Dr. Sandie Morgan is joined by Kevin Bales as the two discuss the importance of intersectionality when fighting to end human trafficking.
Kevin Bales is a professor of contemporary slavery and a co-founder of Free the Slaves, a nonprofit organization that works to end slavery worldwide. He has written several books and articles on modern slavery, human trafficking, and climate change. One of his main ideas is that slavery is not only a human rights violation, but also a major contributor to environmental degradation. Bales argues that slavery and human trafficking are driven by the global demand for cheap goods and services, which creates a market for exploited labor. He also shows how slavery affects the natural resources and ecosystems that sustain life on earth, such as forests, soils, water, and wildlife, calling it the “slavery footprint” of consumption. Bales also explores the concept of intersectionality, which is the idea that different forms of oppression and discrimination, such as race, gender, class, and ethnicity, are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. He suggests that slavery is an extreme form of intersectionality, where the most vulnerable and marginalized people are subjected to the most brutal and dehumanizing treatment. He advocates for a holistic and inclusive approach to ending slavery, that takes into account the diverse needs and perspectives of the enslaved and the liberated. Kevin Bales believes that slavery can be eradicated in our lifetime, if we act collectively and strategically.
- When analyzing contemporary forms of slavery, like human trafficking, it is imperative that the differences in the rates at which different people groups are affected, and how they are affected, be looked at as well.
- Contemporary slavery affects multiple spheres outside of the social injustice sphere, as it is also aiding in the environmental destruction seen today.
- A global campaign, public awareness, and a willingness to give something up, are needed for a national government to aid in the fight to end contemporary slavery. Education is a start to achieving this global campaign.
- “There are links between slavery and genocide.”
- Ensure Justice
- Disposable People by Kevin Bales
- Free the Slaves
- Blood and Earth by Kevin Bales
- UNESCO World Heritage
- TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Office
- Slavery: A Global Investigation
- International Cocoa Initiative
- Tony’s Chocolonely
- Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves by Kevin Bales
Sandra Morgan 0:00
It’s time to register for the annual Ensure Justice Conference at Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice. The conference is always the first Friday and Saturday of March. That way you can make it a recurring event in your calendar. 2024, it’s March 1st and 2nd, we’re just a couple of months away. Our theme is Keeping Our Children Safe Online. We will explore the issues: What is happening online? What are the risks for our children at this stage of their development? What can we do as parents, caregivers, teachers, community members? Our speakers include many of our podcast expert guests, and we are partnering with our Orange County Department of Education. Check out our website for more info and don’t miss the early bird rates. Go on over to gcwj.org/ensurejustice right now. There is a virtual option for our global listeners, as well as special rates for college students. Join us to study the issues, be a voice, and make a difference at Ensure Justice March 1st and 2nd, 2024.
You are listening to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. This is episode #312: How Does Intersectionality Inform Our Response to Human Trafficking?, and we’re talking with Kevin Bales. My name is Dr. Sandie Morgan. This is the show where we empower you to study the issues, be a voice, and make a difference in ending human trafficking. Joining us today is Dr. Kevin Bales, a professor of contemporary slavery and co-founder of Free the Slaves, a nonprofit organization that works to end slavery world wide. Dr. Bales has written several books and articles on modern slavery, human trafficking, and climate change. Kevin advocates for a holistic and inclusive approach to ending slavery that takes into account the diverse needs and perspectives of the enslaved and the liberated. He comes to us now from Nottingham, where he directs the rights lab. Kevin Bales Welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast.
Kevin Bales 3:16
Thank you, it’s great to be here.
Sandra Morgan 3:16
I am so excited to have you in our podcast lineup now because for years, I’ve followed you, I’ve learned from you. I remember when the first estimate of how many slaves there are, came from your office, 27 million. How does it make you feel that the current stats that were out this last year, pretty much verified that guesstimate all those years ago?
Kevin Bales 3:49
Well, it’s a bit larger number, the number that’s just come out, they’re not quite doubling it. But I have to say, I know that to be a better methodology. My methodology was in many ways, very weak and it was just the best we could pull together at the time, when nobody else was really trying to do that. While people read about it in my book, “Disposable People” where I put that number out, most people didn’t read the academic article that I published in parallel, explaining all the problems and all the deficiencies of my estimate, because I wanted to be totally honest about that.
Sandra Morgan 4:25
I read that, I read that.
Kevin Bales 4:27
Oh, good on you!
Sandra Morgan 4:28
Yes, yes, I did, because I was taskforce administrator here in Orange County, first grant for federal funding, and people wanted numbers. And it’s like, there’s no one raising their hand, there’s no census, these are estimates, so I read every word of the academic side. Actually, that kind of leads into my first question here because you’ve dedicated your life and your career to fighting slavery and human trafficking. Why did you choose an academic platform as your field of battle?
Kevin Bales 4:29
I don’t know if I chose an academic platform, in the sense that I was already an academic. It wasn’t like I said, “Okay, now I want to take on slavery. So I guess I’ll become a lecturer or a porter professor.” I had already been doing that, I had been very enamored with the life of the mind, as a university student, then a grad student. then a doctoral student, and then on and on like that. So I felt the tools that I had to bring to bear were, yes, I could talk and I could think, but I could also write, and I could also do analysis, and I was used to working in statistics and that kind of thing. It was really just turning the tools that I had to the job at hand, and learning quite a few other tools as well.
Sandra Morgan 6:03
So for young people now, joining in an academic setting, what do you say to them, as they begin to mold their career? We’re going to be handing this off to the next generation.
Kevin Bales 6:24
Oh, we’re very much doing that right now, and I’m so excited about a lot of the handing off I get to do, to the next generation of abolitionists and anti slavery workers. One of the things that I get to say to them is, we’re now at that place where we can really proliferate across technologies, techniques, theories, systems, all sorts of ways of analyzing and understanding, and what I really hope, and what I encourage, is that they just surpass me as quickly as they can. I have to say, I’ve got some colleagues, young colleagues, whose work in for example, Predictive Mathematics and Machine Learning that they apply to satellite imagery and things like that, I get the big picture notion of what they’re talking about, but in terms of understanding how they do what they do, they’ve lost me completely. I think that’s great.
Sandra Morgan 7:18
Oh, that’s inspiring. So you and I started a conversation during this holiday break about intersectionality in the battle to combat slavery and human trafficking, and I think this deserves more exploration. Can you give us kind of a 30,000 foot level concept for intersectionality?
Kevin Bales 7:48
Certainly, and it’s actually a pretty easy thing to talk through. It’s just that if you treat something like contemporary forms of slavery, human trafficking as only itself, and you’re not looking at the impacts, the drivers, the things that moosh it and move it around, you’re not going to understand how it fits together with the other serious and significant problems that we face. One of the things that woke me up, and quite a few years ago, I was sitting down with Vandana Shiva, who’s a very well known environmentalist leader and researcher in India, and we were talking about the same area of India where both of us had worked. She was talking about how environmental destruction was driving local villagers out of their space, out of their livelihoods, and making them incredibly vulnerable to debt bondage slavery. I had been meeting the same, in a sense, people, not exactly the individuals perhaps, but I’d been meeting the same groups of people who had been pushed out, and were caught up in this hereditary sometimes form of debt, bondage slavery. We looked at each other, and it was a funny moment, but we looked at each other, and it was like a big penny dropped in both of our minds. We realized, “Wait, you’ve got the drivers on that side, I’ve got the impact on the other side, and yet, I can also tell you that a number of the people that I’ve been studying who are caught up in slavery, are being forced to destroy the natural world in the same area that we’re both talking about.” Now, that was a true revelation about intersectionality, for me. The idea that we could say, “There are people caught up in slavery who are being forced to destroy the natural world,” but the destruction of that natural world is in fact pushing people into situations of enslavement. Then of course, when you look a little bit closer, it’s not a two handed game, it’s a three handed game. The third hand is all about where did the products go? Where did the produce go, the environmental impacts, what do they have down the line and so forth? Where does it fit into global supply chains? And all of a sudden, it’s everywhere, but it’s all linked back and tied back to the fundamental notions of what happens when you put people in situations of enslavement, and then, of course, use them to destroy the environment, and then use that destroyed environment to make profits, often in a criminal way.
Sandra Morgan 10:24
Can you give us a really simple example, concrete?
Kevin Bales 10:30
Sure. I mean, one of the areas when I went out to really document this deeply, and I ended up writing this book called “Blood and Earth,” which is about a deep documentation of this, one of the places that I went was down to the bottom of Bangladesh. At the bottom of Bangladesh, there’s a huge area of kind of a swampy, beautiful mangrove forest area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In other words, it’s supposed to be protected in all ways, it should never be messed with, no one should be living there, it should be kept very importantly pristine, not least for two key reasons. One is that that UNESCO World Heritage site, called the Sundarbans Forest, is the largest carbon sink in all of Asia. In other words, of all the co2 emitted across Asia, this is the most important part of the natural world, which is sucking that co2 out of the atmosphere and putting it back, and fixing it into seawater, which is what mangroves do. But what did I find when I went there? I found big chunks of this protected forest, which is supposed to be protected in all sorts of ways internationally, had been carved out to put in fish processing camps, and children were the ones who had been lured, and tricked, and enslaved, in that horrific exploitative and often violent control, to do all this processing of fish brought every day by fishing boats who didn’t really quite notice, or chose not to notice what was going on in the fish processing camp. In the fish processing camp, these children, these almost all boys, they were dying at a fast rate. They were getting really ill with different diseases, they were often very hungry, and they were always complaining, when I talked to some of them later, about diarrhea. They were constantly having diarrhea. Again, for me, one of those moments when the whole thing started to open up and make something clear to me was when I asked them, “What was your other health problem when you were caught in this fishing camp and enslaved to do all this fish processing?” and they said, “Oh, that was being eaten by tigers.” My jaw fell open and I said, “Wait, wait, eaten by tigers?” and they said, “Yeah, I mean, a lot of people died of diarrhea, but a lot of people died of being eaten by tigers.” I was like, what? How is this possible? Then of course, I learned that one of the reasons the Sundarbans UNESCO World Heritage Site is a heritage site, is because it’s like the last perfect breeding ground that’s protected for bengal tigers. But when the criminal slaveholders go in and cut the woods down, the forest down, the mangrove forest down, the tiger that lives there, and they’re territorial, can’t just like go off and fight other tigers to get their space. What, fundamentally, the slaveholders are doing is driving out little small deer and other animals from the hunting ground of a Bengal tiger, their territory, and replacing those deer and other small animals with small boys who became the prey of the Bengal tigers. It was almost as if, for those criminal slaveholders, that that was just one of those sort of attrition problems that you have when you have a business, that sometimes some of your fish processors will just be eaten by tigers, and they just moved on and didn’t really think much about it. Okay, that’s a horrific story, but you can see where you begin to put slavery, environmental destruction, protected and endangered species, which then endanger small children who are forced to do the the work which is part of the environmental destruction. Then when I asked, “So where does all this fish go?” they said, “Oh, almost all of this is kind of low grade fish. It’s processed into a kind of meal of sorts, a kind of mash of fish meat, which then is shipped off to North America and Europe as cat food.” So usually when I talked about this in public venues, I’d say, “Who’s got a cat?”, the shock of it when it begins to realize that the permeation of this is so insidious, that the cat that you love as your pet, is somehow feeding as well as the yigers did off these poor little kids.
Sandra Morgan 15:27
Okay, so now you’ve painted this very concrete picture for us, and we understand that within the context of intersectionality. But what do we do? Are there best practices? How do we actually do something to counter that?
Kevin Bales 15:48
This is a tough one for that particular situation because yes, there’s a supply chain, and it’s very evident. It’s not a hard supply chain to grasp, but it’s a very hard supply chain to police. One of the key reasons for that, is that as they tell you in Bangladesh, the most powerful organization might be the national government, but it might also be what they call the “Shrimp Mafia,” because the “Shrimp Mafia” exports fish and shrimp, from Bangladesh, to the tune of billions and billions of dollars, every year. They ship it all over to Western Europe, and all over to North and South America. For that reason, even when we were able to expose this and work with people, say in the TIP office in the United States, and we got the TIP ambassador to go and talk to them, talk to the government in Bangladesh, and so forth, there would be these minor little changes, and these minor little adjustments, but then pretty quickly, things would go back to normal, and we’ve not really been able to crack it. In other words, of actually getting past the power of what amount to mafias and gangs, who can control this raw and rural area down in a protected national forest. So it’s a tough one, and if anything, I suppose it would have to take a global campaign to make clear that shrimp and fish that come from there is dirty, and bloody, and needs to be inspected to the point that you that you move away from it. And again, that would require quite a large input and a lot of public awareness.
Sandra Morgan 17:40
And a willingness to give something up, that is part of our culture. We think it’s just normal to be able to go to the grocery store and pick up this particular item, and we don’t think about where it was before it arrived.
Kevin Bales 18:03
You know, it’s come on us, you’re right, it is part of our lives, but it didn’t used to be. I think I’m old enough, I remember when, if you ate shrimp, it was like four little shrimps around a special little crystal glass of cocktail sauce or something, it’s really fancy stuff that happened only in fancy restaurants, and the shrimp back then were coming out of the Gulf of Mexico. But when they began to build these enormous ships that were freezer ships, and they could load them with tons and tons of shrimp that have been partially peeled and then put into these plastic bags, all of a sudden the cost of shrimp fell to the floor, but not so far that people weren’t making profits. So in a sense, we just accepted the happy cornucopia of seafood that is not very expensive, that we can buy in big freezer bags, but we’ve done that because we didn’t really know what was going on.
Sandra Morgan 18:59
So one of the things that I love about doing this work from an academic platform is that you measure it, you talked about statistics, and the old adage is: you can’t manage something you can’t measure. So how can we use your research to mobilize an effective response? Who are the actors that need to? So in intersectionality, then, we’re not just talking about government, who else?
Kevin Bales 19:31
Well, it’s got to be a lot of the companies, the companies and then the retailers that would have to be brought on board with this. Yet, what we know is that even if we brought the retailers on site, Walmart suddenly said, “Okay, we’re going to look at every bit of shrimp. We’re going to make sure we don’t get any nasty shrimp imported into our freezers and stuff like that,” they could do that. But it’s ubiquitous, the seafood and it would take a long time to get everybody on board to, in fact, do what’s necessary. Now at the same time, after I uncovered all this, and I was able to start working with other people in the rights lab, where I work, at the University of Nottingham, we have a whole team that just works with satellites, and satellite imagery, and Earth observation. One of the first things that they ever did was, I talked to them and said, “Look, here’s a picture of people on the ground in one of these shrimp processing and fish processing camps, and it’s horrific,” and I told them about the tigers and so forth. I said, “But look, I went to Google Earth, here’s a picture of it from space.” So I knew where I was because I took my GPS coordinates when I was there, so that’s what it looks like from above. I said, “Could you look? I mean, you guys are special satellite people. What do you got? What can you tell me just from this?” and they said, “Let’s get back to you in a week.” A week later they said, “Okay, did you know about the 12 other camps?” and I was like, “No, I didn’t know there were 12 other camps.” They said, “Yeah, well, there are and they’re all operating in basically the same way,” and they said, “Did you know about the movement of camps over the last 15 to 20 years, as global warming has has raised sea level levels, and meant for some of the camps to move?” I was just like, “Amazing, no, I had no clue about this.” I was just pushing around on a boat, down in the swampy area. They suddenly said, “Oh, yes. Okay, so here’s the real challenge. It’s not about one camp, it’s about 12 camps, or at least 12 camps, and then they keep moving them when they find a better place, and so forth.” So if you had the ability to bring in law enforcement say, to bust these camps, it would be a remarkable change, but the situation in Bangladesh has been that law enforcement are very reticent to take on what they call the shrimp mafia, and it’s gonna take a lot, and possibly a change in government to make that happen.
Sandra Morgan 22:12
Wow. So then the strategies that we’re left with are pretty much civil society type strategies. What does that look like?
Kevin Bales 22:24
But in many ways, it’s got to be just about education, education, education. I mean, I think if we could somehow put that story out there in a way that it just kept being repeated and understood, and repeated and understood, and all of a sudden, shrimp started having a really bad taste in your mouth, we can begin to see a diminution of the purchase of these billions of dollars worth of multi zillion tons of shrimp and fish that come over to North and South America and Europe. But it’s a big one, because you’d have to literally be addressing all of the people who eat, in all of the countries that have these food imports from all over the place.
Sandra Morgan 23:12
So let me ask you this question. How successful do you see the chocolate score card and things like that, that we’ve done within the cocoa plantation realm? Is that something we can mirror?
Kevin Bales 23:29
Yes, I think we can. There’s a couple of ways that it’s different. I mean, I was around at the very beginning of this concern about slavery in chocolate and cocoa farming, because it was the film that we made with HBO, based on my first book about this Disposable People, where we went to Cote d’Ivoire, to the Ivory Coast, and we found, we didn’t know we were going to find this because we were actually looking for something else, but we found a bunch of young teenagers from a neighboring country, who had been lured into the Ivory Coast and then enslaved on a cocoa farm. We were able to trace that cocoa and we were able to talk even to the slave holder, and we were able to talk to the young men after they came to freedom, and so we kind of blew up the story. It led to this whole concern about slavery and cocoa slavery, Christmas candy, children having chocolate, and all that kind of thing. Now in many ways, one of the most important outcomes of that was the founding of the International Cocoa Initiative. That was a shotgun wedding. There were Senators in the American Senate, who worked very closely with us, and one of them called all of the presidents of the chocolate companies in the United States together in Washington and said, “Look, I’m just going to put this into a bill that will become a law, that you have to have a label on all your chocolate that says, ‘There is no child slavery in this chocolate.'” They said, “Well, there’s no way we can possibly do that, because we simply don’t know at this point, this is all new to us. We didn’t understand that there were these problems in the actual enslavement in cocoa.” He said, “Well, I don’t know what to do.” So he let them simmer for a little while, and then he said, “Okay, I’ll tell you what. If you can’t do that, what I do expect you to do…” and this was actually our Plan A was, “…you each have to put in about a million dollars a year, into an NGO that will be run by anti slavery specialists, who also know about the cocoa world, and who will begin to do the work on the ground, in the Ivory Coast and in Ghana, to go village by village and solve the problem.” That’s what the International Cocoa Initiative does. It’s not very flashy, it doesn’t get a ton of coverage, but when I came off the board of the ICI after 12 years, I was one of the founder members, but I came off after 12 years. At that point, we were up to about 60% of all the cocoa regions that we’d been able to work through and kind of declare clean, and they were now working through the rest of them. Then of course, you get Tony and Tony’s Chocolonely, and all his fantastic work in another way to make it in some ways, a lot more fun than the International Cocoa Initiative ever made it, as he, when he saw our film, he went and bought a lot of chocolate there in the Netherlands, and went to a police station because he had discovered that there was an old, old, old law in the Netherlands, that you shouldn’t buy things made by slave labor. So he bought a bunch of chocolate, went to a police station, and then turned himself in and he said, “I want you to arrest me, I violated the law. I bought this slave made cocoa.” They were like, “What?”, they didn’t know about the law or anything. He called me actually, this is years ago and said, “I want you to come over and testify against me in my trial.”
Sandra Morgan 27:09
I love that.
Kevin Bales 27:10
Yeah, I loved it too, but I did say, “I don’t think you need me, Tony, I honestly don’t. Plus, I won’t understand anything, everything’s going to be in Dutch. So I think you’ve got all the facts and figures you need.” He started out in a consumer way that has been super powerful. Then there are some chocolate companies that haven’t done too well. There are some American companies that were superb on it, like Mars, and like Hershey’s, but they were also companies that then later went public, so they were bought out by investors and not the family run companies. When I first met people from Mars, I met old man Mars. He was the elderly man who still owned the company and ran it with his sons, and he had very clear feelings that this was a moral problem, not an economic problem, and that you had to solve the moral problem. But of course, in time when the world began to let investing, and hedge funds buy up whole companies like that, he began to lose a lot of the of the moral direction. So we’re not done yet with with slavery and cocoa, but we’re a lot closer than we might have been, and we’re a million miles ahead of any questions about shrimp, or fish.
Sandra Morgan 28:30
One of the things that you said in the beginning of this part of the conversation, you use the word “luring” these kids here. I’ve seen a lot of, and I’m using air quotes, “prevention strategies” that are aimed at putting the responsibility on the child not to fall victim to being lured, and here are the red flags. Can you address the problem with that?
Kevin Bales 28:56
Oh, well, I mean, it sounds like a lovely idea. I think if you’re a middle class American, who’s got a good bit of education, but if you’re talking about the families like those kids in Bangladesh, their parents are illiterate, they live in fear, often, of just the big wigs around them in the countryside, and then there’s the fact that the kids are often hungry in the families who are doing this agricultural work not that far away. When somebody comes along, and seems to be educated, and nice, and friendly, and says, “You know, your son, he could come and work for a few months, and here’s an advance, we can give you an advance on his pay, and he’ll be back within three months and so forth.” It’s one of those really tough choices, isn’t it, that any parent would have to face? If they said, “I could get a situation where my kid could earn some money, actually get enough to eat, and maybe open some opportunities, but I can’t really be certain.” So they give in because they think maybe they’re doing the right thing, and that’s when I think, possibly, some of that preventative work that you could do on the ground could help, but you’d have to find them. You’d have to work your way up and down the riverbanks, you’d have to work your way all over the agricultural part of lower Bangladesh, for example. I mean, it would be quite an enormous task, and lots of different languages as well, which is not a reason not to do it, but it would also be about how you make that penetration, and how you could convince them there was something else. Then essentially stand in the stead of this tricky way of luring somebody into exploitation, and you could give them an alternative, which could be a school. I work with a group that does a lot of building of schools in villages in India, in northern India, up in Uttar Pradesh. Villages that are in hereditary forms of collateral debt bondage, slavery. The process, it takes about three years to take the whole village from slavery to freedom, but it always begins with the insertion of a school, which is actually a Trojan horse. Because the school teachers, the people who come to cook at the school, they’re all themselves ex-slaves, who have been through the same process of liberation and education, and they slowly begin to work with these people who have been in slavery for many generations, so they have no sense of freedom. They have no sense of what it’s like on the outside world, they’ve never left the village for generations. So it takes, like I say, two to three years to finally reach that moment when someone who’s been caught in lifetime of debt bondage slavery to say, “Wait, so your life wasn’t like this. How do we do that?” That’s, of course, when the door opens, and things begin to be possible.
Sandra Morgan 31:58
Wow, there are so many things we could keep talking about, but I’m looking at the time. I’m going to put links to everything we’ve talked about in the show notes for our listeners, but I was struck years ago, with the cover of one of your books. I think it was the “Ending Slavery” book, because it had an Oprah Magazine quote. “Tempers horror with hope.” Can you leave us with what are some of the emerging opportunities that give you hope now?
Kevin Bales 32:37
I think one of the most powerful facts is that whether it’s 27 million people in the world, or 35 million people in the world or whatever, within a global population, which is now over 8 billion, we’re actually dealing with a minority small problem. It’s horrific, it’s horrendous, it’s ancient, it’s deadly, but in numerical terms, it’s a fairly marginal activity. That actually does give me some hope, because I realized that if we can bring people to really commit to the idea that we don’t have to live in a world with slavery, we can actually get rid of this because it’s actually so small in global terms, then we could do so. Of course, that flips back to the whole question of notions of intersectionality. There’s a link between slavery and genocide, for example, which we’ve been exploring very strongly, and it’s absolutely there. There are links between slavery and child and early and forced marriage, and there’s a link between slavery and certain religious groups, which used religion to take people and enslave them, or justify slavery and so forth. There’s a whole series of ways that this fits together into our highly complex, but also highly human cultures, and I say multiple because it’s all these different cultures, and all these different peoples and ways of being, but nearly all of them are okay with the idea that freedom is a better notion than slavery, with some bad actors. I think when we begin to understand the warp and the weft in the woven fact of enslavement around us, we’ll be able to unpick that and help people see the right way out, whether it’s through economics or through faith and religion of a better type as it were, or if it’s about ending that environmental destruction and then giving ex slaves the job of replanting forests, or rebuilding environmental systems. I mean, that alone would provide enormous amounts of work for people who have come out of slavery, and it would also be reducing our co2 load, day after day, time after time, to the point that we might not have the global warming that we’re all a little worried about. So if we think big, and if we think optimistically, which is hard occasionally, but I think that way, I don’t see why we can’t do this. I’ve been at this for what, 35 years, or something like that? The people in the past, they were on it for 100 years, or 150 years when they were confronting things like transatlantic slavery. I hope, and I’d like to think, we’re just getting warmed up.
Sandra Morgan 35:38
I totally agree with you. Years ago, I read James Davison Hunter’s book “To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World,” and he took a look at how Wilberforce addressed that transatlantic slavery you just mentioned, and really focused on overlapping networks. So when we started talking about intersectionality, it reminded me of the Wilberforce overlapping networks observation. I feel really encouraged that what you’re projecting is a call for those overlapping networks with the Eco-dpecialists, and the business people, and government, and the faith based community, and civil society, we have to have a lot of overlapping networks to create a safety net that no child is going to slip through.
Kevin Bales 36:43
Exactly right, and I would throw in a lot of other networks. We’ve just done a lot of work for the US military, about educating soldiers that are sent all over the world so they will recognize this type of abuse, and exploitation, and slavery, and trafficking, and be able to report back and understand how to address them. We have thousands and thousands of US soldiers all over the planet, and it sort of goes on not just from them, but from people who are concerned about child marriage, and certainly the situation of slavery that explodes whenever there’s a conflict. 90% of the conflicts in the world today have slavery as part of how they’re being prosecuted. It’s fundamentally tactical slavery, and often strategic slavery as well, which actually takes you to the situation of genocide and slavery, and their linkage. think the more we understand how this all fits together, it begins to teach us: which thread do we pull to unravel this nasty knot?
Sandra Morgan 37:43
Well, we are going to be following you to see which thread you’re going to pull next.
Kevin Bales 37:50
Yeah, I wish I knew too.
Sandra Morgan 37:53
Oh, my goodness. I’m always inspired by the the flow of ideas and challenges, and I’m grateful for your leadership, and the fact that you have been doing this for 35 years. We’re gonna keep doing that. I think we have to have another interview because we ran out of time, to go a little deeper, but thank you so much, Kevin.
Kevin Bales 38:20
It’s been great to be with you, Sandie, I really appreciate the opportunity.
Sandra Morgan 38:25
We’re inviting you to take the next step to go over to endinghumantrafficking.org. That’s where you can find resources we’ve mentioned in this conversation, and so much more. The anti human trafficking certificate program here at the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University, has new classes starting every eight weeks. If you haven’t visited our website before, this is a great first step for you. Become a subscriber, and you’ll receive an email with the show notes with every new episode. Of course, I’ll be back in two weeks for our next conversation.