Kevin Bales

Kevin Bales is President of Free the Slaves (, and Professor of Contemporary Slavery at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, U.of Hull. His book Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy was published in ten languages. Desmond Tutu called it “a well researched, scholarly and deeply disturbing expose of modern slavery.” In 2008 Utne Reader named Bales one of “fifty visionaries who are changing your world;” the Association of British Universities named his work one of “100 World-Changing Discoveries.” The film based on Disposable People, which he co-wrote, won the Peabody and two Emmys. Bales has advised the US, British, Irish, Norwegian, and Nepali governments. In 2008 he was invited to address the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. In 2007 he published Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves, a roadmap for the global eradication of slavery. In 2008, with Zoe Trodd, he published To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today’s Slaves; and with eight Magnum photographers, Documenting Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery. In 2009, with Ron Soodalter, he published The Slave Next Door: Modern Slavery in the United States. He is currently writing a book on the relationship of slavery and environmental destruction; and with Jody Sarich, a book exploring forced marriage worldwide.


Memo To King Willem Alexander – It’s Time For A New Treaty Of Utrecht

Three hundred years ago the Treaty of Utrecht helped to end a terrible war, but it fostered a growth in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. One hundred and fifty years ago the Netherlands abolished slavery as part of the great movement to end legal slavery. On this double anniversary we have arrived at a unique historical moment, when slavery is so diminished, so little a part of our global society and economy that it stands on the precipice of its own extinction – if we choose to take steps to bring it to an end. Allow me, your Highness, to suggest provisions that you might propose that will establish a global movement that will eradicate slavery in the same way that global health campaigns have ended smallpox. An historic new Treaty of Utrecht that will be De nous, chez nous, avec nous.