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The Legal Understanding of Slavery – From the Historical to the Contemporary - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Legal Understanding of Slavery: From the Historical to the Contemporary

Jean Allain


‘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’. So reads the legal definition of slavery agreed by the League of Nations in 1926. Further enshrined in law during international negotiations in 1956 and 1998, this definition has been interpreted in different ways by the international courts in the intervening years. What can be considered slavery? Should forced labour be considered slavery? Debt-bondage? Child soldiering? Or forced marriage? This book explores the limits of how slavery is understood in law. It ... More

Keywords: slavery, legal definition, League of Nations, forced labour, debt-bondage, child soldiering, servitude

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199660469
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660469.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jean Allain, editor
Professor of Public International Law, Queen's University Belfast

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Jean Allain

Section 1 Historical Readings of the Law of Slavery

1 The Nature of Slavery

Antony Honoré

Section 2 The American Experience: Blurred Boundaries of Slavery

8 Under Color of Law

Rebecca J. Scott

Section 3 The 1926 Definition in Context

Section 4 Contemporary Slavery