Yale University hosts conference on “Fighting Modern Slavery: What Works?”

David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History and Director of the GLC.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Gilder Lehrman Center (GLC) for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale will host its 20th Annual Conference on “Fighting Modern Slavery: What Works?on November 1-3, 2018. The conference is cosponsored by the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration.

“After two decades of government, business, activist, and scholarly efforts to understand and fight modern slavery, exploitative practices including forced labor and human trafficking remain endemic in the global economy,” said David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History and Director of the GLC. “As we mark the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Gilder Lehrman Center, we hope that this conference contributes to a turning point in global efforts to fight contemporary forced labor.”

The mission of the Gilder Lehrman Center is to explore the history and legacies of slavery across all borders and all times. The Center’s focus on modern slavery complements its role in the study of the history and afterlives of chattel slavery in the Americas, global slavery, resistance to enslavement, and abolitionist social movements.

The conference is organized by the GLC Modern Slavery Working Group, co-chaired by Genevieve LeBaron, Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield, and Jessica Pliley, Associate Professor of History at Texas State University. This public program invites an international group of scholars and practitioners to reflect on their experiences in the field and discuss their work with the community at large. The conference will take place in Henry R. Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven. It is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Martina Vandenberg, Founder and President of The Human Trafficking Legal Center, will give the keynote address on “Human Trafficking: Is the Moral Arc of the Universe Bending Toward Justice?”

Conference participants include Ambassador Luis C.deBaca (retired), who serves as the GLC Robina Fellow in Modern Slavery for 2018-2019 and directed the U.S. Office to Monitor/Combat Trafficking in Persons under President Barack Obama. Ambassador C.deBaca notes that “through the Gilder Lehrman Center, Yale is positioned to become the dominant research and archival center for the global fight against modern slavery in all its forms.”

The conference takes place as anti-slavery and labor justice advocates work toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to end child labor by 2025 and eradicate forced labor and human trafficking by 2030. This goal demonstrates the urgent need to reflect on strategy and ask what works and what does not, in an attempt to understand and confront these global issues. Conference panels will focus on five key arenas of the fight against modern slavery: representations of exploitation and freedom; legislation and policing; mobilizing civic and worker action; market-based solutions; and race and the aftermaths of slavery.

For more information visit the conference web page:  https://glc.yale.edu/events/conferences/2018-annual-conference.