Learning from experience: comparing legal approaches to foreign bribery and modern slavery

Hannah Harris, Justine Nolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Corruption and human rights abuses are intrinsically linked, and the power and influence of corporate actors is a primary facilitator of this relationship. Despite this connection, efforts to combat corruption and human rights abuses have taken diverse legal approaches. This article explores the criminal law framework for tackling foreign bribery and compares it to the emerging disclosure-based framework to address modern slavery risks. The foreign bribery model appears 'hard', focusing on criminality and corporate criminal liability. The modern slavery supply chain governance approach is 'softer', based on disclosure with limited consequences for non-compliance. Effective enforcement of both frameworks remains elusive. This article argues for enhanced cross-over between the two approaches—to incentivize corporate actors through a combination of stakeholder engagement and the use of penalty defaults, designed to motivate innovative compliance strategies. Learning from the successes and limitations of each approach will enhance enforcement efforts with the goal of reducing the occurrence of bribery and modern slavery in international business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-652
Number of pages50
JournalCardozo International and Comparative Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • human rights
  • supply chains
  • bribery
  • corruption
  • regulation
  • modern slavery


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