Schuster Senior Fellow
E. Benjamin Skinner
was in Afghanistan as an
official election observer.
Read his first-hand reports
published in Foreign Policy:
#1 "E-Day in Kabul"
#2 "The Vote Comes to Afghanistan's Peaceful Heartland"
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Awards & Honors
E. Benjamin Skinner
- Named a 2011 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum
- Winner of the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for non-fiction
- Citation award by the Overseas Press Club in its book category for "A Crime So Monstrous"
- Named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year 2008
April 24, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Lecture & Discussion by E. Benjamin Skinner at Historic Newton: Slavery in America Today, Newton, Mass.
March 26, 2012.
E. Benjamin Skinner will talk about the possible links between slavery on fishing vessels in New Zealand and the seafood we eat, WHYY (90.9 FM).
March 21, 2012.
E. Benjamin Skinner will give the keynote speach at the 10th annual Freedom Network Conference, New York, N.Y.
March 15, 2012.
E. Benjamin Skinner spoke about links between slaves on fishing vessels in New Zealand waters and the seafood we eat in America, Radio Boston, WBUR. Listen>
February 22, 2010.
E. Benjamin Skinner spoke to a full house about modern-day slavery and "A Crime So Monstrous," a report about his personal journey investigating contemporary slavery around the world. Watch>
E. Benjamin Skinner
E BENJAMIN SKINNER is an award-winning author and journalist who has been studying the U.S. and global political economies, specializing in modern-day slavery. In researching his book, "A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern-Day Slavery" (Free Press, 2008), he observed the negotiations for sale of human beings on four continents. His articles and investigations have appeared in such outlets as Time, Newsweek International, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and on ABC's Nightline, where one of his book's chapters was adapted into an Emmy-award-winning episode, "How to Buy a Child in Ten Hours."
Skinner served on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Illicit Trade. He has served as Special Assistant to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and as Research Associate for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Skinner frequently appears on national networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, C-Span, Fox, NBC, PBS, CNN, as well as international and local networks.
Skinner was on staff with the Schuster Institute as a Senior Fellow between 2009 and 2013. He is currently a Senior Vice President at Tau Investment Management.
Skinner first published his investigations into human trafficking and slavery in "A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery," a book the New York Times and Boston Globe called "devastating." The book was also published in the Czech Republic (Nakladatelství XYZ), Germany (Lübbe), Korea (NanJang), Italy (Einaudi), The Netherlands (Cossee), Poland (Znak), and the United Kingdom (Random House UK).
In the five years during which he researched "A Crime So Monstrous," which Kirkus Reviews called "investigative journalism of the first order, the kind that demands blood tribute," Skinner traveled the globe to tell the stories of modern-day slaves, survivors, traffickers, and abolitionists. Scholars estimate that today the total number of slaves is greater than at any point in history. To investigate that number, Skinner adopted a narrow definition of "slaves" as people who are forced to work, under threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence. Going undercover when necessary, Skinner infiltrated trafficking networks and slave quarries, urban child markets, and illegal brothels.
ABC's Nightline and NBC's Law & Order adapted chapters of the book into episodes. The book received praise and coverage in a wide variety of media outlets, including the Boston Globe, Foreign Policy, the International Herald-Tribune, Mother Jones, Ms., the New York Times, New York Daily News, Reader's Digest, Salon.com, The Scotsman, The Washington Post, and several religious and political publications or websites with outlooks ranging across the political spectrum. Skinner has also contributed to several edited volumes, including: "Crimes of War 2.0: What the Public Should Know, Revised and Expanded Edition," Roy Gutman, David Rieff and Anthony Dworkin, eds., (W.W. Norton, 2007), Censored 2009: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007-08, Roy Gutman, Peter Philips and Andrew Roth, eds., (Seven Stories Press, 2008).
"A Crime So Monstrous," which Bill Clinton praised as “rigorously investigated and fearlessly reported,” won the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for non-fiction and received a citation from the Overseas Press Club in its book category.
Skinner was named a 2011 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2008, he was named one of National Geographic’s “Adventurers of the Year 2008.” Since publication of “A Crime So Monstrous,” Skinner, supported by a grant from Humanity United, has continued to investigate modern-day slavery in all its forms.
From 2008 to 2009, he was a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy of Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Skinner has testified before Congress and has spoken about slavery to dozens of educational and religious institutions, corporations, conferences, and community organizations, including the World Bank, The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and Free the Slaves’ Freedom Awards.
Skinner has been interviewed or profiled, and his book has been reviewed, in numerous media outlets, including National Geographic, NYTimes.com, MotherJones.com, Salon.com, Washington Post, and Readers Digest. He is a frequent contributor to national networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, C-Span, Fox News, NBC, PBS, CNN, as well as international and local networks.
CNN's Larry King Live, April 4, 2010: Lisa Ling interviewed E. Benjamin Skinner, Ashley Judd, Lucy Liu, and child slave survivors Caroline Germann and Maria Suarez on the subject of modern-day slavery in America and around the world.
Click on the links below to watch clips of the show (requires free Microsoft Silverlight software).
Mission to Haiti to help Bill Nathan, former child slave who now dedicates his life to needy Haitian children.
Haiti Rescue: Saving the Man Who Saved My Life, TIME Magazine, Jan. 20, 2010.
TIME's video: "Haiti Rescue: Saving the Man Who Saved My Life," Jan. 20, 2010.
Extreme Measures to Save Extraordinary Man, ABC WORLD NEWS, Jan. 17, 2010.
- ABC Nightline : “How to Buy a Child in 10 Hours”
- Deutsche Welle: Global 3000/ Interview: Benjamin Skinner
- PBS Tavis Smiley: Interview with E. Benjamin Skinner
- Plum TV (Telluride), Minds of Mountainfilm: Ben Skinner
- Swiss TV: Schändliches Gewerbe – Benjamin Skinner denunziert die heutige Sklaverei
- PBS Worldfocus: Global economic crisis pushes human trafficking. View the segment below:
Skinner is frequently interviewed on national, international and local radio programs such as NPR, Air America, WorldStreams Radio, and Progressive Radio. Some of these interviews are listed below.
National Public Radio:
- Day to Day: "Author Struggles to Stay Removed from Slave Trade"
- WNYC's The Leonard Lopate Show: "Modern-Day Slavery"
- WAMC Northeast Public Radio's "The Roundtable": Interview with E. Benjamin Skinner
- WAMC Northeast Public Radio's "New York News": Modern-day abolitionist to speak in Troy"
- KPCC Southern California Public Radio: Interview with E. Benjamin Skinner
"Indonesia's Palm Oil Industry Rife With Human-Rights Abuses," July 18, 2013, Businessweek.com.
"The Fishing Industry's Cruelest Catch," February 20, 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek.
"How U.S. Budget Cuts Prolong Global Slavery," June 28, 2011, Time.com.
"Britain's Long Fight Against Slavery," May 2, 2011, Huffington Post.
" Modern-Day Slavery: A Necessary Beat With Different Challenges," Nieman Reports, Winter 2010.
"Modern-Day Slavery on Washington's Embassy Row?" Time, June 14, 2010.
“The New Slave Trade,” Time, January 18, 2010
“Pakistan’s Forgotten Plight: Modern-Day Slavery,” Time, October 27, 2009
“Clinton Takes Up Lincoln’s ‘Unfinished Work,” AC360.com, September 25, 2009
“The Fight to End Global Slavery,” World Policy Journal, Summer 2009
“A Q&A on Human Trafficking,” AC360.com, June 18, 2009
“Kolik Stojí Otrok?” (“How Much for a Slave?”) Marie Claire (Czech Republic), May 2009
“Obama’s Abolitionist,” Huffington Post, March 25, 2009
“And You Thought Slavery Was History,” Marie Claire (Australia), March 2009
"Moderne Sklaven," Die Welt (Germany), December 13, 2008
"A Crime So Monstrous," Tonic News, August 22, 2008
"People for Sale," The Utne Reader, July/August 2008
"Growth of slavery worldwide is very real challenge," Miami Herald, July 27, 2008
"Slavery in America: An Undeniable Truth," ABC News, July 11, 2008
"Slavery's New Mecca," The National Post (Canada), July 4, 2008
"Slavery Is No Relic," Huffington Post, March 31, 2008
"Slavery's Staying Power," Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2008
"A World Enslaved," Foreign Policy, March/April 2008
"Is the World Safer Now?" Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2005
"Sudan: Fighting a Peace Plan" Newsweek International, August 18, 2003
"Kidnapping and Cutting in Brazil," Black Book, March/April 2003