Empowering ethical consumers or passing the buck? The underexplored impacts of responsibilising consumers in regulatory response to modern slavery in global supply chains
Ms Kyla Raby1
1University Of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
The role of consumers in the rise of modern slavery in global supply chains has recently received increasing attention, however, is an under researched area. The impacts of attaching responsibility to consumers in anti-slavery efforts therefore are not well understood. Analysing the positioning of consumers as responsible and influential actors within regulatory responses to modern slavery reveals common untested assumptions related to consumer knowledge, attitudes and behaviours and tensions with proposed consumer led solutions embedded within a capitalist system. This positioning is damaging to overall anti-slavery efforts as it ignores root causes of modern slavery in the current economic system, deflects responsibility from the state and multinational corporations and, in the process, deceives consumers for the greater profit of business.
Kyla Raby is an anti-trafficking researcher and practitioner, undertaking her PhD at UniSA researching the role of the consumer in legislative efforts to eradicate modern slavery in supply chains. Kyla has published research on the impacts of COVID-19 on modern slavery victimisation and designed anti-slavery interventions in the United Kingdom, Bangladesh and Australia, where she currently manages a support service for survivors of human trafficking and forced marriage. She holds a Master of Public and International Law and Bachelor of Journalism and International Relations. Kyla is a sessional teacher with various universities and teaches topics from victimology to employment law.