Slaves supply us with many of the things we buy. But we offer the world’s largest multidisciplinary research programme on slavery in supply chains. Our programme consists of four main areas: detecting modern slavery and human rights violations in supply chains; changing supply chain design to reduce modern slavery and human rights violations; diffusing responsible practices in complex supply chain networks; and engaging closely with industry as the key change mechanism. For example, we offer a step change by factoring in slavery to supply chain design from the outset. We are establishing a typology of supply chain structures from an ethical performance perspective, simulating the impact of structural changes, investigating the tipping point for designers, and establishing what level of risk will prompt design amendments. Our research proposes a democratisation of supply chains, connecting the individual actors. Availability of information enables practitioners to make ethically informed decisions and allows accountability in the supply chain. We are designing an extension of quality management tools to ethical compliance and creating simulations that can forecast the impact of potential changes.
Rather than having to end poverty to end slavery, can we end slavery to help end poverty? We are completing the first extended analysis of contemporary slavery’s political economy. While there are studies analysing labour markets, systematic studies on the economic incentives of contemporary slavery are missing. Our work includes an analysis of the economic incentives for using slave labour, and an analysis of factors that determine the vulnerability of a person. This enables deeper investigations of markets for different types of enslaved labour. We are also demontrating how slavery impacts the economy and development of a country, and measuring the dividend that comes with liberation. Here we statistically model and measure the economic benefits of ending slavery. We aim to show the theoretical benefits of eradicating modern slavery on the wider economy, and provide a solid scientific basis for encouraging countries to prioritise antislavery efforts.