Symposium on forced labor in the global economy

A collaboration between the BBC World Service Trust and the Program on Human Rights and Justice at MIT's Center for International Studies.
May 14, 2005

Though many of us would like to think of forced labor as a practice of the past, the unfortunate reality is that millions of people are still victims of this gross human rights abuse.  The purpose of this collaboration is to raise public awareness about the issue and to tackle some of the disagreements about forced labor, including how big a problem it is, how we should define it, and who should deal with it and how.

This event at MIT will occur shortly after the release of a major report by the International Labour Organization on forced labor as it exists in the global economy.

All are welcome to attend this special event, which will include the taping of BBC and WBUR television and radio programs.

RSVP's are appreciated to or 617.253.8306.

Refreshments will be served during the break between the two programs.

9:00 a.m. until noon 
MIT's Kresge Auditorium (Building W16)

1. Introductions from John Tirman, Executive Director of the MIT Center for International Studies and Stephen King, Director of the BBC World Service Trust.

2. Taping of WBUR/Boston's On Point, with host Tom Ashbrook.  A conversation about forced labor in the context of globalization.

3. Break

4. Taping of BBC Television's The World Debatewith host Zeinab Badawi.

Guests for the two programs will include Columbia University economics professor Jagdish Bhagwati (In Defense of Globalization); Deputy U.S. Secretary of Labor Steven LawKevin Bales, Director of Free the Slaves; Roger Plant, chief author of the ILO; Regina Abrami of the Harvard Business School; Jean Robert Cadet, a former child slave in Haiti and an adjunct lecturer in French at the University of Cincinnati; Terry Collingsworth of the International Labor Rights Fund; and Thomas A. Kochan, the George M. Bunker Professor of Management at MIT's Sloan School of Management.

BBC World will air the MIT debate on Saturday, May 21, 2005.  BBC World is the BBC's international 24-hour news and information channel, reaching 258 million households around the globe. This program will also be offered to public television stations in the U.S.  It will air in the New York area on Sunday, May 22 and 3:30 p.m. Check local listings for airdates and times in other cities.

WBUR's On Point is distributed across the United States by National Public Radio. This program will air during the week of May 16, 2005 (between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. in the Boston area).

Both programs will be streamed on MIT World, MIT's on-demand video site.

Additional information about forced labor can be found at the following BBC sites: 

  • MIT and its partners in this forced labor symposium will also hold private roundtable discussions, a report on which will be available on this Web site, as well as on the sites for the MIT Program on Human Rights and Justice, the BBC World Service Trust, and the ILO, in June 2005.

  • This event has been supported by the International Labour Organization, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Government of Ireland, and the UK Department for International Development.

The Center for International Studies (CIS) supports interna­tional research and education at MIT. It is the home of MIT’s Security Studies Program; the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative, its pioneering global education program; the Program on Emerging Technologies; and seminars and research on migration, South Asia politics, the Middle East, cybersecurity, nuclear weapons, and East Asia. The Center has traditionally been aligned with the social sciences while also working with MIT’s premier science and engineering scholars. CIS produces research that creatively addresses global issues while helping to educate the next generation of global citizens.