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Bales at Chatham House in 2013
|Born||1952 (age 62–63)|
|Alma mater||London School of Economics|
|Known for||Bales is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)|
Kevin B. Bales (born 1952) is a co-founder and previously president of Free the Slaves. Free the Slaves is the US sister organization of Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest human rights organization. He is currently based in Brighton, UK.
Professional and academic career
Bales graduated from Ponca City High School in Ponca City, Oklahoma in 1970. Bales earned his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics in 1994. He also holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma, an MA in Sociology from the University of Mississippi, and an MSc in Economic History from the London School of Economics.
In 1990, Bales teamed with Simon Pell, then head of Arts for Labour in the UK, to form the fund-raising and research consultancy, Pell & Bales Ltd. The firm raises funds for medical charities, human rights groups, environmental campaigns, overseas development, and the Labour Party. In November 2011 fundraising by the company passed the one billion pound mark (£1,000,000,000 or $1.6 billion).
He has since served as a Trustee of Anti-Slavery International and as a consultant to the United Nations Global Program on Trafficking of Human Beings. He has advised the US, British, Irish, Norwegian and Nepali governments and the Economic Community of West African States on matters relating to the formulation of policy on slavery and human trafficking. Bales edited an Anti-Human Trafficking Toolkit for the United Nations, and published a report on forced labor in the US with the Human Rights Center at Berkeley.
From 2001 to 2005 Bales was a visiting professor of International Studies at the Croft Institute at the University of Mississippi.
Presently, in addition to his role as Co-Founder of Free The Slaves, Bales holds the position of Professor of Contemporary Slavery at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), University of Hull, as well as that of Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Roehampton University in London. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Cocoa Initiative.
Dr. Bales has written extensively on modern slavery. Perhaps his best-known book is Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy (1999; revised edition, 2004, further edition 2012), a firsthand analysis of the operations of five slave-based businesses: prostitution in Thailand, selling of water in Mauritania, production of charcoal in Brazil, general agriculture in India, and brickmaking in Pakistan. Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the book "a well researched, scholarly and deeply disturbing expose of modern slavery". It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and has been published in ten different languages. The book formed the basis for a film, "Slavery: A Global Investigation", made by TrueVision in 2000, which won a Peabody Award in 2000 and two Emmy Awards in 2002.
Martin Albrow's globalization theory and Darren O'Byrne's theories on human rights have influenced Bales' research, as has the empirical training he received from Jack Gibbs and Larry DeBord. Some commentators believe his views on modern slavery were anticipated by contributors to the 1970s mode of production debate, and that his work on debt bondage in India and Pakistan was anticipated by the Marxist Tom Brass.
Awards and recognitions
In 2000 Bales was awarded the Premio Viareggio prize for his services to humanity. In 2003 he received the Human Rights Award from the University of Alberta; in 2004, the Judith Sargeant Murray Award for Human Rights; and in 2005 the Laura Smith Davenport Human Rights Award. In 2006 the association of British Universities named Bales' work as one of the top "100 world-changing discoveries of the last fifty years". Two years later in 2008, Utne Reader named him one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World." In 2008 he was also invited to address the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Paris, and to join in the planning of the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative. The following year he was awarded a Prime Mover fellowship, and in 2010 awarded an honorary doctorate by Loyola University of Chicago for "outstanding service on behalf of human rights and social justice."
- Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, by Kevin Bales (1999; 2004; 2012) ISBN 978-0520243842
- Understanding Global Slavery: A Reader, by Kevin Bales (2005)
- New Slavery: A Reference Handbook, by Kevin Bales (2005)
- Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves, by Kevin Bales (2007)
- To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today's Slaves, by Kevin Bales, Zoe Trodd (2008)
- Documenting Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery, by Kevin Bales, Roger Malbert, Mark Sealy (2008)
- The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today, by Kevin Bales, Ron Soodalter (2009)
- Modern Slavery: The Secret World of 27 Million People, by Kevin Bales, Zoe Trodd, Alex Kent Williamson (2009)
In response to Kevin Bales's interview with Democracy Now! about Free The Slaves, investigative journalist Christian Parenti wrote a criticism of Bales claiming he had made false claims about the chocolate industry. Specifically, Parenti argues that "Bales goes around fund raising, flogging his book and promoting himself on the basis that he has successfully reformed the chocolate industry and largely halted its use of child labor in West Africa. But no such thing has happened... Bales’ organization FTS defended the chocolate industry when the Department of Labor sought to list cocoa as a product tainted by slave and child labor."
- Hochschild, Adam Bury the Chains: The British Struggle to Abolish Slavery, London:Pan, 2006.
- "Pell & Bales - Milestones". Pellandbales.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Pell & Bales raises its billionth pound for charity | UK Fundraising". Fundraising.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- The Grawemeyer Awards: Plan to end slavery earns Grawemeyer Award Retrieved 14 December 2010.
- "The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Christian Parenti responds to Kevin Bales". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- Official website
- Speaker's Forum: Kevin Bales - How to End Slavery (audio), KUOW-FM
- Bales on ending slavery (video)
- Kevin Bales at TED