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Regulating Modern Slavery: Contemporary Developments, Corporate Responsibility and the Role of the State

Jardine, AA (2018) Regulating Modern Slavery: Contemporary Developments, Corporate Responsibility and the Role of the State. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

Today slavery is illegal in every part of the world. It has been recognised as a crime against humanity and a violation of fundamental human rights. Nonetheless, the exploitation, marginalisation and degradation of human beings for material profit continue to flourish in 21st-century society. Sophisticated criminal networks and transnational illicit operations, coupled with weak governance and a high demand for slave labour, has allowed modern slavery to evolve and thrive underground, where vulnerable individuals are exploited for a multitude of purposes. Due to the complex nature of modern slavery, not only is a comprehensive approach needed to address its commonalities, but particular attention needs to also focus on the complexities and challenges unique to specific forms of exploitation. Further, due its transnational nature its regulation requires the involvement and co-operation of various actors in the international community. In particular, one area that has been subject to increasing concern is the role of corporate entities in joining the fight against slavery, by ensuring that their operations and supply chain networks are not tainted with exploitative labour and riddled with human rights abuses. The international community has recognised that while corporate entities have the capacity to promote positive effects such as economic development, job opportunities, and technological innovations, that their operations can also adversely affect vulnerable individuals and communities. Thus, through the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and various human rights initiatives, businesses have been facing pressure to use their global resources, and power to acknowledge their influence and impact on significant global issues such as human rights, modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking. Separately, as States are the prime guarantors of international human rights, they have an obligation to establish and enforce effective measures to regulate modern slavery, including the conduct of those who violate human rights and engage in the exploitation of people. Concerning unethical business practices, States then have a responsibility to establish corporate liability for complicity in modern slavery and related issues. Against the backdrop of global contemporary forms of slavery, this thesis aims to understand the extent of corporate obligation to respect internationally recognised human rights in the regulation of modern slavery, and challenge the perceived role of firms in combatting slavery in their operations. Moreover, this study considers the role of the State in enforcing CSR in line with its international obligation to protect human rights and combat modern slavery by preventing and prohibiting the crime, protecting the victims and prosecuting the offenders. This thesis will then conclude with an exploration of domestic level operations in the United Kingdom and evaluate what key approaches mean in the support of victims, the prosecution of offenders, and the responsibility of UK businesses.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Modern slavery, Corporate Responsbility, International Human Rights
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
K Law > KD England and Wales > KDC Scotland
Divisions: School of Law
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2018 16:55
Last Modified: 17 May 2018 10:31
DOI or Identification number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00007976
Supervisors: Davies, B
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7976

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