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CFS Wk 1 Spr2014

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Julie Jenkins

on 13 January 2014

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Transcript of CFS Wk 1 Spr2014

The History of Contemporary Forms of Slavery
Free The Slaves.org
League of Nations Slavery Convention
(League of Nations Slavery, Servitude, Forced Labor, & Similar Institutions and Practices Convention)
"the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised"
UN Center for HR (1991)
--traditional (chattel slavery)
--sale of children
--child prostitution & pornography
--exploitation of child labor
--the use of children in armed conflicts
--traffic in humans
--sale of human organs
--exploitation of prostitutes
--forced labor under apartheid and colonialism
--forced labor for the State
--ritual or 'cult' slavery
--servile marriage
--domestic servitude
--abuses on migrant workers, prisoners, indigenous peoples, and street children
What brought about the League of Nations' definition of slavery and how/why has it expanded during the 20th century?
Slavery, as an institution, contested during the 18th & 19th centuries
--Enlightenment thinkers
--religious groups
Especially the Quakers:
--framed slavery as 'ownership of human beings and extreme dominion and exploitation'
Abolition Movement strongest in UK:
--slavery illegal in England 1772
--abolish the legality of importing slaves- 1807
Slavery Abolition Act of 1833--
--abolishment of slavery throughout British Empire
--didn't affect India, Burma, or Ceylon
--Slave-trade continued on foreign ships..
...but Britain signed treaties to provide them right to search ships (except the US)
1839- The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society
(Anti-Slavery International- ASI)
1890- "Brussels Act" (General Act for the Suppression of African Slave Trade)
---end the trade in slaves, though not forced labor or domestic slavery
---expanded and more effective colonial administration would provide best protection
Brussels Act lapsed in 1919--
belief that the slave trade was no longer an issue
1920- ASI (John Harris)
--lobbied for global investigation by the League of Nations
--spurred on by situation in Ethiopia

recommended --
--treaty for elimination of slavery & "all its forms"
--serfdom, forced marriage, child marriage, inheritance of widows, adoption/sale of children for labor, debt bondage, forced labor
1926--Slavery Convention
"the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised"

--binds signatories to prevent and suppress slave trade and bring about the complete abolition of slavery in all its forms.

Advisory Committee of Experts on Slavery
--from 1935-39
--only heard evidence from governments
--couldn't discuss forced labor
--Maxwell-- narrow definition to chattel slavery, slave raiding & trading
UN (1945) didn't include Slavery Convention-
---but developed 1948 Universal Declaration of HR
--"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery & the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms"
Committee of Experts in 1951
--laid groundwork for 1956 Supplementary Convention
--heard evidence from NGOs & individuals
1956 Supplementary Convention
--added new forms of slavery/ "institutions or practices similar to slavery"
----Debt Bondage
----Certain Marriage Practices
----Exploitation of Children
1975- Working Group on Slavery (Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery - 1988)
--mandate to combat slave trade and slavery "in all their practices and manifestations- including apartheid and colonialism"
views slavery as open-ended
-- "the definitions in the existing relevant conventions did not cover the concept of slavery under all its present aspects"
1) "any forms of dealing with human beings leading to the forced exploitation of their labor"
2) "all institutions and practices which by restricting the freedom of the individual, are susceptible of causing severe hardship and serious deprivations of liberty"
Where is the threshold? How do we determine which practices can and can not be considered slavery?
How would you define slavery? What images/ideas does this term imply?
--term debated, contested, & expanded over 19th & 20th century
--supported colonialism
--didn't end slavery
--policies weren't always enforced
--colonial admins used forced labor, conscription into army, taxation to force people into contract labor
-clause inserted in covenant of League of Nations
--"secure and maintain fair and human conditions of labor and just treatment of the native inhabitants under their control"
--no enforcement, no time limit, no definition
--League eventually formed Temporary Slavery Commission in 1924
--regulated by colonial powers
--designed to have limited power
--advisory & temporary
--proposal watered-down
--narrow/vague definition
--how far does "right of ownership" extend?
--no enforcement or review
--did ensure slavery had no legal status
Committee of Experts on Slavery - 1932
--couldn't discuss forced labor
--only consider evidence vetted by governments
--Lugard (British) vs Angoulant (French)
to have a committee or not...
--Advocacy of ASI
--issue of apartheid
-UN Commission on Human Rights
-Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities (Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights - 1999)
--Working Group on Slavery
--no power of enforcement
According to Miers, what are some of the problems that we encounter when trying to define 'slavery'?
Full transcript