Forced Labour, Child Labour, Human Trafficking: Explaining the Resilience of the Worst Forms of Labour Exploitation in the Global Economy

Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 21:30 to 23:30

January 24, 2013 4:30 PM, Liu Institute for Global Issues, The University of British Columbia

Nicola Phillips, Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield will speak about labour exploitation in the global economy. Reception to follow.  

Director’s Welcome: Peter Dauvergne, Director, Liu Institute for Global Issues
Introduced by: Jamie Peck, Canada Research Chair in Urban and Regional Political Economy

With the evolution of global production and trade networks, the persistence and resilience of the worst forms of labour exploitation have been remarkable, but these issues are rarely integrated into associated debates. In this talk, Professor Phillips will set out an explanation for how and why the worst forms of exploitation arise, persist and/or are entrenched in contemporary processes of production and trade. She will explore the increasing array of public and private initiatives that have emerged in response to these problems in global production and supply chains, highlighting the significant contradictions and inconsistencies contained within those responses. She will conclude by considering the implications of these arguments for ongoing debates about the relationship between production, trade and development in the global political economy.

Nicola Phillips is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield. Her research and teaching focuses on the political economy of development, with particular interests in labour in global production networks, unfree labour and human trafficking, and migration and development. Her most recent booksare Development (with Anthony Payne, Polity, 2010), and, as editor, International Political Economy: Debating the Past, Present and Future (with Catherine Weaver, Routledge, 2010), and Migration in the Global Political Economy (Lynne Rienner, 2011).

Hosted by the Liu Institute’s Working Group on Labor in the Global Economy.

Liu Institute for Global Issue, Multipurpose Room
6476 NW Marine Drive V6T 1Z2
Vancouver , BC
49° 16' 4.728" N, 123° 15' 34.4304" W
British Columbia CA

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.