case of
Charles Booth,” Sociology, Vol. 33 No.1, February
- "Measuring the Propensity to Volunteer,” Social Policy and
Administration, Vol. 30, No. 3, September 1996.
- "Lives and Labour in the emergence of organised social research
1886-1907,” The Journal of Historical Sociology, Vol. 9
No.2, July 1996.
- "Television and the Cultivation of Adolescent Occupational
Expectation,” Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology, Vol. 16,
No. 1 May 1988, with John Ryan and Michael Hughes.
- "Reclamation of Antique Data: Charles Booth’s Poverty Study One
Hundred Years On,” Urban History Yearbook, 1986.
- "Determinants in the Perception of Visual Blight” Human
Ecology, Vol. 13 No. 3, 371-387, 1985.
- "Nicole Oresme and Medieval Social Science,” American
Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 42, No. 1, January
- "Contrast and Complementarity in Three Theories of Criminal
Behaviour,” Deviant Behaviour, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1982.
- "Between Philosophy and Science: An Interview with Jurgen
Habermas,” Quarterly Journal of Ideology, Vol. 5, No. 2,
Summer 1981, with Maurizia Tovo.
- "Implementing Sociology in Secondary Schools,” Sociological
Spectrum, 2:177, 1981, with Larry W. DeBord.
- "What Introductory Sociology Students Learn,” Free Inquiry
in Creative Sociology, Vol. 8, No. 2, November 1980.
- "Cumulative Scaling of Paternalistic Behaviour in Primates,”
The American Naturalist, September 1980, Vol. 115, No. 3,
- "Who Shall Cross Over? Changing Country Music,” Journal of
the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Vol. 3,
No. 1, January 1980, with John Ryan.
- "Experiential Learning: A Review and Annotated Bibliography,”
Journal of Cooperative Education, Vol. 15, No. 3, Autumn
- "The Single Parent Family: Aspirations and Academic
Achievement,” Southern Journal of Educational Research,
Vol. 13:4, Autumn 1979.
A large number of research surveys and reports for
governments, charitable and public interest organisations, of which
the following are the more substantial examples:
- "Recovering Childhoods: Combating Child Trafficking in Northern
India,” A Report to the United States Department of State, Office
to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, October 2005, (114
- "Hidden Slaves: Forced Labour in the United States,” Nation
report to the International Labour Office for the Global Survey of
Forced Labour, with the Human Rights Centre, U. of California
Berkeley, Sept. 2004.
- "Trafficking in Persons in the United States,” A Report to the
National Institute of Justice, submitted April, 2004. (Grant #
2001-IJ-CX-0027) (67,500 words).
- "The Use of Video in Educating Charity Supporters,” Oxfam,
- "Charity Giving and Public Support for Legacies to Development
Agencies,” Oxfam, three surveys and three reports: 1998 and
- "Social Needs Assessment Survey,” for Church of England Diocese
of Guildford, August 1997.
- "Religious participation and charitable support,” for SHELTER,
- "Measuring the propensity to volunteer,” for Oxfam, Spring
- People Need Homes: The Findings - A National Programme of
Local Research and Action on Housing and Homelessness, (with
Niall Cooper), Churches National Housing Coalition, 1995.
- "Survey of Workers in the IT Industry,” for the trade union
M.S.F., Spring 1994
- “Giving patterns and charitable participation,” survey,
qualitative research, and report, for Oxfam, October 1993.
- "Workers, work issues, and communications,” survey and report
for the trade union G.M.B 1992.
- "Arts, Culture and Entertainment in Exeter - Public and
Business Use and Perceptions,” survey and report for Exeter
Council, June 1991, with Tim Hunter.
- "Evaluation of the Emergency Contraception Pharmacy Healthcare
Scheme,” survey and report for the Family Planning Association,
April 1990, with Dawn Snape.
- "Restructuring for the 1990’s,” survey and consultative report
for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 1990, with Simon
Publications in Other Media
- Text, Data sets, and materials in BBC Domesday Optical
Discs, (LV-ROM) equivalent to 1000 pages. November 1986.
- Editorial Introduction to Microfilm Edition of the Booth
Archive Materials, Research Publications Ltd., 1988.
- ‘The British Crime Survey for Schools’, (booklet and computer
files), HMSO/ESRC, 1989.
- “Slavery: A Global Investigation” TrueVision Productions 2000
(winner of the 2001 Peabody for Documentary; winner of the 2002
Emmy Award for best documentary long-form, and the 2002 Emmy Award
- "The New Abolitionists” Mayfield Productions 2002