Kara's first non-fiction book on contemporary slavery, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, was published by Columbia University Press in January 2009. In May 2010, a second edition was published in paperback. The book won the 2010 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, a highly prestigious award that is given to the most outstanding nonfiction book on the subject of slavery. Since the inception of the Award in 1999, numerous books on the subject of modern-day slavery have been submitted, but Kara's book was the first to be awarded the prize.
The book has been recommended by the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. It has been lauded by academics, policy-makers and the press, with the Financial Times describing it as an "eloquent and campaigning book" and slavery experts heralding it as "groundbreaking" and the "best book yet on the enduring problem of modern-day slavery." The book has become a go-to resource for policy makers, foundations, and NGO's around the world.
In the book, Kara draws on his background in finance, economics and law to provide what is widely considered to be the first ever comprehensive business, economic and legal analysis of contemporary slavery worldwide, focusing on sex trafficking, its most profitable and barbaric form. He provides a riveting account of his journey into this unconscionable industry, sharing the moving stories of its victims and revealing the shocking conditions of their exploitation. He describes the local factors and global economic forces that gave rise to this and other forms of modern-day slavery across the last two decades and quantifies, for the first time, the size, growth, and profitability of each slave industry. Finally, he recommends the legal, tactical, and policy measures that would target vulnerable sectors in these slave industries, and help to abolish slavery, once and for all.
Sex Trafficking, is currently under development as a feature film, with Kara working as screenwriter and producer.
Kara's second non-fiction book on contemporary slavery, Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia, was released by Columbia University Press in October 2012. It is Kara's second explosive study of slavery, this time focusing on the pervasive, deeply entrenched, and wholly unjust system of bonded labor. While sex trafficking is the most profitable form of modern-day slavery, bonded labor is the most prevalent form.
The book has received high commendations from scholars, activists, non-profit organisations and governments, and was covered as part of a three part series on the CNN International prime time news program Connect the World with Beck Anderson. It has been lauded as "a necessary book for all those concerned with the struggle against contemporary forced labour and slavery" by the International Labour Organisation of the United Nations, "perhaps the most ambitious and reasoned treatment of this form of slavery in the modern era" by Humanity United, "a must-read for all those who work against modern day slavery" by award-winning activist Ruchira Gupta.
In the book, Kara delves into bonded labor to provide one of the first thorough economic, historical and legal overviews of this ancient and ever-evolving mode of slavery, which ensnares roughly six out of every ten slaves in the world. Kara travels to the far reaches of South Asia to uncover the brutish realities of bonded labor in such industries as hand-woven-carpet making, tea and rice farming, construction, brick manufacture, and frozen-shrimp production. He describes the violent enslavement of millions of impoverished women, children, and men who toil in the production of numerous products at minimal cost to the global market. He also follows supply chains directly to Western consumers, vividly connecting regional bonded labor practices to the appetites of the world. Kara's concludes with ten specific initiatives to eliminate the system of bonded labor from South Asia.
Tainted Carpets: Slavery and Child Labor in India's Hand-Made Carpet Sector, is the largest single first-hand study of slavery and child labor conducted to date, and the largest single study of slavery and child labor in a commodity's supply chain. Kara was the lead investigator and author of the report, which was released through the Harvard School of Public Health in January, 2014. Spanning hundreds of productions sites across nine states in northern India, the study found appalling working conditions endemic to India's carpet sector, including estimated prevalence rates of 45% for forced labor, 28% for bonded labor, and 20% for child labor. Production sites of over 172 exporters of carpets from India were found to be tainted by these offences. These same exporters are directly linked to the sale of carpets at some of the largest retailers in the United States. The report makes concrete recommendations on how to improve the disturbing conditions that were found.
"Designing More Effective Laws Against Human Trafficking"
Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights
"Stolen: Human Trafficking Knows No Borders"
"Sex Trafficking: A Global Overview"
World Politics Review
"Twenty-First Century Slaves: Combating Global Sex Trafficking"
"Supply and Demand: Human Trafficking in the Global Economy"
Harvard International Review