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Child slavery now

Child slavery now: A contemporary reader

Edited by Gary Craig
Copyright Date: 2010
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  • Book Info
    Child slavery now
    Book Description:

    Most slave trades were abolished during the 19th century yet there remain millions of people in slavery today, amongst them approximately 210 million children in slavery, trafficked, in debt bondage and other forms of forced labour. This groundbreaking book, drawing on experience worldwide, shows how children remain locked in slavery, the ways in which they are exploited and how they can be emancipated. Written for policy and political actors, academics and activists, it reminds us also that all are implicated in modern childhood slavery - as consumers - and need both to understand its causes, and act to stop it.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-946-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements and dedication
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Notes on contributors
    (pp. viii-xii)
  5. List of abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. List of boxes, figures, tables and photos
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Introduction: Child slavery worldwide
    (pp. 1-18)
    Gary Craig

    This book has its origins in two international conferences that I organised in 2006 and 2008¹ at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull, where I was then Associate Director and Professor of Social Justice, leading the team working on issues of contemporary slavery. The first conference was organised as a counterpoint to a series of events held in Hull and nationally to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the British Act of Parliament that had abolished the slave trade (although, sadly, not slavery itself), an Act that followed the parliamentary campaign...

  8. Part I: Strategic overviews

    • one Child slavery today
      (pp. 21-42)
      Joost Kooijmans and Hans van de Glind

      Slavery – of adults and children – is probably one of the most horrific human rights violations. History shows that slavery was a feature of virtually all major civilisations. Slaves were captured in wars and slave raids across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, in practically every era, and the use of slaves in private households was considered normal practice, often a sign of status and affluence. Slave labour was frequently also an important factor in the economies of these civilisations. While not all societies treated their slaves equally badly, slavery always meant that the victim lacked rights and...

    • two Constructing the international legal framework
      (pp. 43-60)
      Trevor Buck and Andrea Nicholson

      As noted earlier, and in other writing (for example, Walvin, 2007; Quirk, 2009), slavery has been a feature of virtually all major civilisations in history and children have been caught up in traditional forms of slavery across different cultures. Indeed, children have often been ‘born into’ slavery, that is, regarded as the possession of a slave owner from birth. Equally, practices of selling children into slavery for economic reasons have been ubiquitous over time and across different countries and cultures. The phenomenon of ‘child slavery’ has been persistent, even after the formal international legal abolition of slavery in the 19th...

    • three Just out of reach: the challenges of ending the worst forms of child labour
      (pp. 61-80)
      Catherine Turner, Aidan McQuade and Enrique Restoy

      Anniversaries often provoke reflection. So in 2008, in the approach to the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention No 182 by the 1999 International Labour Conference (ILC), Anti-Slavery International, with local non-governmental organisation (NGO) colleagues in Costa Rica, Kenya, Pakistan and Togo, undertook a snapshot review of progress in implementing this Convention in these countries.¹ This study allows us to explore the extent to which international conventions are embedded in local practice.

      The study examined progress made towards ending child slavery and slavery-like practices, which, while relatively small in...

    • four Child domestic labour: a global concern
      (pp. 81-98)
      Jonathan Blagbrough

      Child domestic labour is one of the most widespread, exploitative forms of child work in the world today, and one of the most difficult to tackle. Child domestic workers (CDWs) are hard to reach not only because they work behind the closed doors of their employers’ homes, but also because society sees the practice as normal and – in relation to girls – important training for later life (Black, 2002).

      The practice warrants particular attention because of the conditions under which CDWs – most living with their employers – are working. Time and again, CDWs report that their daily experience...

    • five Child trafficking: a modern form of slavery
      (pp. 99-116)
      Hans van de Glind

      Modern-day trafficking in persons has become a truly international phenomenon, widely considered to be one of the most significant manifestations of slavery today, and reducing victims to mere ‘commodities’ to be bought, sold, transported and resold. Children in particular are vulnerable to trafficking, as their isolation and separation from their families and communities leaves them in places where they may not speak the language or have any legal status. Although the recruitment and movement involved in trafficking may appear voluntary at first, they eventually take on aspects of coercion by third parties.³ These third parties are more likely to target...

    • six Clarity and consistency in understanding child exploitation: a UK perspective
      (pp. 117-132)
      Aarti Kapoor

      The acute problem of child exploitation is increasingly coming to the attention of child protection workers and policy makers. This is due to the ubiquitous use of the word ‘exploitation’ within national and international legislation, mainly in regard to human trafficking. ‘Exploitation’ (of persons) itself may be loosely defined as where a person unfairly takes advantage of another person. Within the UK, it has been accepted that child trafficking and exploitation is a form of child abuse (Home Office, 2006). In order to intervene, as required by law, to safeguard and protect children, it is necessary to understand child exploitation...

    • seven A human rights approach to preventing child sex trafficking
      (pp. 133-144)
      Jonathan Todres

      Despite worldwide condemnation of slavery, human trafficking – a modern form of the slave trade – persists today. Trafficking of persons for any purpose (for example, forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude etc) is a gross violation of human rights. Among the most heinous abuses here is the trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation, involving thousands of children annually. An estimated one million children enter the sex trade annually in Asia alone, many of them trafficking victims. The prostitution of children and child pornography are thriving trades that call for immediate and concerted government action (UN Development Fund for...

    • eight Child rights, culture and exploitation: UK experiences of child trafficking
      (pp. 145-160)
      Farhat Bokhari and Emma Kelly

      The plight of children trafficked across or within countries has recently been headline news in the UK and internationally. Increasing awareness has seen a concurrent rise in policy and practice responses by government, practitioners and civil society groups. In the UK, international legislation has been ratified, multiagency national and local protocols developed, advocacy campaigns conducted and research reports published. Yet contradictions remain, and at the heart of these lie problems in listening to the views of children, attitudes towards different cultures and what constitutes exploitation and inconsistencies in best practice when applying child protection principles to safeguarding migrant children, including...

  9. Part II: Themes, issues and case studies

    • nine Preventing child trafficking in India: the role of education
      (pp. 163-174)
      Jason Aliperti and Patricia Aliperti

      Of 27 million slaves in the world today (Bales, 2004), India has the largest number – between 8 million and 10 million, most, including children, in some form of debt bondage (Bales, 2007). India also has the largest number of child labourers, the Indian government estimating it at between 11 million and 17.5 million, many highly vulnerable to trafficking (ADB, 2002), while unofficial estimates range from 60 million to 115 million (HRW, 2003).

      The elimination of child labour and the international efforts to achieve Education for All and universal primary education by 2015 – one of the Millennium Development Goals...

    • ten Birth registration: a tool for prevention, protection and prosecution
      (pp. 175-188)
      Claire Cody

      This chapter draws on experience from Plan International’s long-running campaign for universal birth registration, exploring the significant role that registration can play in protecting children, preventing exploitation and prosecuting cases of child slavery. It identifies and defines the wide range of child rights abuses falling within the broad definition of contemporary slavery. It explores the basics of birth registration, why it is important and why so many people go unregistered in developing countries. It then examines the key role that registration plays in accessing the building blocks of life, for determining proof of age and, in some cases, for establishing...

    • eleven ‘Bienvenue chez les grands!’: young migrant cigarette vendors in Marseille
      (pp. 189-202)
      Brenda Oude Breuil

      Every year, an unknown number of boys from the Maghreb region arrive in the ports of Marseille after long and often hazardous boat trips. According to local social workers, Marseille is the jumping-off point for ‘El Dorado’ to these young migrants, a place of unlimited possibilities to realise a better life for their families or to find the consumerist lifestyle long dreamt of. Once in Marseille they are generally taken under the wings of young men from their own ethnic communities, living and trading in working-class neighbourhoods in the city centre. Labour migration from this region is not new; long-standing...

    • twelve Child domestic labour: fostering in transition?
      (pp. 203-214)
      Evelyn Omoike

      There is an increasing degree of commercialisation associated with the practice of employing child domestic workers in Africa. As at 2001, there was a record of about 14 million child domestic servants in African cities (Andvig et al, 2001) with some brought across national borders. In 2007, Human Rights Watch recorded domestic work as the largest employment sector for children in Africa, 85% being girls (HRW, 2007). Various policies such as the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 1973 Minimum Age Convention No 138, and 1999 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention No 182 (see Chapters One and Three, this volume) and...

    • thirteen Extreme forms of child labour in Turkey
      (pp. 215-226)
      Serdar M. Degirmencioglu, Hakan Acar and Yüksel Baykara Acar

      The literature on working children or children who are forced to work in Turkey is growing in terms of both size and coverage. The literature now covers children who work on the streets in urban areas, children who collect waste material that can be recycled from rubbish bins and children who accompany their parents to the cotton fields in the south of the country (Atauz, 1990; Acar and Baykara Acar, 2007). Most published work uses the legal definition of a child (a person under 18 years of age) in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)....

    • fourteen Haliya and kamaiya bonded child labourers in Nepal
      (pp. 227-242)
      Birendra Raj Giri

      Debt bonded labour,¹ a contemporary form of slavery, remains a global concern. Out of 27 million globally, some 15 million South Asian people are reportedly in bonded labour (Bales, 2004). In Nepal, Anti-Slavery International, in association with the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, estimate that there are between 300,000 and two million bonded labourers under the so-calledhaliyaandkamaiyasystems² (Lowe et al, 2001; CWA, 2007); there is no estimate regarding the number of children in bondage (Giri, 2004, 2009).

      The termhaliyameans ‘one who ploughs’, but is understood to have the broader...

    • fifteen Sex trafficking in Nepal
      (pp. 243-256)
      Padam Simkhada

      Trafficking in persons, particularly the sex trafficking of girls and women, has generated much attention over the past decade (IOM, 2005; Tollefson, 2006; Segrava et al, 2009). The United Nations (UN) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons recognises trafficking as a modern form of slavery and forced labour that relies on coercion, fraud or abduction in order to flourish (UN, 2000). Globally, it is estimated that between 700,000 (USDS, 2001) and four million (UNFPA, 2000) people are trafficked each year. The large differential in estimated numbers of people affected by trafficking reflects the difficulties in obtaining accurate...

    • sixteen The role of the arts in resisting recruitment as child soldiers and ‘wives’: experience from Uganda and Nepal
      (pp. 257-270)
      Bill Brookman and Katherine Darton

      This chapter describes work with children associated with armed forces and armed groups by Bill Brookman for the International Labour Organization (ILO). It introduces the international laws on child labour and child soldiers, the ILO’s SCREAM programme (Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media) and Brookman’s experiences when piloting his new SCREAM module with children and young people in Uganda and Nepal.

      Bill Brookman is a performance artist and musician who has run his own street theatre company in Leicestershire for over 20 years ( In addition to events such as fêtes and carnivals, the company works...

    • seventeen International adoption and child trafficking in Ecuador
      (pp. 271-284)
      Esben Leifsen

      Illegal circulation of children often draws on formal resources provided by public administration and the jurisdictional apparatus. In order to ‘traffic’ a child, actors involved need to translate crucial aspects of the process to recognisable and accepted forms, apparently following the requisites of law and administrative order: we refer to this as ‘formalisation’. One context in which this happens is international adoption. This phenomenon has increased steadily since the 1970s, and today more than 30,000 adopted children move between over 100 countries each year (Selman, 2000). The practice of international adoption emerged from the orphan situation in Europe after the...

    • eighteen Child slavery in South and South East Asia
      (pp. 285-296)
      Cecilia Flores Oebanda

      Despite the numerous conventions and protocols, national and local legislation protecting children and banning them from work, the challenge of ensuring freedom for the 218 million children trapped in child labour worldwide is ever growing. The issue is as complex and difficult as ever, particularly for those 126 million children still engaged in hazardous work. There continues to be widespread suffering for children from forced labour, slavery, trafficking and exploitation. While some countries experience progress, others that are still greatly affected continuously ignore the problem. Even where protocols have been ratified and laws initiated at national levels, many countries ignore...

    • nineteen Routes to child slavery in Central America
      (pp. 297-306)
      Virginia Murillo Herrera

      Central America is a region with high levels of poverty, violence and social inequality, which has undergone wars and armed conflicts that have had a terrible impact on its countries, its inhabitants and social and economic dynamics. This situation has made the transition to, and construction processes of, peace and democracy difficult. This is a region that, due to its geographic location, has served as a route to North America and Europe for drug smuggling, labour and sexual exploitation through the trafficking of people, and it is permanently exposed to natural disasters.¹ In the last decade, the portrayal of it...

  10. Resources
    (pp. 307-316)
  11. Afterword The end of child slavery?
    (pp. 317-326)
    Kevin Bales

    There has always been child slavery. There has not been a day in human history without the enslavement of children. In the past the accepted and permissible control of children within most cultures included their exploitation extending into slavery. The ‘discovery’ of childhood in the 18th century combined with concepts of innocence and vulnerability began to extend to children an interesting set of paradoxical rights. On one hand, what would today be called the worst forms of child labour began to be regulated, in law if not in practice. At the same time, parental and governmental controls over children’s lives...

  12. Index
    (pp. 327-341)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 342-343)