Worker hostels or dormitories are common in global supply chains relying on migrant labour. In recent years, they have come under increased scrutiny due to accusations that workers are locked in and have their freedom restricted to the point of modern slavery. But why do such practices persist and why do workers and their families not resist them? In this presentation, I will explore the experiences of dormitory workers and how they are shaped by global supply chains, drawing in particular on an in-depth study of a garment hub in South India where accusations of modern slavery inside hostels have frequently arisen. Contrary to the prevailing narrative, I will show that even though workers are locked in, face frequent human rights violations, and are roundly exploited, they actually experience a combination of freedom and unfreedom that defies easy categorisation as modern slavery.
About the speaker
Andrew Crane is Professor of Business and Society and Director of the Centre for Business, Organisations and Society in the School of Management at the University of Bath, UK. He is a leading author, researcher, educator and commentator on corporate responsibility and the business of modern slavery. His books include an award-winning textbook on Business Ethics, the Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility, and Social Partnerships and Responsible Business. He is a frequent contributor to the media, including the Financial Times, New York Times, Globe and Mail, Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian. You can follow him on Twitter – @ethicscrane and for more details go to http://andrewcrane.org.