The blindfold witness? An accountant’s response to debt slavery and atrocity in the devil’s paradise

Stephen P. Walker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study discusses the case of a professional accountant who was alleged to have been wilfully blind to the enslavement and barbaric treatment of indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon during the early twentieth century. Ideological positioning and the prospect of personal advancement are discussed as possible motives for such blindness. The practitioner in question claimed ignorance of the abuses in his midst. He contended that his responsibilities as an accountant did not extend to investigating the condition of labour and that the brutal treatment of indigenous peoples in the upper reaches of the supply chain was deliberately hidden from his view by the client company. The findings have implications for current day discourses about the role of accountants and auditors in detecting and addressing modern slavery.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101068
JournalBritish Accounting Review
Early online date11 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • accountancy profession
  • slavery
  • atrocity
  • wilful blindness
  • Amazon

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