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The EU has been reluctant to engage in the negotiations for a UN treaty on business and human rights because such a treaty would have an impact on the competitiveness of EU-based corporations in the global marketplace, in particular, vis-à-vis competitors from developing and emerging states. Bearing in mind these observations relating to the EU’s position in the ongoing treaty process, this chapter aims to assess whether the EU has been able to mitigate the effects on the competitiveness of EU-based corporations in its unilateral ‘business and human rights’ legislative initiatives. After assessing which initiatives have been prioritised by the European Commission, this chapter investigates to what extent competition from non-EU corporations – and, in particular, corporations from developing and emerging states – has been taken into account during the drafting process of these initiatives, and to what extent they have a regulatory impact on such corporations. This chapter also discusses private international law issues.
In 1820, King Radama of Imerina, Madagascar signed a treaty allowing approximately one hundred young Malagasy to train abroad under official British supervision, the so-called 'Madagascar Youths'. In this lively and carefully researched book, Gwyn Campbell traces the Youths' untold history, from the signing of the treaty to their eventual recall to Madagascar. Extensive use of primary sources has enabled Campbell to explore the Madagascar Youths' experiences in Britain, Mauritius and aboard British anti-slave trade vessels, and their instrumental role in the modernisation of Madagascar. Through this remarkable history, Campbell examines how Malagasy-British relations developed, then soured, providing vital context to our understanding of slavery, mission activity and British imperialism in the nineteenth century.
As has now been well publicized, there is serious and credible evidence that Uyghur and other minority communities in China are being forced into internment or ‘re-education’ camps,1 with strong links to subsequent forced labour in factories, particularly centred in Xinjiang province.2 The use of forced labour (intimately connected to many international supply chains) as a hallmark feature of the Chinese state’s oppression of its Uyghur peoples requires a ‘business and human rights’ (BHR) lens to responses to the human rights violations in the region.
In February 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a decision—Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya, 2020 SCC 5—that can properly be described as revolutionary. In Nevsun, the court found that a Canadian corporation operating in a host state, Eretria, could be liable under Canadian domestic law for human rights abuses committed in Eritrea under customary international law, as incorporated into Canadian domestic law. The decision merits special attention because it is likely to fundamentally change the relationship between foreign investors, host states and the residents of host states adversely affected by investors’ unlawful conduct which amount to modern slavery.
This chapter examines the social history of slavery in the early Ottoman Empire. Arguing that the range of forms of enslavement and forced labour practiced in the Ottoman Empire cannot be described by the current ‘universal’ definitions of slavery, this chapter looks at the role of slavery in Ottoman dynastic politics, the social history of military and administrative slavery, and the slavery of skilled workers as central to the economic production of the early modern urban centres of the Ottoman Empire. The chapter concludes with an examination of the legal categories that were applied to different forms of slavery and manumission, and presents to the reader to a range of primary and secondary sources for the research of slavery in the Ottoman Empire.
Chapter 8 examines the law governing the exploitation of people’s labour by fighting organizations. The chapter focuses on the international crimes of enslavement and forced labour in armed conflict, as well as the recruitment of children, with a focus on how prohibitions and crime definitions apply to the predatory exploitation of labour in the context of irregular warfare.
This chapter analyses the growing use of ethical certification schemes as a strategy to fight forced labor in the contemporary global economy. It draws on a large primary dataset from the Global Business of Forced Labour study, collected from 2016–2018, which sheds light into the business models of forced labor in the cocoa and tea industries as well as the effectiveness of ethical certification in combatting forced labor. Drawing on data that demonstrates that ethical certification schemes are failing to create worksites that are free from exploitation, I argue that ethical certification labelling is misleading consumers about the labor conditions involved in the goods they are buying. I explore the contradictions of selling "ethical" products that give the impression that goods have been made through labor standards that they are known to fall short of. I explore the challenge of modernizing historically successful strategies to combat slavery made-goods for use in the present.
Over the last two decades, fighting modern slavery and human trafficking have become a cause célèbre. Yet, large numbers of researchers, nongovernmental organizations, trade unions, workers, and others who would seem like natural allies of the fight against modern slavery and trafficking are hugely skeptical of these movements. They object to anti-slavery and anti-trafficking framings of the problems, and are skeptical of the "new abolitionist" movement. Why? In this Introduction, we explain how our edited book tackles key controversies surrounding the anti-slavery and anti-trafficking movements and scholarship head-on. We have assembled champions and sceptics of anti-slavery to explore the fissures and fault-lines that surround efforts to fight modern slavery and human trafficking today. These include: whether efforts to fight modern slavery displace or crowd out support for labor and migrant rights; whether and to what extent efforts to fight modern slavery mask, naturalize, and distract from racial, gendered, and economic inequality; and whether contemporary anti-slavery and anti-trafficking crusaders’ use of history are accurate and appropriate.
For nearly 300 years, the Knights of St John forced a range of captives to labour on their galleys, with slave, convict and debtor oarsmen propelling the Knights’ navy in their crusade against Islam. This article considers how we can investigate these captives and the consequences of their presence in Malta by reconfiguring captivity as a process that extended into wider society. By seeking material traces of captivity at sea on board galleys and on land, the article opens new investigative avenues into early modern captivity in the Mediterranean. In addition, it brings to current debates a rare archaeological example of modern slavery within a European context.
Wages – the monetary payments that workers receive from employers in exchange for their labour – are widely overlooked in academic and policy debates about human rights and business in global supply chains. They shouldn’t be. Just as living wages can insulate workers from human rights abuse and labour exploitation, wages that hover around or below the poverty line, compounded by illegal practices like wage theft and delayed payment, leave workers vulnerable to severe labour exploitation and human rights abuse. This article draws on data from a study of global tea and cocoa supply chains to explore the impact of wages on one of the most severe human rights abuses experienced in global supply chains, forced labour. Demonstrating that low-wage workers experience high vulnerability to forced labour in global supply chains, it argues that the role of wages in shaping or protecting workers from exploitation needs to be taken far more seriously by scholars and policymakers. When wages are ignored, so too is a crucial tool to protect human rights and heighten business accountability in global supply chains.
Chapter 9 appraises the use of Southeast Asian labour by the Japanese. Subjects discussed include forced labour, Japan’s policy of enslaving comfort women and the recruitment of workers for Japanese armed forces. Construction projects, including the Thailand-Burma railway, relied heavily on forced labour and took an enormous death toll among workers, both Southeast Asian and Allied prisoner.
Chapter 5 frames the book’s narrative in the style of a lengthy coda. It is concerned with how the bark’s prevalence, wide fame and general ‘usefulness’ in therapeutic practice among geographically disperse and socially diverse societies affected its natural habitat in the central and northern Andes. The bark’s very ‘mobility’ and the popular demand that arose for it, the chapter argues, altered the harvest areas’ landscape of possession, commerce and demographics, the distribution and abundance of vegetation, and the livelihood, health and fate of the men and women implicated in harvesting, processing and conveying the bark. The chapter reminds readers, at parting, how plant trade, therapeutic exchange and epistemic brokerage are not extricable from time and space. Consumption and the imaginaries, therapeutic practice and medical understandings attendant to it invariably begins with changes to the material world, to physical nature and society.
From December 1941, Japan, as part of its plan to build an East Asian empire and secure oil supplies essential for war in the Pacific, swiftly took control of Southeast Asia. Japanese occupation had a devastating economic impact on the region. Japan imposed country and later regional autarky on Southeast Asia, dictated that the region finance its own occupation, and sent almost no consumer goods. GDP fell by half everywhere in Southeast Asia except Thailand. Famine and forced labour accounted for most of the 4.4 million Southeast Asian civilian deaths under Japanese occupation. In this ground-breaking new study, Gregg Huff provides the first comprehensive account of the economies and societies of Southeast Asia during the 1941-1945 Japanese occupation. Drawing on materials from 25 archives over three continents, his economic, social and historical analysis presents a new understanding of Southeast Asian history and development before, during and after the Pacific War.
The Nuremberg trials largely focused on foreign forced labour brought to the Reich, and Norway was a large net receiver as well (whereas most other occupied countries were net suppliers). Therefore, the overall question guiding this chapter is why the nexus between excessive war profits and exploitation of forced labour was so weak during the Norwegian legal settlement. The answer takes account of the fact that the focus on exploitation of forced labour at Nuremberg and subsequent tribunals corresponded to norms inherent in international law (war crimes, crimes against humanity) whereas the Norwegian neglect followed from a strict framing of national law. Cases related to criminal commercial collaboration were pursued from the perspective of national treason. Because the Allies had agreed that each country should prosecute war crimes against its nationals, Norwegian jurisprudence was allowed to sustain its bias towards national treason. This meant that Norwegian businesses which had in various ways been involved in the Nazi slave labour program were never properly investigated for possible exploitation of foreign forced labour. Consequently, whereas German historiography has elaborated the nexus between forced labour and war profits, the Norwegian counterpart has not.
The chapter examines the evolution over the past twenty years of a complex transnational legal order or TLO around the 2000 Palermo Protocol on Trafficking. It elaborates on why despite the Protocol’s high rates of ratification, the anti-trafficking TLO is poorly institutionalized attributing it to the various phases of the TLO’s development, the discursive and ideological issues that are at its core, the factors for its institutionalization relating to concordance and issue alignment, and the varied regulatory fields that it has implicated. Paradoxically however, the criminal justice approach to trafficking inherent in the Palermo Protocol remains hegemonic. This hegemony however cannot be simply attributed to the unidirectional influence and dissemination of transnational (and Western) ideas about how to address the problem. Rather, using the example of the India, the chapter shows how national legal contexts are crucial to when and how the logic of criminalization is pursued. The recursive nature of the trafficking TLO is therefore significant and helps explain the normative basis for the authority of transnational law.
Although colonial officials had very little money, their superiors nevertheless demanded that certain tasks be accomplished. In particular, they required labour. And since most Africans were uninterested in exchanging their labour for the special-use currencies the French were offering, labour had to be acquired through force. Manhunting therefore became colonial officials’ major undertaking during the colony’s early decades, particularly in the hunting zone. The cruelty of manhunting and of the way in which labour was squeezed from the captured comes across as scandalous today; it did for many at the time as well. Many Europeans involved with manhunting experienced the tension between the future-oriented goals justifying their presence and the actual practices they engaged in (or allowed, or did not punish) as conflicts of values. The conflicts stemmed in part from the multiple arenas in which they sought to be effective actors: how what happened in the Central African interior was perceived by imperial institutions and audiences, and the unfolding of interpersonal relations in the interior where manhunting was necessary to acquisition and exploitation. In neither arena was law much of a guide to action. Instead, ambitious colonial officials learned the skill of camouflage: managing the faces they showed to different audiences so that their practices would not stand out as questionable. Along the way, manhunts entrenched a simultaneously acquisitive and neglectful way of thinking about the value and status of other people.
In the early years of the Cold War, important debates took place on the nature and scope of both slavery and forced labour. The adoption of the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery in 1956 and the vote on the Convention on the Abolition of Forced Labour in 1957 were preceded by long and heated discussions within key international bodies such as the United Nations Social and Economic Council (‘ECOSOC’) and the International Labour Organization (‘ILO’). Yet, conventional legal histories tend to minimise these debates on the ground that they relate to the ‘political context’ of the Cold War. What is more, they tend to present the adoption of the two conventions as building blocks of the abolitionary project pursued by modern international law. My aim in this chapter is to destabilise such linear narratives. Focusing on the issue of forced labour, I will make five points.