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Modern slavery
Modern slavery

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2.1 The Slavery Convention 1926

The Slavery Convention was adopted by the League of Nations in 1926 and came into force a year later, obliging states ‘to prevent and suppress the slave trade’, and recognised a need ‘to prevent forced labour from developing into conditions analogous to slavery’.

Activity 3 The Slavery Convention

Use an internet search engine to find the Slavery Convention 1926 and look for an article, which defines slavery. How is it defined in the Convention and what are the key elements of the definition?

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Slavery is defined in Article 1 as:

  1. Slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.
  2. The slave trade includes all acts involved in the capture, acquisition or disposal of a person with intent to reduce him to slavery; all acts involved in the acquisition of a slave with a view to selling or exchanging him; all acts of disposal by sale or exchange of a slave acquired with a view to being sold or exchanged, and, in general, every act of trade or transport in slaves.

The definition focuses on the notion of ownership, indicating that a person could be bought or sold and therefore, owned by another person. With slavery outlawed over a century ago, it is no longer possible to legally own another person. However, international law now recognises that a person still may be kept and treated as a slave despite the absence of legal ownership.