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Unfreedom and workers’ power : ever-present possibilities.

McGrath, Siobhán and Strauss, Kendra (2015) 'Unfreedom and workers’ power : ever-present possibilities.', in Handbook of the international political economy of production. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 299-317. Handbooks of research on international political economy.


Trafficking, forced labour and related phenomena have been documented time and again in recent years by advocacy groups, the media and government agencies. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 20.9 million people in some form of forced labour worldwide. The estimate is broken down regionally and sectorally: 11.7 million of these are thought to be in the Asia and Pacific region; and 18.7 million are believed to be in the private economy, among whom 14.2 million are involved in economic activities not related to sexual exploitation. Debt bondage appears to be the most common mechanism of forced labour (cf. ILO 2005; 2012; Andrees and Belser 2009). The prevalence of labour relations characterized by various forms of unfreedom raises critical questions about how the phenomenon fits into the contemporary economy, and therefore about how to address the issue(s) in ways that advance the interests of all exploited workers.

Item Type:Book chapter
Keywords:Economics and finance, Political economy, Politics and public policy, Political economy, Social policy and sociology, Labour policy.
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF (Copyright agreement prohibits open access to the full-text)
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:03 February 2016
Date of first online publication:30 January 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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