slave trade

The history of slavery covers many different forms of human exploitation across many cultures and throughout human history. Slavery, generally defined, refers to the systematic exploitation of labor for work and services without consent and/or the possession of other persons as property. There is no clear timeline for the formation of slavery in any formalized sense. Slavery can be traced to the earliest records, such as the Code of Hammurabi, which refers to slavery as an already established institution.[1]
Period and context
History of slavery
Slavery in antiquity
Slavery and religion
Atlantic slave trade
African slave trade
Arab slave trade
Slavery in Asia
Human trafficking
Sexual slavery
Unfree labour
Debt bondage
List of slaves
Legal status
Political prisoner

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Europe and Mediterranean

The ancient Mediterranean civilizations

Main article: Slavery in antiquity
Slavery in the ancient cultures was known to occur civilizations as old as Sumer, and found in every such civilization, including Ancient Egypt, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, ancient Greece, Rome and parts of its empire, and the Islamic Caliphate. Such institutions were a mixture of debt-slavery, punishment for crime, the enslavement of prisoners of war, child abandonment, and the birth of slave children to slaves.[2] In the Roman Empire, probably over 25% of the population was enslaved.[3]

Slavery was an important element in the development of the ancient Greek city-states. Records of slavery in Ancient Greece go as far back as Mycenaean Greece. The treatment of Greek slaves could be said to be harsh, but not extremely brutal. The Spartans had earlier reduced an entire population to a pseudo-slavery called helots. In ancient Athens about 30% of the population consisted of slaves.[4]

As the Roman Republic expanded outward, entire populations were enslaved, thus creating an ample supply. The people subjected to Roman slavery came from all over Europe and the Mediterranean. Such oppression by an elite minority eventually led to slave revolts (see Roman Servile Wars); the Third Servile War led by Spartacus was the most famous and severe. Greeks, Africans, Germans, Thracians, Gauls (or Celts), Jews, Arabs, and many more were slaves used not only for labour, but also for amusement (e.g. gladiators and sex slaves). If a slave ran away, he was liable to be crucified. By the late Republican era, slavery had become a vital economic pillar in the wealth of Rome. Slavery was so common, and citizenship restricted so firmly (only to native-born adult males), that the slaves in Rome far outnumbered the citizens.[5]

The Vikings

Main article: Thrall
In the Viking era starting c. 793, the Norse raiders often captured and enslaved weaker peoples they encountered. In the Nordic countries the slaves were called thralls (Old Norse: Şræll).[6] The thralls were mostly from Western Europe, among them many Franks, Anglo-Saxons, and Celts. There is evidence of German, Baltic, Slavic and south European slaves as well. The slave trade was one of the pillars of Norse commerce during the 6th through 11th centuries.[7] The Persian traveller Ibn Rustah described how Swedish Vikings, the Varangians or Rus, terrorized and enslaved the Slavs. The practice came to an end when Catholicism became widespread throughout Scandinavia. As in the rest of Catholic Europe, the Church held that a Christian could not morally own another Christian. The thrall system was finally abolished in 1350. Serfdom never came to Norway, Iceland and Sweden.[8][9]

Middle Ages

Chaos and invasion made the taking of slaves habitual throughout Europe in the early Middle Ages. St. Patrick, himself captured and sold as a slave, protested an attack that enslaved newly baptized Christians in his . In Carolingian Europe approximately 20% of the entire population consisted of slaves.[10] At that time, Europe was weak and disunited, and for more than half a century Magyar bands raided Germany, Great Moravia, Italy, the Byzantine Empire, and lands as far away as Spain. The Magyars looted towns and took captives for labor, ransom, or sale on the slave market.[11]

Slavery in early medieval Europe was so common that the Roman Catholic Church repeatedly prohibited it—or at least the export of Christian slaves to non-Christian lands was prohibited at, for example, the Council of Koblenz in 922, the Council of London in 1102, and the Council of Armagh in 1171.[12] William the Conqueror, too, banned export of English slaves. The early medieval slave trade was mainly to the East: the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world were the destinations, pagan Central and Eastern Europe, along with the Caucasus and Tartary, were important sources. Viking, Arab, Greek and Jewish merchants (known as Radhanites) were all involved in the slave trade during the Early Middle Ages.[13][14][15]

So many Slavs were enslaved for so many centuries that the very name 'slave' derived from their name, not only in English, but in other European languages and in Arabic.[16][17][18]

The Mongol invasions and conquests in the 13th century made the situation worse. The Mongols enslaved skilled individuals, women and children and marched them to Karakorum or Sarai, whence they were sold throughout Eurasia. Many of these slaves were shipped to slave market in Novgorod.[19][20][21]

Slave commerce during the Late Middle Ages was mainly in the hands of Venetian and Genoese merchants and cartels, who were involved in the slave trade with the Golden Horde. In 1382 the Golden Horde under Khan Tokhtamysh sacked Moscow, burning the city and carrying off thousands of inhabitants as slaves. Between 1414 and 1423, some 10,000 eastern European slaves were sold in Venice.[22] Genoese merchants organized the slave trade from the Crimea to Mamluk Egypt. For years the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan routinely made raids on Russian principalities for slaves and to plunder towns. Russian chronicles record about 40 raids of Kazan Khans on the Russian territories in the first half of the 16th century.[23] In 1521, the combined forces of Crimean Khan Mehmed Giray and his Kazan allies attacked Moscow and captured thousands of slaves.[24]

In 1441, Haci I Giray declared independence from the Golden Horde and established the Crimean Khanate. For a long time, until the early 18th century, the khanate maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. In a process called the "harvesting of the steppe", they enslaved many Slavic peasants. About 30 major Tatar raids were recorded into Muscovite territories between 1558-1596.[25] In 1571, the Crimean Tatars attacked and sacked Moscow, burning everything but the Kremlin and taking thousands of captives as slaves.[26] In Crimea, about 75% of the population consisted of slaves.[27]

Medieval Spain was the scene of almost constant warfare between Muslims and Christians. Periodic raiding expeditions were sent from Al-Andalus to ravage the Christian Spanish kingdoms, bringing back booty and slaves. In raid against Lisbon in 1189, for example, the Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 female and child captives, while his governor of Córdoba, in a subsequent attack upon Silves in 1191, took 3,000 Christian slaves.[28]

The Byzantine-Ottoman wars and the Ottoman wars in Europe brought large numbers of Christian slaves into the Islamic world too.[29] After the battle of Lepanto approximately 12,000 Christian galley slaves were freed from the Ottoman Turks.[30] Christians were also selling Muslim slaves captured in war. The Knights of Malta attacked pirates and Muslim shipping, and their base became a centre for slave trading, selling captured North Africans and Turks. Malta remained a slave market until well into the late 18th century. It required a thousand slaves to equip merely the galleys (ships) of the Order.[31][32]

Slavery in Poland was forbidden in the 15th century; in Lithuania, slavery was formally abolished in 1588; they were replaced by the second enserfment. Slavery remained a major institution in Russia until the 1723, when the Peter the Great converted the household slaves into house serfs. Russian agricultural slaves were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679.[33]

Great Britain and Ireland

The Portuguese Explorations

See also: Portuguese Empire

The 15th Century Portuguese exploration of the African coast, commonly regarded as the harbinger of European colonialism, also marked the beginnings of the slave trade which was to become a major element of this colonialism until the end of the 18th Century. In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum Diversas, granting Afonso V of Portugal the right to reduce any "Saracens, pagans and any other unbelievers" to hereditary slavery. This approval of slavery was reaffirmed and extended in his Romanus Pontifex bull of 1455. These papal bulls came to serve as a justification for the subsequent era of slave trade and European colonialism. Although for a short period as in 1462, Pius II declared slavery to be "a great crime"[34].

The maritime town of Lagos, Portugal, has the dubious distinction of being the location of the first slave market created by Europeans for the sale of imported African slaves - the Mercado de Escravos, opened in 1444, whose site is still pointed out to visitors to the town. In 1444, first slaves were brought to Portugal from northern Mauritania. The well-known Prince Henry the Navigator, major sponsor of the Portuguese African expeditions, received one fifth of the selling price of the slaves imported to Portugal. In later times, the focus of European trade in African slaves shifted from importing them to Europe to their transport to tropical colonies in the Americas - in the case of Portugal, especially to Brazil.

Pre-industrial Europe

It became the custom among the Mediterranean powers to sentence condemned criminals to row in the war-galleys of the state (initially only in time of war).[35] The French Huguenots filled the galleys after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and Camisard rebellion.[36] Galley-slaves lived in unsavoury conditions, so even though some sentences prescribed a restricted number of years, most rowers would eventually die, even if they survived shipwreck and slaughter or torture at the hands of enemies or of pirates.[37] Naval forces often turned 'infidel' prisoners-of-war into galley-slaves. Several well-known historical figures served time as galley slaves after being captured by the enemy -- the Ottoman corsair and admiral Turgut Reis and the Knights Hospitaller Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette among them.[38]

In that time second serfdom took place in Eastern Europe during this period (particularly in Austria, Hungary, Prussia, Russia and Poland). Only in 1768 was a law passed in Poland that discontinued the nobility's control of the right to life or death of serfs. Serfdom remained the practice on the most part of territory of Russia until February 19, 1861. Some of the Roma people were enslaved over five centuries in Romania until abolition in 1864.[39]

Slavery in the French Republic was abolished on February 4, 1794.

Modern times

Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazi regime created many Arbeitslager (labour camps) in Germany and Eastern Europe. Prisoners in Nazi labor camps were worked to death on short rations and in bad conditions, or killed if they became unable to work. Millions died as a direct result of forced labour under the Nazis. (See for instance Eugen Kogon's publication The Theory and Practice of Hell: The German Concentration Camps and the System Behind Them[40])

About 12 million forced laborers, most of whom were Eastern Europeans, were employed in the German war economy inside the Nazi Germany.[41][42] More than 2000 German companies profited from slave labor during the Nazi era, including DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bank, Siemens, Volkswagen, Hoechst, Dresdner Bank, Krupp, Allianz, BASF, Bayer, BMW and Degussa.[43][44]

Between 1930 and 1960, the Soviet regime created many Lageria (labour camps) in Siberia. Prisoners in Soviet labor camps were worked to death on extreme production quotas, brutality, hunger and harsh elements.[45] The fatality rate was as high as 80% during the first months in many camps.Michael McFaul, in his New York Times article of June 11,2003, entitled 'Books of the Times;Camps of Terror, Often Overlooked' [1], has this to say about the state of contemporary dialogue on Soviet slavery:
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Nikolai Getman Moving out.[46]
It should now be known to all serious scholars that the camps began under Lenin and not Stalin. It should be recognized by all that people were sent to the camps not because of what they did, but because of who they were. Some may be surprised to learn about the economic function that the camps were designed to perform. Under Stalin, the camps were simply a crueler but equally inefficient way to exploit labor in the cause of building socialism than the one practiced outside the camps in the Soviet Union. Yet, even this economic role of the camps has been exposed before.

What is remarkable is that the facts about this monstrous system so well documented in Ms. Applebaum's book are still so poorly known and even, by some, contested. For decades, academic historians have gravitated away from event-focused history and toward social history. Yet, the social history of the gulag somehow has escaped notice. Compared with the volumes and volumes written about the Holocaust, the literature on the gulag is thin.

(The article draws attention to Anne Applebaum's Pulitzer Prize winning text [2])

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the impoverished former Eastern bloc countries such as Albania, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine have been identified as major trafficking source countries for women and children.[47] Young women and girls are often lured to wealthier countries by the promises of money and work and than reduced to sexual slavery.[48] It is estimated that 2/3 of women trafficked for prostitution worldwide annually come from Eastern Europe, three-quarters have never worked as prostitutes before.[49][50] The major destinations are Western Europe (Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, Greece), the Middle East (Turkey, Israel, the United Arab Emirates), Asia, Russia and the United States.[51][52]

An estimated 500,000 women from Central and Eastern Europe are working in prostitution in the EU alone.[53] It is estimated that half million Ukrainian women were trafficked abroad since 1991 (80% of all unemployed in Ukraine are women).[54][55] Russia is a major source of women trafficked globally for the purpose of sexual exploitation, Russian women are in prostitution in over 50 countries.[56][57][58] In poverty-stricken Moldova, where the unemployment rate for women ranges as high as 68% and one-third of the workforce live and work abroad, experts estimate that since the collapse of the Soviet Union between 200,000 and 400,000 women have been sold into prostitution abroad — perhaps up to 10% of the female population.[59][60]

Slavery in Muslim World

Main article: Arab slave trade
For Muslim views on slavery, see Islam and Slavery
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13th century slave market in Yemen

Historians say the Arab slave trade began in the 7th century and lasted more than millennium.[61][62] The Arab or Middle Eastern slave trade is thought to have originated with trans-Saharan slavery.[63][64] Arab, Indian, and Oriental traders were involved in the capture and transport of slaves northward across the Sahara desert and the Indian Ocean region into Arabia and the Middle East, Persia, and the Indian subcontinent.[65] The slave trade from East Africa to Arabia was dominated by Arab and African traders in the coastal cities of Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam and Mombasa.[65][67] The Moors, starting in the 8th century, raided coastal areas of the Mediterranean, and became known as the Barbary pirates.

Male slaves were employed as servants, soldiers, or laborers, while female slaves were traded to Middle Eastern countries and kingdoms by Arab, Indian, or Oriental traders, some as domestic servants, others as sex slaves.[68][69][70] Some historians estimate that between 11 and 17 million slaves crossed the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara Desert from 650 to 1900 CE.[71][72]

In 1400 Timur the Lame invaded Armenia and Georgia. More than 60,000 people from the Caucasus were captured as slaves, and many districts of Armenia were depopulated.[73]

From 1569 the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth suffered a series of Tatar invasions, the goal of which was to loot, pillage and capture slaves into jasyr. The borderland area to the south-east was in a state of semi-permanent warfare until the 18th century. Some researchers estimate that altogether more than 3 million people, predominantly Ukrainians but also Circassians, Russians, Belarusians and Poles, were captured and enslaved during the time of the Crimean Khanate.[74][75] Russian conquest of the Crimea led to the abolition of slavery by the 1780s.[76]

Slavery was an important part of Ottoman society. In Istanbul, about 1/5 of the population consisted of slaves.[77] As late as 1908 women slaves were still sold in the Ottoman Empire.[78] In the middle of the 14th century, Murad I built his own personal slave army called the Kapıkulu. The new force was based on the sultan's right to a fifth of the war booty, which he interpreted to include captives taken in battle. The captive slaves were converted to Islam and trained in the sultan's personal service. In the devşirme (translated "blood tax" or "child collection"), a young Christian boys from the Balkans were taken away from their homes and families, converted to Islam and enlisted into special soldier classes of the Ottoman army. These soldier classes were named Janissaries, the most famous branch of the Kapıkulu. The Janissaries eventually became a decisive factor in the Ottoman invasions of Europe.[79] Most of the military commanders of the Ottoman forces, imperial administrators and de facto rulers of the Ottoman Empire, such as Pargalı İbrahim Pasha and Sokollu Mehmet Paşa, were recruited in this way.[80][81] By 1609 the Sultan's Kapıkulu forces increased to about 100,000.[82]

Mamluks were a slave soldiers who converted to Islam and served the Muslim caliphs and the Ayyubid sultans during the Middle Ages. The first mamluks served the Abbasid caliphs in 9th century Baghdad. Over time they became a powerful military caste, and on more than one occasion they seized power for themselves, for example, ruling Egypt in the from 1250-1517. From 1250 Egypt had been ruled by the Bahri dynasty of Kipchak Turk origin. White slaves from the Caucasus served in the army and formed an elite corp of troops eventually revolting in Egypt to form the Burgi dynasty. Mamluks were mainly responsible for the expulsion of the Crusaders from Palestine and preventing the Mongol Ilkhanate of Persia and Iraq from entering Egypt.[83]

The Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail "the Bloodthirsty" (1672-1727) raised a corps of 150,000 black slaves, called his Black Guard, who coerced the country into submission.[84]

Nautical traders from the United States became targets, and frequent victims, of the Barbary pirates, as soon as that nation began trading with Europe and refused to pay the required tribute to the North African states.

Modern times

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Child Slavery: Trafficked children as young as 2 years old are forced to work up to 18 hours a day as camel jockeys in the Middle East
The Arab or Middle Eastern slave trade continued into the early 1900s[85], and by some accounts continues to this day. As recently as the 1950s, Saudi Arabia had an estimated 450,000 slaves, 20% of the population.[86][87] It is estimated that as many as 200,000 children and women have been taken into slavery in Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War.[88][89] In Mauritania it is estimated that up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population, are currently enslaved, many of them used as bonded labour.[90] Slavery in Mauritania was finally criminalized in August 2007.[91]

The Arab trade in slaves continued into the 20th century. Written travelogues and other historical works are replete with references to slaves owned by wealthy traders, nobility and heads of state in the Arabian Peninsula well into the 1920s. Slave owning and slave-like working conditions have been documented up to and including the present, in countries of the Middle East. Though the subject is considered taboo in the affected regions, a leading Saudi government cleric and author of the country's religious curriculum has called for the outright re-legalization of slavery.[3][4]

Children as young as two years old are used for slavery as child camel jockeys across the Arab countries of the Middle East. Although strict laws have been introduced recently in Qatar and UAE, thanks to better awareness of the issue and lobbying by human rights organisations such as the Ansar Burney Trust, the use of children still continues in outlying areas and during secret night-time races.

Many of the Iraqi women fleeing the Iraq War are turning to prostitution, others are trafficked abroad, to countries like Syria, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Iran.[92] In Syria alone, an estimated 50,000 Iraqi refugee girls and women, many of them widows, are forced into prostitution.[93] Cheap Iraqi prostitutes have helped to make Syria a popular destination for sex tourists. The clients come from wealthier countries in the Middle East - many are Saudi men.[94] High prices are offered for virgins.[95]


Main article: African slave trade
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Two slightly differing Okpoho manillas as used to purchase slaves

In most African societies, there was very little difference between the free peasants and the feudal vassal peasants. Vassals of the Songhay Muslim Empire were used primarily in agriculture; they paid tribute to their masters in crop and service but they were slightly restricted in custom and convenience. These people were more an occupational caste, as their bondage was relative. In the Kanem Bornu Empire, vassals were three classes beneath the nobles. Marriage between captor and captive was far from rare, blurring the anticipated roles.[65].

French historian Fernand Braudel noted that slavery was endemic in Africa and part of the structure of everyday life. "Slavery came in different disguises in different societies: there were court slaves, slaves incorporated into princely armies, domestic and household slaves, slaves working on the land, in industry, as couriers and intermediaries, even as traders" (Braudel 1984 p. 435). During the 16th century, Europe began to outpace the Arab world in the export traffic, with its slave traffic from Africa to the Americas. The Dutch imported slaves from Asia into their colony in South Africa. Later, the United Kingdom, which held vast colonial territories on the African continent (including southern Africa), made the practice of slavery illegal throughout its empire. The end of the slave trade and the decline of slavery was imposed upon Africa by its European conquerors.

The nature of the slave societies differed greatly across the continent. There were large plantations worked by slaves in Egypt, the Sudan and Zanzibar, but this was not a typical use of slaves in Africa as a whole. In most African slave societies, slaves were protected and incorporated into the slave-owning family.
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13th century Africa - simplified map of the main states, kingdoms and empires
In Senegambia, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved. In early Islamic states of the western Sudan, including Ghana (750-1076), Mali (1235–1645), Segou (1712–1861), and Songhai (1275-1591), about a third of the population were slaves. In Sierra Leone in the 19th century about half of the population consisted of slaves. In the 19th century at least half the population was enslaved among the Duala of the Cameroon, the Igbo and other peoples of the lower Niger, the congo, and the Kasanje kingdom and Chokwe of Angola. Among the Ashanti and Yoruba a third of the population consisted of slaves. The population of the Kanem was about a third-slave. It was perhaps 40% in Bornu (1396–1893). Between 1750 and 1900 from one- to two-thirds of the entire population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of slaves. The population of the Sokoto caliphate formed by Hausas in the northern Nigeria and Cameroon was half-slave in the 19th century. It is estimated that up to 90% of the population of Arab-Swahili Zanzibar was enslaved. Roughly half the population of Madagascar was enslaved.[97][98][99][100][101][102][103]

Anti-Slavery Society estimated there were 2,000,000 slaves in the early 1930s Ethiopia, out of an estimated population of between 8 and 16 million.[104] Slavery continued in Ethiopia until the brief Second Italo-Abyssinian War in October 1935, when was abolished by order of the Italian occupying forces.[105] In response to pressure by Western Allies of World War II Ethiopia officially abolished slavery and serfdom after regained its independence in 1942. On August 26, 1942 Haile Selassie issued a procamation outlawing slavery.[106][107]

Elikia M’bokolo, April 1998, Le Monde diplomatique. Quote:"The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. At least ten centuries of slavery for the benefit of the Muslim countries (from the ninth to the nineteenth)." He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean"[108]

North Africa

Ancient Egypt

As practiced in ancient Egypt, slavery was not in accord with the modern view of the term. Persons became "slaves" in ancient Egypt by virtue of being captives (or prisoners) of war, committing criminal or other indecent acts, or indebtedness. In many instances, some peasants in ancient Egypt led better livelihoods as slaves than as free persons: some Egyptian peasants purposely sold themselves into slavery as a means of repaying their debts. Though slaves in ancient Egypt could be sold, inherited or offered as gifts, they were not prohibited from learning, achieving greater social rank, purchasing property or negotiating other contracts. One papyrus from the New Kingdom even records masters being testified against by slave witnesses. Slave children apparently enjoyed some authoritative protection, as a letter from the 18th dynasty records limits to their use for harsh labor, and Egyptian households further bore the responsibility of adequately raising children of slave parents.

It's also worth mentioning that slaves were not as extensively used in ancient Egypt (or Kemet), contrary to popular belief and the stories recounted in the Bible. Support for this claim comes from archaeological discoveries by Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass regarding the pyramids not being built by slaves, but most likely locals who would go into the city and work during the flood season, and "ensure their own afterlife and would also benefit the future and prosperity of Egypt as a whole. They may well have been willing workers, a labor force working for ample rations, for the benefit of man, king, and country."[5]

Barbary pirates

See also: Arab slave trade

According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa and Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 19th centuries.[109] The coastal villages and towns of Italy, Spain and Mediterranean islands were frequently attacked by them and long stretches of the Italian and Spanish coasts were almost completely abandoned by its inhabitants; after 1600 Barbary pirates occasionally entered the Atlantic and struck as far north as Iceland.[110]

In 1544, Khair ad Din captured Ischia, taking 4,000 prisoners in the process, and deported to slavery some 9,000 inhabitants of Lipari, almost the entire population.[111] In 1551, Turgut Reis (known as Dragut in the West) enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island Gozo, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending them to Libya. When pirates sacked Vieste in southern Italy in 1554 they took an 7,000 slaves. In 1555, Turgut Reis sailed to Corsica and ransacked Bastia, taking 6000 prisoners. In 1558 Barbary corsairs captured the town of Ciutadella, destroyed it, slaughtered the inhabitants and carried off 3,000 survivors to Istanbul as slaves.[112] In 1563 Turgut Reis landed at the shores of the province of Granada, Spain, and captured the coastal settlements in the area like Almuñécar, along with 4,000 prisoners. Barbary pirates frequently attacked the Balearic islands, resulting in many coastal watchtowers and fortified churches being erected. The threat was so severe that island of Formentera became uninhabited.[113][114][115]

Between 1609 and 1616 England alone had a staggering 466 merchant ships lost to Barbary pirates. Slave-taking persisted into the 19th century when Barbary pirates would capture ships and enslave the crew.[116][117]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Main article: African slave trade
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Slaves being transported in Africa, 19th century engraving.

David Livingstone wrote of the slave trade:

"To overdraw its evils is a simple impossibility.... We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer. We passed a woman tied by the neck to a tree and dead.... We came upon a man dead from starvation.... The strangest disease I have seen in this country seems really to be broken heartedness, and it attacks free men who have been captured and made slaves."

Livingstone estimated that 80,000 Africans died each year before ever reaching the slave markets of Zanzibar.[118][119][120][121]
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Slavery in Zanzibar. 'An Arab master's punishment for a slight offence. The log weighed 32 pounds, and the boy could only move by carrying it on his head.' Unknown photographer, c. 1890.[122][123]
Prior to the 16th century, the bulk of slaves exported from Africa were shipped from East Africa to the Arabian peninsula. Zanzibar became a leading port on this trade. Arab slave traders differed from European ones in that they would often conduct raiding expeditions themselves, sometimes penetrating deep into the continent. They also differed in that their market greatly preferred the purchase of female slaves over male ones.

The increased presence of European rivals along the East coast led Arab traders to concentrate on the overland slave caravan routes across the Sahara from the Sahel to North Africa. The German explorer Gustav Nachtigal reported seeing slave caravans departing from Kukawa in Bornu bound for Tripoli and Egypt in 1870. The slave trade represented the major source of revenue for the state of Bornu as late as 1898. The eastern regions of the Central African Republic have never recovered demographically from the impact of nineteenth-century raids from the Sudan and still have a population density of less than 1 person/km.[124]

The Middle Passage, the crossing of the Atlantic to the Americas, endured by slaves laid out in rows in the holds of ships, was only one element of the well-known triangular trade engaged in by Portuguese, Dutch, French and British. Ships having landed slaves in Caribbean ports would take on sugar, indigo, raw cotton, and later coffee, and make for Liverpool, Nantes, Lisbon or Amsterdam. Ships leaving European ports for West Africa would carry printed cotton textiles, some originally from India, copper utensils and bangles, pewter plates and pots, iron bars more valued than gold, hats, trinkets, gunpowder and firearms and alcohol. Tropical shipworms were eliminated in the cold Atlantic waters, and at each unloading, a profit was made.

The Atlantic slave trade peaked in the late 18th century, when the largest number of slaves were captured on raiding expeditions into the interior of West Africa. These expeditions were typically carried out by African kingdoms, such as the Oyo empire (Yoruba), Kong Empire, Kingdom of Benin, Kingdom of Fouta Djallon, Kingdom of Fouta Tooro, Kingdom of Koya, Kingdom of Khasso, Kingdom of Kaabu, Fante Confederacy, Ashanti Confederacy and the kingdom of Dahomey.[125][126] Europeans rarely entered the interior of Africa, due to fear of disease and moreover fierce African resistance. The slaves were brought to coastal outposts where they were traded for goods. The people captured on these expeditions were shipped by European traders to the colonies of the New World. As a result of the War of Spanish Succession, the United Kingdom obtained the monopoly (asiento de negros) of transporting captive Africans to Spanish America. It is estimated that over the centuries, twelve to twenty million people were shipped as slaves from Africa by European traders, of whom some 15 percent died during the terrible voyage, many during the arduous journey through the Middle Passage. The great majority were shipped to the Americas, but some also went to Europe and the south of Africa.

Before the arrival of the Portuguese, slavery had already existed in Kingdom of Kongo. Despite its establishment within his kingdom, Afonso I of Kongo believed that the slave trade should be subject to Kongo law. When he suspected the Portuguese of receiving illegally enslaved persons to sell, he wrote letters to the King João III of Portugal in 1526 imploring him to put a stop to the practice.[127]

The kings of Dahomey sold their war captives into transatlantic slavery, who otherwise would have been killed in a ceremony known as the Annual Customs. As one of West Africa's principal slave states, Dahomey became extremely unpopular with neighbouring peoples.[128][129][130] Like the Bambara Empire to the east, the Khasso kingdoms depended heavily on the slave trade for their economy. A family's status was indicated by the number of slaves it owned, leading to wars for the sole purpose of taking more captives. This trade led the Khasso into increasing contact with the European settlements of Africa's west coast, particularly the French.[131] Benin grew increasingly rich during the 16th and 17th centuries on the slave trade with Europe; slaves from enemy states of the interior were sold, and carried to the Americas in Dutch and Portuguese ships. The Bight of Benin's shore soon came to be known as the "Slave Coast".[132]

In the 1840's, King Gezo of Dahomey said:[133]

"The slave trade is the ruling principle of my people. It is the source and the glory of their wealth…the mother lulls the child to sleep with notes of triumph over an enemy reduced to slavery…"

In 1807, the UK Parliament passed the Bill that abolished the trading of slaves. The King of Bonny (now in Nigeria) was horrified at the conclusion of the practice:[134]

"We think this trade must go on. That is the verdict of our oracle and the priests. They say that your country, however great, can never stop a trade ordained by God himself."

Some historians conclude that the total loss in persons removed, those who died on the arduous march to coastal slave marts and those killed in slave raids, far exceeded the 65–75 million inhabitants remaining in Sub-Saharan Africa at the trade's end. Others believe that slavers had a vested interest in capturing rather than killing, and in keeping their captives alive; and that this coupled with the disproportionate removal of males and the introduction of new crops from the Americas (cassava, maize) would have limited general population decline to particular regions of western Africa around 1760–1810, and in Mozambique and neighbouring areas half a century later. There has also been speculation that within Africa, females were most often captured as brides, with their male protectors being a "bycatch" who would have been killed if there had not been an export market for them.

During the period from late 19th and early 20th centuries, demand for the labor-intensive harvesting of rubber drove frontier expansion and slavery. The personal monarchy of Belgian King Leopold II in the Congo Free State saw mass killings and slavery to extract rubber [135].

Modern times

Slavery in Mauritania was legally abolished by laws passed in 1905, 1961, and 1981, but it has never been criminalised,[136] and several human rights organizations report that the practice continues there. In Niger, slavery is also a current phenomenon; a study has found that more than 800,000 people are still slaves, almost 8% of the population.[137] Descent-based slavery, where generations of the same family are born into bondage, is traditionally practised by at least four of Niger’s eight ethnic groups. It is especially rife among the warlike Tuareg, in the wild deserts of north and west Niger, who roam near the borders with Mali and Algeria.[138]

The trading of children has been reported in modern Nigeria and Benin. In parts of Ghana, a family may be punished for an offense by having to turn over a virgin female to serve as a sex slave within the offended family. In this instance, the woman does not gain the title or status of "wife". In parts of Ghana, Togo, and Benin, shrine slavery persists, despite being illegal in Ghana since 1998. In this system of ritual servitude, sometimes called trokosi (in Ghana) or voodoosi in Togo and Benin, young virgin girls are given as slaves to traditional shrines and are used sexually by the priests in addition to providing free labor for the shrine. Slavery in Sudan continues as part of an ongoing civil war. Evidence emerged in the late 1990s of systematic slavery in cacao plantations in West Africa; see the chocolate and slavery article.[139]

The Americas

Among indigenous peoples

In Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica the most common forms of slavery were those of prisoners-of-war and debtors. People unable to pay back a debt could be sentenced to work as a slave to the person owed until the debt was worked off. Most victims of human sacrifice were prisoners of war or slaves.[140] According to Aztec writings, as many as 84,000 people were sacrificed at a temple inauguration in 1487.[141] Slavery was not usually hereditary; children of slaves were born free. In the Inca Empire, workers were subject to a mita in lieu of taxes which they paid by working for the government. Each ayllu, or extended family, would decide which family member to send to do the work. It is unclear if this labour draft or corvee counts as slavery.

Other slave-owning societies and tribes of the New World were, for example, the Tehuelche of Patagonia, the Comanche of Texas, the Caribs of Dominica, the Tupinambá of Brazil, the fishing societies, such as the Yurok, that lived along the coast from what is now Alaska to California, the Pawnee and Klamath.[142] The Haida and Tlingit, who live along the Pacific Northwest coast (now Alaska and British Columbia) were traditionally known as fierce warriors and slave-traders, raiding as far as California. Slavery was hereditary, the slaves being prisoners of war. Among some Pacific Northwest tribes about a quarter of the population were slaves.[143][144]


Enlarge picture
Slavery in Brazil, Jean Baptiste Debret.

Slavery was a mainstay of the Brazilian colonial economy, especially in mining and sugar cane production.

Brazil obtained 37% of all African slaves traded, and more than 3 million slaves were sent to this one country. Starting around 1550, the Portuguese began to trade African slaves to work the sugar plantations, once the native Tupi people deteriorated. Although Portuguese Prime Minister Marquês de Pombal abolished slavery in mainland Portugal on the February 12th, 1761, slavery continued in her overseas colonies.

The African slaves were useful for the sugar plantations in many ways. First, African slaves were less vulnerable to tropical diseases and to tropical conditions. Second, the benefits of the slaves far exceeded the costs. After two to three years, slaves worked off their cost, and plantation owners began to make profits from them. Plantation owners made lucrative profits even though there was approximately a 10% death rate per year, mainly due to harsh working conditions. The very harsh manual labour of the sugar cane fields saw slaves use hoes to dig large trenches. The slaves planted sugar cane in the trenches and then used their bare hands to spread manure. The average life span of a slave was eight years.

Enlarge picture
A Guaraní family captured by slave hunters. By Jean Baptiste Debret

From Sao Paulo the infamous Bandeirantes, adventurers mostly of mixed Portuguese and native ancestry, penetrated steadily westward in their search for Indian slaves. Along the Amazon river and its major tributaries, repeated slaving raids and punitive attacks left their mark. One French traveler in the 1740s described hundreds of miles of river banks with no sign of human life and once-thriving villages that were devastated and empty. In some areas of the Amazon Basin, and particularly among the Guarani of southern Brazil and Paraguay, the Jesuits had organized their Jesuit Reductions along military lines to fight the slavers. In the mid to late 19th century, many Amerindians were enslaved to work on rubber plantations.

Resistance and abolition

Escaped slaves formed Maroon communities which played an important role in the histories of Brazil and other countries such as Suriname, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica. In Brazil the Maroon villages were called palenques or quilombos. Maroons survived by growing vegetables and hunting. They also raided plantations. At these attacks, the maroons would burn crops, steal livestock and tools, kill slavemasters, and invite other slaves to join their communities.

Jean-Baptiste Debret, a French painter who was active in Brazil in the first decades of the 19th Century, started out with painting portraits of members of the Brazilian Imperial family, but soon became concerned with the slavery of both blacks and indigenous inhabitants. His paintings on the subject (two appear on this page) helped bring attention to the subject in both Europe and Brazil itself.

The Clapham Sect, a group of evangelical reformers, campaigned during much of the 19th century for the United Kingdom to use its influence and power to stop the traffic of slaves to Brazil. Besides moral qualms, the low cost of slave-produced Brazilian sugar meant that British colonies in the West Indies were unable to match the market prices of Brazilian sugar, and each Briton was consuming 16 pounds (7 kg) of sugar a year by the 19th century. This combination led to intensive pressure from the British government for Brazil to end this practice, which it did by steps over several decades.

First, foreign slave trade was banned in 1850. Then, in 1871, the sons of the slaves were freed. In 1885, slaves aged over 60 years were freed. The Paraguayan War contributed to end slavery, since slaves enlisted in exchange for freedom. In Colonial Brazil, slavery was more a social than a racial condition. In fact, some of the greatest figures of the time, like the writer Machado de Assis and the engineer André Rebouças had black ancestry.

Brazil's 1877-78 Grande Seca (Great Drought) in the cotton-growing northeast led to major turmoil, starvation, poverty and internal migration. As wealthy plantation holders rushed to sell their slaves south, popular resistance and resentment grew, inspiring numerous emancipation societies. They succeeded in banning slavery altogether in the province of Ceará by 1884. [145] Slavery was legally ended nationwide on May 13 by the Lei Aurea ("Golden Law") of 1888. In fact, it was an institution in decadence at these times, as since the 1880s the country had begun to use European immigrant labor instead. Brazil was the last nation in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery.

Modern times

However, in 2004 the government acknowledged to the United Nations that at least 25,000 Brazilians work under conditions "analogous to slavery." The top anti-slavery official puts the number of modern slaves at 50,000. [146] More than 1,000 slave laborers were freed from a sugar cane plantation in 2007 by the Brazilian government, making it the largest anti-slavery raid in modern times in Brazil. [147]

Other South American countries

During the period from late 19th and early 20th centuries, demand for the labor-intensive harvesting of rubber drove frontier expansion and slavery in Latin America and elsewhere. Indigenous people were enslaved as part of the rubber boom in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil [148]. In Central America, rubber tappers participated in the enslavement of the indigenous Guatuso-Maleku people for domestic service [149].

British and French Caribbean

Slavery was commonly used in the parts of the Caribbean controlled by France and the British Empire. The Lesser Antilles islands of Barbados, St. Kitts, Antigua, Martinique and Guadeloupe, which were the first important slave societies of the Caribbean, began the widespread use of African slaves by the end of the 17th century, as their economies converted from tobacco to sugar production.

By the middle of the 18th century, British Jamaica and French Saint-Domingue had become the largest slave societies of the region, rivaling Brazil as a destination for enslaved Africans. Due to overwork, the death rates for Caribbean slaves were greater than birth rates. The conditions led to increasing numbers of slave revolts, escaped slaves forming Maroon communities and fighting guerrilla wars against the plantation owners, campaigns against slavery in Europe, and the abolition of slavery in the European empires.

North America

Main Articles: Slavery in Colonial America, Slavery in Canada, History of slavery in the United States, Atlantic slave trade, Indian slavery, Slavery among the Cherokee

Early events

The first slaves used by Europeans in what later became United States territory were among Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón's colonization attempt of North Carolina in 1526. The attempt was a failure, lasting only one year; the slaves revolted and fled into the wilderness to live among the Cofitachiqui people.[6]

The first historically significant slave in what would become the United States was Estevanico, a Moroccan slave and member of the Narváez expedition in 1528 and acted as a guide on Fray Marcos de Niza's expedition to find the Seven Cities of Gold in 1539.

In 1619 twenty Africans were brought by a Dutch soldier and sold to the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia as indentured servants. It is possible that Africans were brought to Virginia prior to this, both because neither John Rolfe our source on the 1619 shipment nor any contemporary of his ever says that this was the first contingent of Africans to come to Virginia and because the 1625 Virginia census lists one black as coming on a ship that appears to only have landed people in Virginia prior to 1619.[150]The transformation from indentured servitude to racial slavery happened gradually. It was not until 1661 that a reference to slavery entered into Virginia law, directed at Caucasian servants who ran away with a black servant. It was not until the Slave Codes of 1705 that the status of African Americans as slaves would be sealed. This status would last for another 160 years, until after the end of the American Civil War with the ratification of the 13th Amendment in December 1865.

Only a fraction of the enslaved Africans brought to the New World ended up in British North America-- perhaps 5%. The vast majority of slaves shipped across the Atlantic were sent to the Caribbean sugar colonies, Brazil, or Spanish America.

Return of slavery to British law

Development of slavery

The shift from indentured servants to African slaves was prompted by a dwindling class of former servants who had worked through the terms of their indentures and thus became competitors to their former masters. These newly freed servants were rarely able to support themselves comfortably, and the tobacco industry was increasingly dominated by large planters. This caused domestic unrest culminating in Bacon's Rebellion. Eventually, chattel slavery became the norm in regions dominated by plantations.

Many slaves in British North America were owned by plantation owners who lived in Britain. The British courts had made a series of contradictory rulings on the legality of slavery[152] which encouraged several thousand slaves to flee the newly-independent United States as refugees along with the retreating British in 1783. The British courts having ruled in 1772 that such slaves could not be forcibly returned to North America (see James Somersett and Somersett's Case for a review of the Somerset Decision), the British government resettled them as free men in Sierra Leone. See Black Loyalists.

Several slave rebellions took place during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Early United States law

Through the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (also known as the Freedom Ordinance) under the Continental Congress, slavery was prohibited in the territories north of the Ohio River. In the East, though, slavery was not abolished until later. The importation of slaves into the United States was banned on January 1, 1808; but not the internal slave trade, or involvement in the international slave trade externally.

Aggregation of northern free states gave rise to one contiguous geographic area, north of the Ohio River and the old Mason-Dixon line. This separation of a free North and an enslaved South launched a massive political, cultural and economic struggle.

Refugees from slavery fled the South across the Ohio River to the North via the Underground Railroad, and their presence agitated Northerners. Midwestern state governments asserted States Rights arguments to refuse federal jurisdiction over fugitives. Some juries exercised their right of jury nullification and refused to convict those indicted under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

The Dred Scott decision of 1857 asserted that one could take one's property anywhere, even if one's property was chattel and one crossed into a free territory. It also asserted that African Americans could not be citizens, as many Northern states granted blacks citizenship, who (in some states) could even vote. This was an example of Slave Power, the plantation aristocracy's attempt to control the North. This turned Northern public opinion even further against slavery. After the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, armed conflict broke out in Kansas Territory, where the question of whether it would be admitted to the Union as a slave state or a free state had been left to the inhabitants. The radical abolitionist John Brown was active in the mayhem and killing in "Bleeding Kansas." Anti-slavery legislators took office under the banner of the Republican Party.

Civil War

Enlarge picture
Example of abusive slave treatment: Back deeply scarred from whipping

Approximately one Southern family in four held slaves prior to war. According to the 1860 U.S. census, about 385,000 individuals (i.e. 1.4% of White Americans in the country, or 4.8% of southern whites) owned one or more slaves.[153][154] However, ninety-five percent of blacks lived in the South, comprising one third of the population there as opposed to one percent of the population of the North. Consequently, fears of eventual emancipation were much greater in the South than in the North.[155]

In the election of 1860, the Republicans swept Abraham Lincoln into the Presidency (with only 39.8% of the popular vote) and legislators into Congress. Lincoln however, did not appear on the ballots in most southern states and his election split the nation along sectional lines. After decades of controlling the Federal Government, the Southern states seceded from the U.S. (the Union) to form the Confederate States of America.

Northern leaders like Lincoln viewed the prospect of a new Southern nation, with control over the Mississippi River and the West, as unacceptable. This led to the outbreak of the Civil War, which spelled the end for chattel slavery in America. However, in August of 1862 Lincoln replied to editor Horace Greeley stating his objective was to save the Union and not to either save or destroy slavery. He went on to say that if he could save the Union without freeing a single slave, he would do it. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was a reluctant gesture, that proclaimed freedom for slaves within the Confederacy, although not those in strategically important border states or the rest of the Union. However, the proclamation made the abolition of slavery an official war goal and it was implemented as the Union captured territory from the Confederacy. Slaves in many parts of the south were freed by Union armies or when they simply left their former owners. Many joined the Union Army as workers or troops, and many more fled to Northern cities.

Illegally, slaves within the United States remained enslaved until the final ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution on December 6, 1865 (with final recognition of the amendment on December 18), eight months after the cessation of hostilities. Only in the Border state of Kentucky did a significant slave population remain by that time.

After the failure of Reconstruction, freed slaves in the United States were treated as second class citizens. For decades after their emancipation, many former slaves living in the South sharecropped and had a low standard of living. In some states, it was only after the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s that blacks obtained legal protection from racial discrimination (see segregation).

Modern times

Although slavery has been illegal in the United States for nearly a century and a half, the United States Department of Labor occasionally prosecutes cases against people for false imprisonment and involuntary servitude. These cases often involve illegal immigrants who are forced to work as slaves in factories to pay off a debt claimed by the people who transported them into the United States. Other cases have involved domestic workers.


Indian subcontinent

The Greek historian Arrian writes in his book Indica:

"This also is remarkable in India, that all Indians are free, and no Indian at all is a slave. In this the Indians agree with the Lacedaemonians. Yet the Lacedaemonians have Helots for slaves, who perform the duties of slaves; but the Indians have no slaves at all, much less is any Indian a slave."

Though any formalised slave trade has not existed in South Asia, unfree labour has existed for centuries in the Medieval ages, in different forms. The most common forms have been kinds of bonded labour. During the epoch of the Mughals, debt bondage reached its peak, and it was common for money lenders to make slaves of peasants and others who failed to repay debts. Under these practices, more than one generation could be forced into unfree labour; for example, a son could be sold into bonded labour for life to pay off the debt, along with interest.

Arab slave traders also brought slaves as early as the first century AD from Africa. Most of the African slaves were brought however in the 17th century and were taken into Western India.

Much of the northern and central parts of the subcontinent was ruled by the so-called Slave Dynasty of Turkic origin from 1206-1290: Qutb-ud-din Aybak, a slave of Muhammad Ghori rose to power following his master's death. For almost a century, his descendants ruled presiding over the introduction of Tankas and building of Qutub Minar.

According to Sir Henry Bartle Frere (who sat on the Viceroy's Council), there were an estimated 8,000,000 or 9,000,000 slaves in India in 1841. In Malabar, about 15% of the population were slaves. Slavery was abolished in both Hindu and Muslim India by the Indian Slavery Act V. of 1843. Provisions of the Indian Penal Code of 1861 effectively abolished slavery in India by making the enslavement of human beings a criminal offense.[156][157][158][159]

Modern times

According to Human Rights Watch, there are currently more than 40 million bonded laborers in India,[160] who work as slaves to pay off debts; a majority of them are Dalits.[161] There are also an estimated 5 million bonded workers in Pakistan.[162] As many as 200,000 Nepali girls, many under 14, have been sold into the sex slavery in India. Nepalese women and girls, especially virgins, are favored in India because of their light skin.[163][164]


Slavery in China has repeatedly come in and out of favor. Due to the enormous population of the region throughout most of its history, China has relatively had an almost unlimited workforce of cheap labor. Thus, the economy would naturally rely on a system of serfdom, slavery, or a combination of both. Approximately 5% of China's population was enslaved in ancient Han China (206 BC–AD 220 AD) and slavery continued in China until the early 20th century.[165] Slavery in China was finally abolished in 1910.[166]


Main article: Slavery in Japan

Slavery in Japan was, for most of its history, indigenous, since the export and import of slaves was restricted by Japan being a group of islands. The export of a slave from Japan is recorded in 3rd century Chinese document, although the system involved is unclear. These slaves were called seiko (生口), lit. "living mouth".

In the 8th century, a slave was called nuhi (奴婢) and series of laws on slavery was issued. In an area of present-day Ibaraki Prefecture, out of a population of 190,000, around 2,000 were slaves; the proportion is believed to have been even higher in western Japan.

By the time of the Sengoku period (1467-1615), the attitude that slavery was anachronistic had become widespread. In a meeting with Catholic priests, Oda Nobunaga was presented with a black slave, the first recorded encounter between a Japanese and an African. In 1588, Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered all slave trading to be abolished. This was continued by his successors.

Modern times

As the Empire of Japan annexed Asian countries, from the late 19th century onwards, archaic institutions including slavery were abolished in those countries. However, during the Pacific War of 1937-45, the Japanese military used hundreds of thousands of civilians and prisoners of war as forced labour, on projects such as the Burma Railway. (For further details, see Japanese war crimes.)[167] As many as 200,000 women,[168] mostly from Korea and China, and some other countries such as the Philippines, Taiwan, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, Netherlands,[169] and Australia[170] were forced into sexual slavery during the World War II. (See Comfort women)


Indigenous slaves existed in Korea. Slavery was officially abolished with the Gabo Reform of 1894. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) about 30% to 40% of the Korean population were slaves. Slavery was hereditary, as well as a form of legal punishment. There was a slave class with both government and privately owned slaves, and the government occasionally gave slaves to citizens of higher rank. Privately owned slaves could be inherited as personal property. During poor harvests and famine, many peasants would voluntarily become slaves in order to survive. In the case of private slaves they could buy their freedom.[171][172][173][174]

Southeast Asia

There was a large slave class in Khmer Empire who built the enduring monuments in Angkor Wat and did most of the heavy work.[175] Slaves had been taken captive from the mountain tribes.[176] People unable to pay back a debt to the upper ruling class could be sentenced to work as a slave too.[177] Between the 17th and the early 20th centuries one-quarter to one-third of the population of some areas of Thailand and Burma were slaves.[178]

In Siam, the war captives became the property of the king. During the reign of Rama III (1824-1851), there were an estimated 46,000 war slaves. Slaves from independent hill populations were "hunted incessantly and carried off as slaves by the Siamese, the Anamites, and the Cambodians" (Colquhoun 1885:53).[179]

Yi people in Yunnan practiced a complicated form of slavery. People were split into the Black Yi (nobles), White Yi (commoners), Ajia (33% of the Yi population) and the Xiaxi (10%). Ajia and Xiaxi were slave castes. After the 1959 some 700,000 slaves were freed.[180]

Slaves in Toraja society in Indonesia were family property. Sometimes Torajans decided to become slaves when they incurred a debt, pledging to work as payment. Slaves could be taken during wars, and slave trading was common. Torajan slaves were sold and shipped out to Java and Siam. Slaves could buy their freedom, but their children still inherited slave status. Slaves were prohibited from wearing bronze or gold, carving their houses, eating from the same dishes as their owners, or having sex with free women—a crime punishable by death. Slavery was abolished in 1909 by the Dutch East Indies government.[181][182]

Modern times

There are currently an estimated 300,000 women and children involved in the sex trade throughout Southeast Asia.[183] It is common that Thai women are lured to Japan and sold to Yakuza-controlled brothels where they are forced to work off their price.[184][185]

Central Asia and Caucasus

Russian conquest of the Caucasus led to the abolition of slavery by the 1860s[186][187] and the conquest of the Central Asian Islamic khanates of Bukhara, Samarkand, and Khiva by the 1870s.[188] A notorious slave market for captured Russian and Persian slaves was centred in the Khanate of Khiva from the 17th to the 19th century.[189] When the Russian troops took Khiva in 1873 there were 29,300 Persian slaves, captured by Turkoman raiders.[190][191]


In the first half of the nineteenth century, small-scale slave raids took place across Polynesia to supply labour and sex workers for the whaling and sealing trades, with examples from both the westerly and easterly extremes of the Polynesian triangle. By the 1860s this had grown to a larger scale operation with Peruvian slave raids in the South Sea Islands to collect labour for the guano industry.

Aotearoa / New Zealand

In traditional Māori society of Aotearoa, prisoners of war became taurekareka, slaves, unless released, ransomed or tortured.[192] With some exceptions, the child of a slave remained a slave. As far as it is possible to tell, slavery seems to have increased in the early nineteenth century, as a result of increased numbers of prisoners being taken by Māori military leaders such as Hongi Hika and Te Rauparaha in the Musket Wars, the need for labour to supply whalers and traders with food, flax and timber in return for western goods, and the missionary condemnation of cannibalism. Slavery was outlawed when the British annexed New Zealand in 1840, immediately prior to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, although it did not end completely until government was effectively extended over the whole of the country with the defeat of the King movement in the Wars of the mid 1860s.

Chatham Islands

One group of Polynesians migrated to the Chatham Islands, where they developed the largely pacifist Moriori culture. Their pacifism left the Moriori unable to defend themselves when the islands were invaded by mainland Māori in the 1830s. Some 300 Moriori men, women and children were massacred and the remaining 1,200 to 1,300 survivors were enslaved.[193][194]

Rapa Nui / Easter Island

The isolated island of Rapa Nui/Easter Island was inhabited by the Rapanui, who suffered a series of slave raids from 1805 or earlier, culminating in a near genocidal experience in the 1860s. The 1805 raid was by American sealers and was one of a series that changed the attitude of the islanders to outside visitors, with reports in the 1820s and 1830s that all visitors were receiving a hostile reception. In December 1862 Peruvian slave raiders took between 1,400 and 2,000 islanders back to Peru to work in the guano industry; this was about a third of the island's population and included much of the island's leadership, the last ariki-mau and possibly the last who could read Rongorongo. After intervention by the French ambassador in Lima, the last 15 survivors were returned to the island, but brought with them smallpox, which further devastated the island.

Abolitionist movements

Main article: Abolitionism
Enlarge picture
Proclamation of the abolition of slavery by Victor Hughes in the Guadeloupe, the 1st November 1794

Slavery has existed, in one form or another, through the whole of human history. So, too, have movements to free large or distinct groups of slaves. Moses led Israelite slaves from ancient Egypt according to the Biblical Book of Exodus - possibly the first detailed account of a movement to free slaves. However, abolitionism should be distinguished from efforts to help a particular group of slaves, or to restrict one practice, such as the slave trade.

Persian Empire

The Persian Empire was the first civilization to ban slavery from its foundation and used paid labor for all of the empire's constructions and army. Cyrus the Great banned slavery in his charter of human rights, now kept in the British Museum:

"... And as long as I am the monarch, I will never let anyone take possession of movable and landed properties of the others by force or without compensation. As long as I am alive, I shall prevent unpaid, forced labor. Today, I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion. People are free to live in all regions and take up a job provided that they never violate other's rights.

No one may be penalized for his or her relatives' faults. I prevent slavery and my governors and subordinates are obliged to prohibit exchanging men and women as slaves within their own ruling domains. Such a tradition should be exterminated the world over. ..."[195][196]


In 1772, a legal case concerning James Somersett made it illegal to remove a slave from England against his will. A similar case, that of Joseph Knight, took place in Scotland five years later and ruled slavery to be contrary to the law of Scotland.

Following the work of campaigners in the United Kingdom, the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was passed by Parliament on March 25, 1807, coming into effect the following year. The act imposed a fine of £100 for every slave found aboard a British ship. The intention was to outlaw entirely the Atlantic slave trade within the whole British Empire.

The Slavery Abolition Act, passed on August 23, 1833, outlawed slavery itself in the British colonies. On August 1, 1834 all slaves in the British Empire were emancipated, but still indentured to their former owners in an apprenticeship system which was finally abolished in 1838.


There were slaves in mainland France, but the institution was never fully authorized there. However, slavery was vitally important in France's Caribbean possessions, especially Saint-Domingue. In 1793, unable to repress the massive slave revolt of August 1791 that had become the Haitian Revolution, the French Revolutionary commissioners Sonthonax and Polverel declared general emancipation. In Paris, on February 4, 1794, Abbé Grégoire and the Convention ratified this action by officially abolishing slavery in all French territories. Napoleon sent troops to the Caribbean in 1802 to try to re-establish slavery. They succeeded in Guadeloupe, but the ex-slaves of Saint-Domingue defeated the French army and declared independence. The colony became Haiti, the first black republic, on January 1, 1804.

Slavery is defined as a crime against humanity by a French law of 2001.[197]

United States

Slaves in the United States who escaped ownership would often make their way north up through Canada via the "Underground Railroad". The more famous of the African American abolitionists include former slaves Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. Many more people who opposed slavery and worked for abolition were northern whites, such as William Lloyd Garrison and John Brown. Slavery was legally abolished in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The British designated Sierra Leone in Africa as a destination country for former slaves of the British Empire, and some Americans hoped to send freed American slaves to Liberia in a similar kind of "repatriation".

While abolitionists agreed on the evils of slavery, there were differing opinions on what should happen after African Americans were freed. Some abolitionists, worried about the difficulties of integrating numerous uneducated people into a hostile environment, hoped to send freed people to Africa. By the time of Emancipation, most African-Americans were now native to the United States and did not want to leave. They rightfully believed that their labor had made the land theirs as well as that of the whites; trade unions feared competition in supplying an affordable labor force against former slaves. Most freed people stayed in the United States by choice.

Twentieth century worldwide

The 1926 Slavery Convention, an initiative of the League of Nations, was a turning point in banning global slavery. Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by the UN General Assembly, explicitly banned slavery. The United Nations 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery was convened to outlaw and ban slavery worldwide, including child slavery. In December 1966, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was developed from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 8 of this international treaty bans slavery. The treaty came into force in March 1976 after it had been ratified by 35 nations. As of November 2003, 104 nations had ratified the treaty.

According to the British Anti-Slavery Society, "Although there is no longer any state which recognizes any claim by a person to a right of property over another, there are an estimated 27 million people throughout the world, mainly children, in conditions of slavery."[198][199][200][201]

See also: List of notable opponents of slavery‎


1. ^ Mesopotamia: The Code of Hammurabi. e.g. Prologue, "the shepherd of the oppressed and of the slaves". Code of Laws #7, " If any one buy from the son or the slave of another man".
2. ^ Demography, Geography and the Sources of Roman Slaves, by W. V. Harris: The Journal of Roman Studies © 1999
3. ^ BBC - History - Resisting Slavery in Ancient Rome
4. ^ Ancient Greece
5. ^ Slavery in Ancient Rome
6. ^ Slavery and Thralldom: The Unfree in Viking Scandinavia
7. ^ Origin of Vikings: Algeidjuborg trafficking of "valkyries" to Islam
8. ^ Serfdom -- Encyclopaedia Britannica
9. ^ A Historical Note
10. ^ The slave trade: myths and preconceptions
11. ^ The Magyars of Hungary
12. ^ Slavery, serfdom, and indenture through the Middle Ages
13. ^ Slave trade -- Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
14. ^ - slave-trade
15. ^ Slavery Encyclopedia of Ukraine
16. ^ Historical survey The international slave trade
17. ^ Arabs and Slave Trade
18. ^ definition of slaved
19. ^ William of Rubruck's Account of the Mongols
20. ^ Life in 13th Century Novgorod -- Women and Class Structure
21. ^ The Effects of the Mongol Empire on Russia
22. ^ How To Reboot Reality — Chapter 2, Labor
23. ^ The Full Collection of the Russian Annals, vol.13, SPb, 1904
24. ^ The Tatar Khanate of Crimea - All Empires
25. ^ Supply of Slaves
26. ^ Moscow - Historical background
27. ^ [ Historical survey > Slave societies]
28. ^ Ransoming Captives in Crusader Spain: The Order of Merced on the Christian-Islamic Frontier
29. ^ Ottoman Dhimmitude
30. ^ Famous Battles in History The Turks and Christians at Lepanto
31. ^ A medical service for slaves in Malta during the rule of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem
32. ^ Brief History of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem
33. ^ [ Historical survey > Ways of ending slavery]
34. ^ Allard, Paul (1912). "Slavery and Christianity". Catholic Enycyclopedia XIV. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved on 2006-02-04. 
35. ^ The Last Galleys
36. ^ Huguenots and the Galleys
37. ^ French galley slaves of the ancien régime
38. ^ The Great Siege of 1565
39. ^ Roma Celebrate 150 years of Freedom 2005 Romania
40. ^ The Theory and Practice of Hell: The German Concentration Camps and the System Behind Them
41. ^ Final Compensation Pending for Former Nazi Forced Laborers
42. ^ Forced Labor at Ford Werke AG during the Second World War
43. ^ Comprehensive List Of German Companies That Used Slave Or Forced Labor During World War II Released
44. ^ German Companies Adopt Fund For Slave Laborers Under Nazis
45. ^ Paintings of the Soviet Penal System by Former Prisoner Nilolau Getman.
46. ^ The Jamestown Foundation, Nikolai Getman, The Gulag Collection: Paintings of Nikolai Getman.
47. ^ Eastern Europe Exports Flesh to the EU
48. ^ Crime gangs 'expand sex slavery into shires'
49. ^ Eastern Europe - Coalition Against Trafficking of Women
50. ^ A modern slave's brutal odyssey
51. ^ Moldova: Lower prices behind sex slavery boom and child prostitution
52. ^ The Russian Mafia in Asia
53. ^ For East Europe’s Women, a Rude Awakening
54. ^ The "Natasha" Trade - The Transnational Shadow Market of Trafficking in Women
55. ^ Poverty, crime and migration are acute issues as Eastern European cities continue to grow
56. ^ Russia: With No Jobs At Home, Women Fall Victim To Trafficking
57. ^ Court acquits brothers in assault and detention case
58. ^ Police bring home 3 sex slaves from China
59. ^ Sold as a sex slave in Europe
60. ^ Jana Costachi, "Preventing Victimization in Moldova" Global Issues, June 2003
61. ^ Islam and Slavery
62. ^ "Know about Islamic Slavery in Africa"
63. ^ Battuta's Trip: Journey to West Africa (1351 - 1353)
64. ^ Slavery in the Sahara
65. ^ "Slavery in Arabia"|. "Owen 'Alik Shahadah".
66. ^ "Slavery in Arabia"|. "Owen 'Alik Shahadah".
67. ^ Slaves And Slave Trading In Shi'i Iran, AD 1500-1900
68. ^ Islam and Slavery
69. ^ Battuta's Trip: Anatolia (Turkey) 1330 - 1331
70. ^ Chaman Andam, slavery in early 20th century Iran
71. ^ Focus on the slave trade
72. ^ The Unknown Slavery: In the Muslim world, that is -- and it's not over
73. ^ The Turco-Mongol Invasions
74. ^ Soldier Khan
75. ^ The living legacy of jihad slavery
76. ^ Slave trade in the early modern Crimea from the perspective of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish sources
77. ^ [ Historical survey > Slave societies]
78. ^ Islam and slavery: Sexual slavery
79. ^ Janissary
80. ^ Lewis. Race and Slavery in the Middle East
81. ^ The Turks: History and Culture
82. ^ In the Service of the State and Military Class
83. ^ The Mamluk (Slave) Dynasty (Timeline)
84. ^ Lewis. Race and Slavery in the Middle East. Oxford Univ Press 1994.
85. ^ World History: 700 to 1516
86. ^ Slavery in Islam
87. ^ £400 for a Slave
88. ^ War and Genocide in Sudan
89. ^ The Lost Children of Sudan
90. ^ The Abolition season on BBC World Service
91. ^ Mauritanian MPs pass slavery law
92. ^ Iraqi sex slaves recount ordeals
93. ^ '50,000 Iraqi refugees' forced into prostitution
94. ^ Iraqi refugees forced into prostitution
95. ^ Desperate Iraqi Refugees Turn to Sex Trade in Syria
96. ^ "Slavery In Arabia"|. "Owen 'Alik Shahadah".
97. ^ Welcome to Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History
98. ^ Slow Death for Slavery - Cambridge University Press
99. ^ Digital History Slavery Fact Sheets
100. ^ Tanzania - Stone Town of Zanzibar
101. ^ 18th and Early 19th Centuries. The Encyclopedia of World History
102. ^ Fulani slave-raids
103. ^ Central African Republic: History
104. ^ Twentieth Century Solutions of the Abolition of Slavery
105. ^ CJO - Abstract - Trading in slaves in Ethiopia, 1897–1938
106. ^ Ethiopia
107. ^ Chronology of slavery
108. ^ The impact of the slave trade on Africa
109. ^ The Crypt: Slaves in the Islamic world
110. ^ White slaves. Muslim masters.
111. ^ The mysteries and majesties of the Aeolian Islands
112. ^ History of Menorca
113. ^ When Europeans were slaves: Research suggests white slavery was much more common than previously believed
114. ^ Watch-towers and fortified towns
115. ^ Islamic Expansion and Decline: Chapter 8: The Slave Society
116. ^ BBC - History - British Slaves on the Barbary Coast
117. ^ Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates by Christopher Hitchens, City Journal Spring 2007
118. ^ David Livingstone; Christian History Institute
119. ^ The blood of a nation of Slaves in Stone Town
120. ^ BBC Remembering East African slave raids
121. ^ Zanzibar
122. ^ National Maritime Museum, London
123. ^ Swahili Coast
124. ^ Central African Republic :: Early history
125. ^ The Great Slave Empires Of Africa
126. ^ The Transatlantic Slave Trade
127. ^ African Political Ethics and the Slave Trade
128. ^ Museum Theme: The Kingdom of Dahomey
129. ^ Dahomey (historical kingdom, Africa)
130. ^ Benin seeks forgiveness for role in slave trade
131. ^ Le Mali précolonial
132. ^ The Story of Africa
133. ^ West is master of slave trade guilt
134. ^ African Slave Owners
135. ^ Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost
136. ^ "The last law, in 1981, banned it but failed to criminalise it. However much it is denied, an ancient system of bondage, with slaves passed on from generation to generation, still plainly exists."[7], The Economist
137. ^ The Shackles of Slavery in Niger
138. ^ Born to be a slave in Niger
139. ^ West is master of slave trade guilt
140. ^ human sacrifice -- Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
141. ^ Evidence May Back Human Sacrifice Claims |LiveScience
142. ^ Slavery in the New World
143. ^ Digital History African American Voices
144. ^ Haida Warfare
145. ^ (Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts, 88-90)
146. ^ Hall, Kevin G., "Slavery exists out of sight in Brazil", Knight Ridder Newspapers, 2004-09-05.
147. ^ "'Slave' labourers freed in Brazil", BBC News, 2007-07-03.
148. ^ Michael Edward Stanfield , Red Rubber, Bleeding Trees: Violence, Slavery, and Empire in Northwest Amazonia, 1850-1933
149. ^ Mark Edelman, "A Central American Genocide: Rubber, Slavery, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Guatusos-Malekus," Comparative Studies in Society and History (1998), 40: 356-390.
150. ^ Vaughn, Alden T. "Blacks in Virginia: A Note on the First Decade" in William and Mary Quarterly 29 (1972) no. 3, p. 474
151. ^ McElrath, Jessica, Timeline of Slavery in America-African American History,, URL last accessed 2006-12-06.
152. ^ (National Archives Link)
153. ^ Black Slaveowners
154. ^ Southern History
155. ^ James McPherson, Drawn with the Sword, page 15
156. ^ Slavery :: Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
157. ^ [ Historical survey > Slave-owning societies]
158. ^ Islamic Law and the Colonial Encounter in British India
159. ^ Hindus Beyond the Hindu Kush: Indians in the Central Asian Slave Trade
160. ^ India’s “hidden apartheid”
161. ^ The Untouchables
162. ^ Life as a modern slave in Pakistan
163. ^ Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery
164. ^ Fair skin and young looks: Nepalese victims of human trafficking languish in Indian brothels
165. ^ Slavery in China -- Encyclopaedia Britannica
166. ^ Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery Project
167. ^ Christopher Reed: Japan's Dirty Secret, One Million Korean Slaves
168. ^ Congress backs off of wartime Japan rebuke
169. ^ Comfort Women Were 'Raped': U.S. Ambassador to Japan
170. ^ Abe ignores evidence, say Australia's 'comfort women'
171. ^ Korea, history pre-1945:slavery -- Encyclopaedia Britannica
172. ^ The Choson Era: Late Traditional Korea
173. ^ Korean Nobi
174. ^ Nobi: Rescuing the Nation from Slavery
175. ^ Cambodia Angkor Wat
176. ^ Windows on Asia
177. ^ Khmer Society - Angkor Wat
178. ^ Slavery
179. ^ Slavery in Nineteenth-Century Northern Thailand
180. ^ Yi Nationality
181. ^ Tana Toraja Traditional Settlement
182. ^ Toraja History and Cultural Relations
183. ^ Sex-slave trade flourishes in Thailand
184. ^ "Woman's Dying Wish: to punish traffickers who ruined her life" The Nation, January 23 2006
185. ^ A modern form of slavery: Trafficking of Burmese Women and Girls into Brothels in Thailand
186. ^ "Horrible Traffic in Circassian Women—Infanticide in Turkey," New York Daily Times, August 6, 1856
187. ^ Georgia in the Beginning of Feudal Decomposition. (XVIII cen.)
188. ^ Khiva, Bukhara, Khokand
189. ^ Adventure in the East - TIME
190. ^ Report of Josef Wolff 1843-1845
191. ^ Slave of the Caucasus
192. ^ Maori Prisoners and Slaves in the Nineteenth Century
193. ^ Moriori - The impact of new arrivals - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
194. ^ New Zealand A to Z |Chatham Islands
195. ^ [8]
196. ^ [9]
197. ^ (French) Loi n° 2001-434 du 21 mai 2001 tendant à la reconnaissance de la traite et de l'esclavage en tant que crime contre l'humanité. French National Assembly (May 21, 2001). Retrieved on 2006-04-26.
198. ^ UN Chronicle |Slavery in the Twenty-First Century
199. ^ BBC Millions 'forced into slavery'
200. ^ Slavery: Modern Slavery: Debt Bondage & Slave Exploitation
201. ^ The Skin Trade - TIME

See also

Period and context
History of slavery
Slavery in antiquity
Slavery and religion
Atlantic slave trade
African slave trade
Arab slave trade
Slavery in Asia
Human trafficking
Sexual slavery
Unfree labour
Debt bondage
List of slaves
Legal status
Political prisoner

This box:     [ edit]
Ideals and organisations

External links

Slavery is a social-economic system under which certain persons — known as slaves — are deprived of personal freedom and compelled to perform labour or services.
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Property law
Part of the common law series
Acquisition of property
Gift  · Adverse possession  · Deed
Lost, mislaid, and abandoned property
Alienation  · Bailment  · License
Estates in land
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Code of Hammurabi (also known as the Codex Hammurabi and Hammurabi's Code) was created ca. 1760 BC (middle chronology) and is one of the earliest extant sets of laws, and one of the best preserved examples of this type of document from ancient Babylon.
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Slavery is a social-economic system under which certain persons — known as slaves — are deprived of personal freedom and compelled to perform labour or services.
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Slavery as an institution in Mediterranean cultures of the ancient world comprised a mixture of debt-slavery, slavery as a punishment for crime, and the enslavement of prisoners of war.
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The issue of religion and slavery is an area of historical and theological research into the relationship between the world's major religions and the practice of slavery.

Slavery in the Bible

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Atlantic slave trade, also known as the Transatlantic slave trade, was the trade of African persons supplied to the colonies of the "New World" that occurred in and around the Atlantic Ocean. It lasted from the 16th century to the 19th century.
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The slave trade in Africa has existed for thousands of years. The first main route passed through the Sahara, tying in to the Arab slave trade. After the European Age of Exploration, African slaves became part of the Atlantic slave trade, from which comes the modern, Western
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The Arab slave trade refers to the practice of slavery in West Asia, North Africa and East Africa. The trade mostly involved North and East Africans and Middle Eastern peoples (Arabs, Berbers, Persians, etc.
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The trafficking of human beings is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people for the purpose of exploitation. Trafficking involves a process of using illicit means such as threat, use of force, or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of
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Sexual slavery is a special case of slavery which includes various different practices:
  1. forced prostitution
  2. single-owner sexual slavery
  3. ritual slavery, sometimes associated with traditional religious practices

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Major forms

Slavery · Racial profiling
Hate speech · Hate crime
Genocide · Ethnocide · Holocaust
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Servitude may refer to:
  • Service
  • conscription
  • employment
  • Slavery
  • indentured servitude
  • involuntary servitude
  • penal servitude
  • Servitude (BDSM)
  • An equitable servitude is a term of real estate law
  • servitude in civil law

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Gulag ( , Russian: ГУЛАГ
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Serfdom is the socio-economic status of peasants under feudalism, and specifically relates to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery seen primarily during the Middle Ages in Europe.
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Unfree labour is a generic or collective term for those work relations, especially in modern or early modern history, in which people are employed against their will by the threat of destitution, detention, violence (including death), or other extreme hardship to themselves, or to
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Debt bondage or bonded labor is a means of paying off loans with direct labor instead of currency or goods. It is either a kind of indenture or truck system, and is a form of unfree labor. Historically, in the USA, it is also sometimes called peonage.
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It may never be fully completed or, depending on its its nature, it may be that it can never be completed. However, new and revised entries in the list are always welcome.
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In law legal status refers to the concept of individuals having a particular place in society, relative to the law, as it determines the laws which affect them. Degrees of status, as well as the rights and statutes which apply, vary in accordance with several standard (as well as
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prison, penitentiary, or correctional facility is a place in which individuals are physically confined or interned and usually deprived of a range of personal freedoms.
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Immigration is the movement of people from one place to another. While human migration has existed throughout human history, immigration implies long-term permanent residence (and often eventual citizenship) by the immigrants: tourists and short-term visitors are not considered
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Slavery as an institution in Mediterranean cultures of the ancient world comprised a mixture of debt-slavery, slavery as a punishment for crime, and the enslavement of prisoners of war.
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Ancient Mesopotamia

Euphrates Tigris
Cities / Empires
Sumer: Uruk ' Ur ' Eridu
Kish ' Lagash ' Nippur
Akkadian Empire: Akkad
Babylon ' Isin ' Susa
Assyria: Assur Nineveh
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Ancient Mesopotamia

Euphrates Tigris
Cities / Empires
Sumer: Uruk ' Ur ' Eridu
Kish ' Lagash ' Nippur
Akkadian Empire: Akkad
Babylon ' Isin ' Susa
Assyria: Assur Nineveh
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Ancient Mesopotamia

Euphrates Tigris
Cities / Empires
Sumer: Uruk ' Ur ' Eridu
Kish ' Lagash ' Nippur
Akkadian Empire: Akkad
Babylon ' Isin ' Susa
Assyria: Assur Nineveh
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The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. 750 BC[1] (the archaic period) to 146 BC (the Roman conquest). It is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western Civilization.
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The Roman Empire is the name given to both the imperial domain developed by the city-state of Rome and also the corresponding phase of that civilization, characterized by an autocratic form of government. This article however is about the latter.
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