Picture of Genevieve LeBaron

Dr Genevieve LeBaron

Senior Lecturer

Contact Details:
Telephone: +44 (0)114 2221688
Room: 1.24
Email: g.lebaron@sheffield.ac.uk

External Links:

Personal Website: www.genevievelebaron.org

Follow on Academia.edu


Genevieve LeBaron is a Senior Lecturer in Politics attached to both the Department of Politics and SPERI at the University of Sheffield. She is also Chair of Yale University’s Modern Day Slavery Working Group housed at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance & Abolition and a UK ESRC Future Research Fellow. She joined the University of Sheffield as Vice-Chancellor's Fellow in 2013. In 2017, she was ranked #38 (and the #1 academic) on the global Top 100 Human Trafficking & Slavery Influence Leaders List.In 2015, she was awarded the Rising Star Engagement Award from the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences in recognition of her contributions to research and policy-making on forced labour.

Genevieve’s research focuses on the political economy of the global labour market, including current research projects on the governance of labour standards in transnational supply chains and the business models of forced labour.

She is Founder and Editor of openDemocracy.net’s Beyond Trafficking and Slavery, a popular journalistic site that brings together stakeholders who are serious about tackling modern slavery’s economic, political, and social root causes. She has written for leading newspapers including The Guardian and Salon.com, and her research on forced labour has been profiled widely in the media including in Forbes, Fortune Magazine, The Economist, and The Guardian.

Prior to joining Sheffield, Genevieve was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. There, she co-authored Protest Inc: The Corporatization of Activism (Cambridge: Polity, 2014, with Peter Dauvergne), which was shortlisted for the BISA-IPEG Book Prize and is currently being made into a documentary film. She has been Yale University’s Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Fellow and a Visiting Scholar at the International Labour Organization in Geneva, the University of California, Berkeley, and Sciences Po in Paris.

Genevieve has received grants from the Ford Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences, UK Economic and Social Sciences Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

 Professional Activities and Recognition

  • British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (2015-2017).
  • ESRC Future Research Leader (2016-2019).
  • Founder and Editor, openDemocracy’s Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.
  • Co-Chair, Yale University Working Group on Modern Slavery.
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour, The International Labour Organization (2015).
  • Yale University Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Fellow (2015-2016).
  • Visiting positions held at University of California, Berkeley (2013); Sciences Po, Paris (2017); Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto (2017).
  • Development Board Member, Human Trafficking Risk Template.
  • Reviewer for publishers including Oxford University Press, Polity, Zed Books.
  • Reviewer for funding bodies including the UK Economic and Social Research Council & Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

In 2017-2018, I am co-teaching a module in the Global Political Economy MA, “Business, Labor and Migration” with Marcia Vera Espinoza. At the University of Sheffield, I have also taught POL3159: Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Slavery in the Global Economy, POL612: The Political Economy of Globalisation and have developed POL3145 Gender in the Global Political Economy. I have taught courses on labour studies, globalisation, and business at Yale University, York University (Toronto), and Simon Fraser University.

"My teaching philosophy is simple: Recognising that political economy is not a far-off and distant object but rather a force that shapes our daily lives, I try to create courses that are current and relevant to students and encourage them to integrate and consolidate their own experiences. By treating students as intellectual colleagues who bring fascinating insights and ideas to the debate, I strive to create learning environments that not only foster critical thinking and deep analytic reading, but also enable students to understand why these abilities matter."


Watch: Dr LeBaron interviewed on The MacMillan Report.

Dr LeBaron is currently focused on three projects:

I. Understanding and Governing Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains

How and why does forced labour emerge within global supply chains? This research project investigates and compares the business models of forced labor within global agricultural supply chains led by UK-based companies, focusing on case studies of tea and cocoa. Research will shed light on the risk of labor exploitation, including forced labor, at the level of individual workers, the plantations where they work, and the district and state in which plantations are located, and explore how these dynamics link to broader dynamics and governance of global supply chains. The project will generate an original dataset gathered through research with tea and cocoa workers, including a survey and interviews. In addition, the project will involve interviews with tea and cocoa plantation managers, corporate social responsibility experts, company executives, and industry association representatives, as well as labor standards enforcement personnel (government and private auditors). Project partners include the International Labour Organization and Yale University.

Funded by UK Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leaders Grant.

II. Combatting Modern Slavery Through Business Leadership at the Bottom of the
Supply Chain

Social auditing, the main tool used by global brands to address exploitation in global supply chains, has been proven to have limited effectiveness in combatting modern slavery. This is because modern slavery tends to flourish in informal business activities at the bottom of the supply chain. A potentially more effective way is therefore to incentivize changes at the bottom of these chains among local
business leaders. This project will analyse innovative initiatives aimed at tackling modern slavery among local businesses in the garment industry in Tamil Nadu, India, a major
export region for products destined for UK high streets. We will determine the drivers and barriers of such initiatives, and evaluate their effectiveness in combatting exploitation.

Funded by the British Academy and UK Department for International Development, based at University of Bath Management School.

III. Beyond Trafficking and Slavery: Towards Decent Work for All

Severe labour exploitation encapsulated in terms like 'forced labour', 'bonded labour', 'child labour', 'human trafficking' and 'modern slavery' is widely regarded as a major contemporary development challenge. Many regions including South Asia, Africa and Latin America face the gravest challenges in achieving "decent work for all". Governments and civil society have decried such practices as an affront to human dignity, passed anti-slavery and anti-trafficking legislation, and spent over £1.5 billion since the turn of the century on anti-slavery policy. Yet, such efforts are currently limited by the dearth of nuanced, sophisticated empirical understandings. The Beyond Trafficking and Slavery network (BTS) exists to fill precisely this gap. BTS is led by a multi-disciplinary group of academics who are experts on severe exploitation. Established in 2014, BTS combines the rigour of academic scholarship with the clarity of journalism and the immediacy of political advocacy and it brings together scholars, policy-makers, and civil society organisations keen to advance understanding of, and policies to address, the structural, political, economic, and social root causes of global exploitation, vulnerability and unfree labour. Through this grant, BTS is expanding its work by engaging directly with research and activism in developing countries from South Asia (India), Africa (South Africa) and Latin America (Mexico).

Funded by ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund Network Grant, based at Dickson Poon School of Law at Kings College, London.

Key Projects and Grants

Awarding Body: British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences & UK Department For International Development
Title of Research: Combatting Modern Slavery Through Business Leadership at the Bottom of the Supply Chain
People Involved: Genevieve LeBaron, Andrew Crane, Laura Spence, Vivek Soundararajan, Michael Bloomfield
Years Funded For: 2017-2019
Amount: £196,850

Awarding Body: UK Economic and Social Research Council Global Challenges Research Fund
Title of Research: Beyond Trafficking and Slavery: Towards Decent Work for All
People Involved: Genevieve LeBaron, Prabha Kotiswaran, Samuel Okyere, Julia O’Connell Davidson, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos, Joel Quirk, Ana Lucia Araujo, Gabriella Sanchez, Azfar Khan.
Years Funded For: 2017-2018
Amount: £150,000

Awarding Body: UK Economic and Social Research Council
Title of Research: Understanding and Governing the Global Business of Forced Labour
People Involved: Genevieve LeBaron
Years Funded For: 2016-2019
Amount: £280,000

Awarding Body: British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Title of Research: Challenges in Researching the Shadow Economy
People Involved: Genevieve LeBaron
Years Funded For: 2015-2017
Amount: £17,500.



  • Genevieve LeBaron (ed) (2018) Researching Forced Labour in the Global Economy: Methodological Challenges and Advances. Oxford University Press, Proceedings of the British Academy series. (forthcoming)
  • Genevieve LeBaron (2018) Prison Labor, Capitalism, and the American State. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. (forthcoming)
  • Peter Dauvergne & Genevieve LeBaron (2014). Protest Inc: The Corporatization of Activism. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 200 pp.

Journal Articles

Book chapters

  • Genevieve LeBaron (2017) ‘The Current and Coming Crisis of Indecent Work.’ In Colin Hay and Tom Hunt (eds) The Coming Crisis. Palgrave.
    Genevieve LeBaron (2018) ‘Prison Labor, Slavery, and The State.’ In Julia O’Connell-Davidson & Laura Brace (eds) Slaveries Old & New. London: Palgrave. (In press)
  • Sebastien Rioux & Genevieve LeBaron (ND) ‘Unfree Labour.’ In Beverly Skeggs, Sara Farris, and Alberto Toscano (eds) Handbook of Marxism. Sage. (forthcoming).
  • Liam Stanley & Genevieve LeBaron ‘The Household.’ (ND) In Jon Pevehouse & Leonard Seabrooke (eds) Oxford Handbook of International Political Economy. Oxford University Press. (In press)
  • Genevieve LeBaron (2017) ‘The Current and Coming Crisis of Indecent Work.’ In Colin Hay and Tom Hunt (eds) The Coming Crisis. Palgrave (In press).
  • Genevieve LeBaron (2018) ‘Prison Labor, Slavery, and The State.’ In Julia O’Connell-Davidson & Laura Brace (eds) Slaveries Old & New, Proceedings of the British Academy Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (In press)
  • Genevieve LeBaron, Jane Lister & Peter Dauvergne (2017) ‘The New Gatekeeper: Ethical Audits as a Mechanism of Global Value Chain Governance.’ In A. Claire Cutler and Thomas Dietz (eds) The Politics of Private Transnational Governance by Contract. Routledge, pp. 97-114.
  • Genevieve LeBaron (2017) ‘Women and Unfree Labor in the Global Political Economy.’ In Juanita Elias and Adrienne Roberts (eds) (2017) The Handbook of International Political Economy and Gender, Edward Elgar, 2017.
  • Genevieve LeBaron (2016) ‘Slavery, People Trafficking, and Forced Labour: Implications for Development.’ In Jean Grugel and Daniel Hammett (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of International Development, Palgrave, 2016, pp. 381-398.

Edited Collections

  • Rob Caruana, Andrew Crane, Stefan Gold & Genevieve LeBaron (eds) (ND) Modern Slavery in Business: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on ‘The Shadow Economy.’ Special issue of Business & Society.
  • Genevieve LeBaron, Susan Ferguson & Sara Farris (eds) (2016) Social Reproduction Beyond the Household. Special issue of Historical Materialism, 24(2).
  • Genevieve LeBaron & N. Howard (eds) (2016) Forced Labour in the Global Economy. London: openDemocracy.

Reviews in refereed journals

  • Genevieve LeBaron (2015/2016) ‘Hazard or Hardship: Crafting Global Norms on the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work.’ Perspectives on Politics, 13(4): 92-94.
  • Genevieve LeBaron (2015) ‘Occupying Political Science: The Occupy Wall Street Movement from New York to the World.’ Global Policy, online first 24 February 2015.
  • Genevieve LeBaron (2013) ‘Gender Inequalities, Households, and the Production of Well-Being in Modern Europe.’ Feminist Economics 19(1): 141-145.
  • Genevieve LeBaron (2013) ‘Making Feminist Politics: Transnational Alliances Between Women and Labor.’ Politics & Gender 8(1): 145-151.

Research Reports

  • Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos & Penelope Kyritsis. Confronting Root Causes: Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains. London and Sheffield: openDemocracy and SPERI.
  • Nicola Phillips, Genevieve LeBaron & Sara Wallin (2016) Mapping and Measuring the Effectiveness of Labour-related Disclosure Requirements for Global Supply Chains. Geneva: International Labour Organization. 55 pp.
  • Genevieve LeBaron & Jane Lister (2016) Ethical Audits and the Supply Chains of Global Corporations. Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute. 11 pp.
  • Jean Allain, Andrew Crane, Genevieve LeBaron & Laya Behbahani (2013) Forced Labour’s Business Models & Supply Chains. London: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 77 pp.
  • Jane Lister & Genevieve LeBaron (2012) Shopping for Sustainability at the Canton Fair: The Political Economy of Transnational Brand Retail Governance in China. Vancouver: University of British Columbia. 56 pp.

Media (selective)

  • Andrew Crane & Genevieve LeBaron. ‘Why Businesses Fail to Detect Modern Slavery at Work.’ The Conversation, 11 September 2017.
  • Genevieve LeBaron & Andrew Crane. ‘Overseas Anti-Slavery Initiatives Flourish, but Domestic Governance Gaps Persist.’ openDemocracy.net, 11 September 2017.
  • Genevieve LeBaron. ‘Contemporary Truths in Manon Lescaut: A Powerful Glimpse into Modern Slavery.’ Royal Opera House online, 25 November 2016.
  • Genevieve LeBaron. ‘When it Comes to Forced Labor, Transparency is Mandatory but Disclosure is Discretionary.’ truthout.org and opendemocracy.net, 22 November 2016.
  • Genevieve LeBaron & Joel Quirk. ‘Can Corporations Be Trusted to Tackle Modern Slavery?’ opendemocracy.net, 13 September 2016.
  • Genevieve LeBaron & Neil Howard. ‘Making Supply Chains Work for Workers? The 2016 International Labour Conference and Beyond.’ opendemocracy.net, 30 May 2016.
  • Genevieve LeBaron & Joel Quirk. ‘Follow the Evidence: Our Series on Research and Representation.’ opendemocracy.net, 3 December 2015.
  • Joel Quirk & Genevieve LeBaron. ‘The Use and Abuse of History: Slavery and its Contemporary Legacies.’ openDemocracy.net, 20 April 2015.
  • Genevieve LeBaron & Neil Howard. ‘Forced Labour is Big Business. And States and Corporations Are Doing Little to Stop It.’ openDemocracy.net, 13 March 2015.
  • Genevieve LeBaron. ‘Time to Get Serious About Slavery in Supply Chains.’ SPERI Comment; openDemocracy.net, 7 October 2014.
  • Genevieve LeBaron, Neil Howard & Cameron Thibos. ‘Why We Need to Move Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.’ openDemocracy.net, 3 October 2014.
  • Genevieve LeBaron & Peter Dauvergne. ‘Wal-Mart and Exxon Have This in Common: Big Checks, Famed Nonprofits, and Corporate Greenwashing.’ Salon.com, 22 June 2014.
  • Genevieve LeBaron & Andrew Crane. ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: Slavery on a High Street Near You.’ The Guardian, 20 November 2013.

Recent Invited Papers and Keynote Lectures

  • ‘Understanding the Business of Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains.’ Invited talk, Max Planck Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies, Sciences Po, Paris, 16 October 2017.
  • ‘Steering CSR Through Home State Regulation: A Comparison of the Impact of the UK Bribery Act and Modern Slavery Act on Global Supply Chain Governance.’ Invited presentation, International Labour Organization Regulating Decent Work Conference, 5-7 July 2017.
  • 'Researching Forced Labor in Global Supply Chains.' Invited Presentation, British Academy Summer Soirée, 28 June 2016.
  • ‘Combatting the Business of Forced Labor in Global Supply Chains.’ Invited Lecture, Yale University, 27 January 2016.
  • 'Lessons from Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.’ Invited plenary presentation, Historians Against Slavery Conference, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, 25 September 2015.
  • ‘Governance Gaps in Eradicating Forced Labour in Domestic Supply Chains.’ Invited presentation, International Labour Organization, Regulating Decent Work conference, Geneva, 10 July 2015.
  • ‘Corporatizing Activism: The Politics and (In)Effectiveness of Market Based Labour Governance.’ Invited lecture, London School of Economics, Reinventing Corporate Accountability After Rana Plaza conference, London, 23 June 2015.
  • ‘Benchmarking Global Supply Chains: The Power of the ‘Ethical Audit’ Regime.’ Invited presentation, Review of International Studies 40th Anniversary panel, British International Studies Association Conference, London, 18 June 2015.
  • ‘Protest Inc: The Corporatization of Activism.’ Invited lecture, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Review of International Affairs lecture series, Cambridge, 28 October 2014.
  • ‘Interactions in Public and Private “Modern Slavery” Governance.’ Invited presentation, University of Amsterdam, workshop on Combining Public and Private Labor Standards Protections, Amsterdam, 25 September, 2014.

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