Contemporary slavery and international trade

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants SRG18R1\180545

Title: Contemporary Slavery and International Trade: Theory and Evidence

Estimates suggest that 25 million people are currently subject to forced labour. Excluding sexual exploitation, some 16 million people are victims of forced labour exploitation in the private sector in activities including domestic work, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing, as well as mining, among others. The prevalence of forced labour is highest in Asia & the Pacific and Europe & Central Asia with 4.0 and 3.6 victims, respectively, for every 1,000 people in the region. Despite important political commitments to end forced labour, including Article 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Modern Slavery Act in the UK, there is virtually no economic literature investigating the likely effects of international trade and anti-forced labour policies on the prevalence of forced labour. The research carried out in this project contributes to fil this gap and explores these questions theoretically and empirically.

We summarize the project’s findings in two discussion papers (drafts are available upon request):

  • Garments, gold, and greed: forced labor in general equilibrium, with A Cristóbal-Campoamor (30 pages)
  • International trade and forced labor, with F Albornoz, L Frones, and T Landman (33 pages)