In 2015, I was fortunate to receive a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (BARSEA) from the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Using funding from my award, I hosted a two-day symposium at the University of Sheffield in October 2015 titled ‘Challenges in Researching the Shadow Economy: A Methods Symposium on Forced Labour’. This symposium gathered together an interdisciplinary group of scholars at the forefront of empirical research on forced labour as well as experts from the International Labour Organization and Anti-Slavery International to tackle the methodological challenges that stand in the way of building a reliable, robust and ethically sound knowledge base on the business of forced labour. The idea for this volume surfaced from these discussions, after which I held a second workshop at the British Academy in London in October 2016 to harmonise and finalise the book.
A host of friends and colleagues encouraged and supported me during the BARSEA project and this book’s development. Andrew Gamble served as Fellow of the British Academy Champion for my BARSEA and my mentor for its duration; his faith in my abilities and advice on the early development of this volume were crucial for getting it off the ground. I am grateful to Nicola Phillips, Andrew Crane, Jean Allain, Tony Payne, Stephen Farrall, Jane Lister and Peter Dauvergne for their expert advice and helpful conversations. I am grateful to the Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour at the International Labour Organization in Geneva – particularly Beate Andrees, Jean-Marie Kagabo, Michaëlle de Cock and Caroline O’Reilly – for their involvement in my BARSEA project.
Several colleagues gave feedback on draft chapters and the volume as a whole: Amanda Berlan, Luc Fransen, Judy Fudge, James Harrison, Chun-Yi Lee, Hannah Lewis, Aidan McQuade, Jeroen Merk, Siobhan McGrath, Sverre Molland, Ben Rogaly, Zoe Trodd and Peer Zumbansen. Collectively, this project benefited from their insights and critiques.
I am indebted to the administrative staff at the University of Sheffield who supported my BARSEA workshops: Laure Astill, Gemma Bennett, Sarah Cooke, Jason Freeman, Charlotte Harden, Tom Hunt and Ann-Marie Smart. Penelope Kyritsis expertly edited each chapter in this volume and provided invaluable assistance and good cheer in drawing the final manuscript together.
As an editor, I am grateful to Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (GLC) for hosting me as their Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Fellow in 2015–16. I conceptualised and wrote the proposal for this volume during my fellowship. Special thanks to GLC Director David Blight, who has been an inspiring mentor and offered incisive (p.xii) advice and encouragement throughout the project. Appreciation must also go to GLC staff David Spatz, Melissa McGrath, Tom Thurston, Michelle Zacks and visiting fellows Sophie White, Susanna Ashton and Joshua Rothman for creating such a fun and encouraging academic home during my time at Yale.
At the British Academy, I am grateful to Brigid Hamilton-Jones, Geetha Nair and James Rivington for their help and advice in assembling this volume, as well as to Christine Trieu, Jonathan Matthews, Ken Emond and Harriet Barnes for their support and encouragement throughout my BARSEA.