Going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed how modern slavery penetrates the global economy and flows into the things we buy, he is a leading abolitionist in the last great anti-slavery movement. Bales exposed how modern slavery penetrates the global economy in his Pulitzer-nominated book, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. The film based on this book, Slavery: A Global Investigation (TrueVision), which he co-wrote for HBO and Channel 4, won a Peabody Award and two Emmys. His book also inspired a project undertaken by seven Magnum photographers, which he helped to design and write, entitled Documenting Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery, which was mounted as a touring exhibition and published as a book by Hayward. Scientific American published his findings as a 9-page fully illustrated feature story. Bales was named as the originator of one of "100 World-Changing Discoveries" by the Association of British Universities and as a "visionary who is changing your world" by Utne Reader. Disposable People went on to publication in ten other languages and won the Premio Viareggio for the Italian edition.
In 2001 he co-founded Free the Slaves, the American sister-organization of the UK's Anti-Slavery International, the world's oldest human rights group. In ten years it has helped to liberate thousands of slaves in India, Nepal, Haiti, Ghana, Brazil, Ivory Coast, and Bangladesh, and work with them to build new lives of dignity. After reading Bales' book Ending Slavery, President Clinton told the plenary of the Clinton Global Initiative: "It tells you that it is a problem we can solve and here's how to do it." Ending Slavery won the 2011 $100,000 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Promoting World Order. In 2008, with Zoe Trodd, he published To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today's Slaves. In 2009, with Ron Soodalter, he published The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today, an expose and plan to make America slave-free for the first time in its history. He is currently writing a book on the relationship between slavery and environmental destruction, and with Jody Sarich a book on forced marriage. He gained his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics.
Hi lives in Brighton, England.