Track 1.2: Modern Slavery and Markets

Modern slavery is a wide-spread, global problem (Kara 2009, 2012). The International Labor Organization (ILO) along with the Walk Free Foundation (2018) estimates that about 40.3 million people are in modern slavery (ILO 2017).  Indeed, there are more slaves in the contemporary world than was ever the case in the last 500 years (Bales et al., 2009). Modern slavery is not limited to the Global South. It is estimated that about 400,000 people are currently enslaved in the US, and that at least 1 million people are modern slaves across Europe ( Modern slavery is often invisible to those who live work and consume in the same communities. Many of these people are victims of human trafficking and are enslaved in industries, such as, domestic work, agriculture, restaurants/food service, and the sex trade, with women and girls representing the largest share of forced labour victims . 

Track Focus
In this track we draw on Kilbourne and Mittelstaedt (2012) to ask: what would the market look like if consumption were not separated from its production consequences? In doing so, we propose to empirically explore the intersections between production and consumption at an individual consumer level in the context of localised modern slavery, such as, enslaved workers in the UK and US. Specifically, we investigate: (1) how consumers/producers understand modern slavery within their own country and the consequences of their consumption/production choices on enslaved people; (2) what is role of markets in furthering modern slavery; (3) localised consumer/producer success stories to understand positive change factors; and (3) the impact of making the invisible enslavement practices visible on consumption/production of objects produced locally and globally.

Track Goals
1. Advancement of academic theory on modern slavery from a consumer perspective.
2. Influence practice through workshops and seminars for government officials, NGOs, and businesses.

Track Participants and Activities
We seek to collaborate with TCR researchers internationally with an interest in modern slavery, human rights, social justice and/or consumption and production ethics. Interdisciplinary and all methodological approaches are most welcome. We also welcome junior scholars, both in the final stages of their PhD and 3 years post-PhD.


Track participants will be required to prepare a case of modern slavery with primary data in their community/country prior to the conference. A broad guide will be circulated to the track team to assist with this pre-work.


We will meet and work as a team in an intensive workshop format to de-brief on the pre-work, and to use this pre-work as a platform to develop specific research aims, questions and plans. These will be engaging sessions, coordinated by the track chairs and participated in by all.


Towards the development of an empirical paper for a suitable outlet, track members will be engaging in novel and localised methodological approaches that will make the invisible – localised slaves – visible, such as bringing consumers and individual producers together over stories of objects of consumption and their production under local slave labour conditions. We will then work together to develop a paper and an edited book. These activities will be coordinated by the track chairs. In addition, papers and other contributions from this TCR Track will be posted on the following website for broad dissemination (and will include links to the TCR website and other relevant TCR resources):


For queries related to this track please email: Deirdre Shaw,

To apply to this track, please email a Research Vision to Deirdre Shaw,

Track Chair Biographies


Michal Carrington is Associate Professor at Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne. Michal teaches and researches in the broad areas of managerial and marketing ethics, artificial intelligence, Indigenous systems of commerce, ethical consumption and consumer culture. Her work has been published in top international management, marketing and consumer research journals, media publications and presentations, and has contributed to policy development. A major focus of Michal’s research, in collaboration with Andreas Chatzidakis and Deirdre Shaw, investigates consumer perspectives and mobilisation to address modern slavery. Michal is a section editor for Journal of Business Ethics. 


Andreas Chatzidakis is a Professor of Marketing and Consumer Culture, Royal Holloway University of London. His research focuses on broader intersection(s) of consumption with ethics and politics, including, consumer-oriented activism in Athens, role of care and relationality in everyday consumption, geographical, feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to consumption. It has been published in journals, including, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Culture, Journal of Business Ethics, Environment and Planning D, and British Journal of Management; as well books, including, Gendering Marketing, Contemporary Issues in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour and Consumer Ethics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. He is a member of the Care Collective. 

Deirdre Shaw is a Professor Marketing and Consumer Research at the University of Glasgow, Adam Smith Business School. She has researched the area of consumption ethics throughout her career, publishing on the subject in a range of international journals, contributing to books and non-academic publications and giving invited talks, supervising PhD researchers in this area and advising policy, business and third sector. She is Associate Director for the University of Glasgow Centre for Sustainable Solution and Marketing Research Cluster led. Deirdre is Consumer Ethics section co-editor for Journal of Business Ethics.

Rohit Varman is a Professor at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. He uses interpretive methodologies and his current inter-disciplinary research focuses on violence, exploitation, and slavery. He has published his research in several outlets that include Journal of Consumer Research, Organization Science, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Service Research, and Human Relations. 


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