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King's academics lead discussion on state responsibility for modern slavery

Posted on 22/11/2018

The Dickson Poon School of Law hosted an interdisciplinary workshop on November 16, 2018 to discuss avenues for accountability of states for modern slavery. The event gathered leading experts from around the world on modern slavery and international law to “stress test” the ground breaking legal and policy proposals developed by the ongoing research project on “State responsibility for modern slavery”. The project is led by Dr Philippa Webb and Dr Rosana Garciandia in partnership with the United Nations University.

 

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The discussion focused on 5 scenarios of state involvement or complicity in modern slavery: (1) modern slavery as state policy; (2) informal participation of State organs in modern slavery; (3) diplomatic involvement in domestic servitude; (4) State-backed labour brokerage and labour trafficking; (5) State export credit of slavery-tainted projects.

The proposals include the use of human rights mechanisms, commercial sanctions and the invocation of state responsibility. The diversity of experts in the room – civil society leaders, officials of international organisations, diplomats, parliamentary advisers, journalists, practitioners at law firms and at the Bar, and academics – enriched and nuanced the existing proposals and contributed to the advancement of this important project.

The workshop was organised by King’s College London under the auspices of the Yeoh Tiong Lay (YTL) Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law in cooperation with the United Nations University and with the support of the British Academy’s Tackling the UK’s International Challenges Programme. The Dickson Poon School of Law's Executive Dean, Professor Gillian Douglas, gave the opening remarks. A recent post by Dr Webb and Dr Garciandia on the blog of the European Journal of International Law highlights some aspects of this project.

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The event took place during a week in which The Dickson Poon School of Law focused on modern slavery with a series of high profile events. On Wednesday 14 November Professor Parosha Chandran gave her inaugural lecture on ‘Modern Slavery and the Role of Law’. On Thursday, the focus was on the impact of technology on migration and human trafficking. Val Richey, Acting Coordinator for the OSCE Anti-Trafficking Office presented on ‘Emerging trends and strategic responses in combatting human trafficking’ at the School’s Human Rights, Development and Global Justice seminar series. On the same day, Professor Katerina Linos, from UC Berkeley Law, gave a lecture about 'How Technology is Transforming Migration and Refugee Law' co-sponsored by the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy and Law and the Transnational Law Institute.

The photos included in this article were taken by Nathan Clarke (@Nclarkephoto).

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