Siddharth Kara is one of the world’s foremost experts on human trafficking and contemporary slavery. He is the Director of the Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he is also an Adjunct Lecturer and teaches the only course on human trafficking at HKS. In addition, Kara is a Visiting Scientist on Forced Labor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Kara is the author of Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, co-winner of the prestigious 2010 Frederick Douglass Award at Yale University for the best non-fiction book on slavery. Sex Trafficking is the first book on modern forms of slavery to win the prize. Kara’s second book, Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia was released in October, 2012. Just as Sex Trafficking provided the first comprehensive overview of the global sex trafficking industry, Bonded Labor provides the first comprehensive overview of the system of debt bondage endemic to South Asia.
Since first encountering human trafficking in a Bosnian refugee camp in the 1990′s, Kara has traveled to more than thirty countries across six continents to research modern slavery, personally documenting the cases of over 1,300 former and current slaves of all kinds, witnessing firsthand the sale of humans into slavery, and confronting some of those who trafficked and exploited them. During the course of his research, Kara has meticulously mapped global human trafficking networks, explored the perilous underground of trafficked sex slaves, delved into the inner workings of organized crime groups that traffic in human organs, and traced global supply chains of numerous commodities tainted by slavery and child labor. In addition to self-funding most of his research, Kara has received support from Humanity United and Google.org.
Kara currently advises the United Nations, the U.S. Government, and several other governments on anti-trafficking policy and law. Kara has testified before the U.S. Congress and several foreign Parliaments on his research. Kara’s has also appeared extensively in the media as an expert on modern slavery, including on CNN, the BBC, the Guardian, CNBC, National Geographic, and numerous documentary films.
Previously, Kara was an investment banker at Merrill Lynch, then ran his own finance and M&A consulting firm. He holds a Law degree from England, MBA from Columbia University, and BA from Duke University.