Event Series

Forced labour and labour law that excludes

Forced labour and labour law that excludes

Thursday, 18 November 2021 | 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm CET | Online via Zoom

While slavery and forced labour has existed for millennia, globalisation and the transnational nature of contemporary global supply chains, across multiple jurisdictions with varying and often low degrees of protection for workers, have exacerbated the challenge of eradicating forced labour. Although forced labour is illegal in most countries, it remains widely used within some supply chains. Recognising this, governments have enacted new legislation and initiatives to address forced labour and modern slavery.

On Thursday, 18 November 2021, Hertie SChool's Professor of Organization and Governance Sébastien Mena moderated the third event of the series, which discussed contemporary issues regarding forced labour and the promise and limits of government efforts to eradicate it from supply chains. Genevieve LeBaron, Director and Professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Public Policy in Vancouver and PI at the Restructurelab, provided a keynote address.

Missed the event? watch the recordig here.

Keynote speaker

Genevieve LeBaron is Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield and PI of ReStructure Lab. She serves on the UK Parliament’s Modern Slavery and the Supply Chain Advisory Group and the reference group for United Nations Delta 8.7. She was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada in 2020. Genevieve has held visiting positions at leading Universities around the world, including Yale University, Sciences Po Paris, Osgoode Hall Law School, and the University of California, Berkeley. From 2015-2016, she held the Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Fellowship at Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition and then led the Yale University Modern Slavery Working Group based at the Center from 2016-2020. She has also been a research fellow at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva. Prior to moving to Sheffield as Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in Politics in 2013, she was SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia’s Liu Institute for Global Issues. She served as Director of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) from 2018 - 2020.


Sébastien Mena is Professor of Organization and Governance at the Hertie School. His research focuses on the role of business in society and its responsibility for social and environmental issues. He adopts an organizational sociology perspective on business-society interactions to study how these shape corporate responsibility, sustainable development and governance activities, beliefs and norms. He frequently works with firms, NGOs and social enterprises in varied settings and countries, such as commodity supply chains in Sub-Saharan Africa, working conditions in the South East Asian textile industry, or sustainable banking and investment in Europe. Sébastien’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Academy of Management Review, Human Relations and the Journal of Management Studies. He previously held academic positions at City, University of London (UK), the University of Alberta (Canada) and the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). He is an Associate Editor of Business & Society and serves on several editorial boards of management and organization studies journals.

About the event series

Understanding today also means learning from our past. The rise of right wing movements across the globe, increasing polarisation and an alarming increase in anti-Semitism across Europe require us to look at the past and understand the politics and policies of exclusion we continue to witness today – and what we can do as stewards of good governance to combat against them.

In November 2020, the Hertie Foundation commissioned the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte to conduct a comprehensive study on the history of its assets. The independent study will be conducted Dr. Johannes Bähr and PD Dr. Ingo Köhler with a focus on the period from 1933 and will be published as a book-length project by the end of 2022.

As the work of Dr. Bähr and Dr. Köhler progresses, we would like to invite members of our community to explore the politics and policies of exclusion both in a historical and contemporary context.