Slavery (

Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved person being made to perform some form of work while also having their location or residence dictated by the enslaver. Many historical cases of enslavement occurred when the enslaved broke the law, became indebted, or suffered a military defeat; other forms of slavery were instituted along demographic lines such as race. The duration of a person's enslavement might be for life, or for a fixed period of time, after which freedom would be granted. Although most forms of slavery are explicitly involuntary and involve the coercion of the enslaved, there also exists voluntary slavery, entered into by the enslaved to pay a debt or obtain money because of poverty. In the course of human history, slavery was a typical feature of civilization, legal in most societies, but it is now outlawed in most countries of the world, except as a punishment for a crime.

In chattel slavery, the enslaved person is legally rendered the personal property (chattel) of the slave owner. In economics, the term de facto slavery describes the conditions of unfree labour and forced labour that most slaves endure.

In 2019, approximately 40 million people, of whom 26 percent were children, were enslaved throughout the world despite it being illegal. In the modern world, more than 50 percent of enslaved people provide forced labour, usually in the factories and sweatshops of the private sector of a country's economy. In industrialised countries, human trafficking is a modern variety of slavery; in non-industrialised countries, enslavement by debt bondage is a common form of enslaving a person, such as captive domestic servants, forced marriage, and child soldiers.

Source: Slavery (

Netherlands slavery: Saying sorry leaves Dutch divided

The Netherlands is expected to apologise for slavery, with a speech on Monday by the prime minister and ministerial visits to the Caribbean and Suriname.

The Most Brutal Ant: The Slaver Ant Polyergus

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The Kenyans lured to become unwitting 'love' fraudsters

In our series of letters from African journalists, Waihiga Mwaura from Kenya's Citizen TV looks at how Kenyans are being scammed by trafficking cartels posing as job recruitment agents. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Why slave descendants want the Benin Bronzes to stay in US

In our series of letters from African journalists, Nigerian writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani looks at how descendants of slaves in the US have entered the tug of war over some of Africa's most famous artefacts that were stolen during the colonial era and ended up mainly in Western museums.

'There's power in names': Antigua unearths lost ancestors

At precisely 47.5 years old, house carpenter "Polydore" - surname absent - is cited as a "good workman" and the property of His Majesty King George. So reads a 1785 register of enslaved Africans in Antigua in which Polydore appears among hundreds of others.

Earl and Countess of Wessex: Why Grenada wanted to talk to royals about slavery

Negative headlines followed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour of the Caribbean, while hours before they they landed for their own tour, the Earl and Countess of Wessex cancelled a visit to Grenada. So what did Grenadians want to tell the royals about Britain's past?

The last known ship of the US slave trade

"It's crazy to think they would have sailed right past here," Darron Patterson said, pulling his car onto a scrap of grass overlooking the murky Mobile River.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander retires coach amid slavery row

The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander has announced that Dutch royals will cease using a historic golden carriage amid a debate over slavery links. Critics say that one side of the horse-drawn carriage, called De Gouden Koets, is decorated with an image that glorifies the country's colonial past.

'I'll be at front of queue to change my slave name'

Descendants of African slaves have told the BBC they will change their surnames, after a Dutch city decided to make the procedure free of charge.

Amsterdam mayor apologises for city's role in slave trade

The mayor of Amsterdam in the Netherlands has formally apologised for the city's role in slavery, as the country reckons with its colonial past. Femke Halsema said it was "time to engrave the great injustice of colonial slavery into our city's identity".

German boy, 11, calls police over housework

A boy of 11 called a German police emergency line to complain of "forced labour" after his mother told him to help clean the home.Police say the boy from Aachen, who has not been identified, spoke to an officer via the 110 number.They say he complained: "I have to work all day long.

'My Nigerian great-grandfather sold slaves'

Amid the global debate about race relations, colonialism and slavery, some of the Europeans and Americans who made their fortunes in trading human beings have seen their legacies reassessed, their statues toppled and their names removed from public buildings.

Genetic impact of African slave trade revealed in DNA study

A major DNA study has shed new light on the fate of millions of Africans who were traded as slaves to the Americas between the 16th and 19th centuries.

US Senator Tom Cotton defends slavery remarks

Republican Senator Tom Cotton said US founders viewed slavery as a "necessary evil upon which the union was built". His comments were criticised as an attempt justify the slavery of black people.

Supermarkets snub coconut goods picked by monkeys

image copyrightGetty ImagesA number of supermarkets have removed some coconut water and oil from their shelves after it emerged the products were made with fruit picked by monkeys.

US first lady 'slave roots' found

Research into the family of US First Lady Michelle Obama has revealed that her great-great-great-grandmother was a slave given away at the age of six. According to genealogist Megan Smolenyak, the girl was described in papers only as "negro girl Melvinia".

Virginia 'sorry' for slavery role

Virginia's General Assembly has adopted a resolution, expressing "profound regret" for the role the US state played in slavery. The resolution was passed by a 96-0 vote in the House and also unanimously backed in the 40-member Senate.

UN opens slavery remembrance year

The United Nations has launched its International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery. A ceremony was held in the Ghanaian port of Cape Coast, once one of the most active slave trading centres.

UN calls for trafficking action

The world must do more to confront the largely unstudied and neglected phenomenon of people-trafficking, the United Nations has said in a report. So little is known about the problem, says the report, that no estimate can be given of the number affected.

The new face of slave labour

Every day millions of professionals work for free - notching up hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime. It's not written into contracts, often it's not even spoken of. It's just part of the 21st Century workplace. Are you putting in a day's work for free today? It may sound like a ridiculous notion.

Slave-making ants target the strong not the weak

Slavemaker ants prefer to target the strong over the weak when seeking new servants, researchers have found. Ants were observed actively choosing to attack larger, better defended colonies over smaller, weaker ones.

Slave descendants to sue Lloyd's

Descendants of black American slaves are to sue Lloyd's of London for insuring ships used in the trade. High-profile US lawyer Edward Fagan, who secured settlements from Swiss companies in the Nazi gold case, is taking the action for 10 plaintiffs.

Private prison

A private prison, or for-profit prison, is a place where people are imprisoned by a third party that is contracted by a government agency.

Nigerians lured to work in Italy

In just a few minutes driving along a road on the outskirts of Milan in northern Italy, we counted 20 women, almost all African, standing by the kerb. It was a cold night, but you wouldn't have guessed it from the outfits they were wearing. I used to have sex with many different men.

Millions 'live in modern slavery'

Some 12.3 million people are enslaved worldwide, according to a major report. The International Labour Organization says 2.4 million of them are victims of trafficking, and their labour generates profits of over $30bn.

Lincoln letter sets record price

A letter written by former US President Abraham Lincoln has sold for $3.4m (£1.7m) at auction in New York, setting a record for any American manuscript.

Five arrests in 'slavery' raid at Green Acres travellers' site

Twenty-four men suspected of being held against their will have been found during a raid at a travellers' site. Four men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of committing slavery offences in the raid at Green Acres travellers' site, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, on Sunday.

Egypt tombs suggest free men built pyramids, not slaves

Tombs discovered near Egypt's great pyramids reinforce the theory they were built by free workers rather than slaves. The location of the tombs, where workers who built the pyramids of Khufu (Cheops) and Khafre (Chephren) are buried, suggests they were not slaves.

Cherokees eject slave descendants

Members of the Cherokee Nation of native Americans have voted to revoke tribal citizenship for descendants of black slaves the Cherokees once owned. A total of 76.6% voted to amend the tribal constitution to limit citizenship to "blood" tribe members.

Bush deplores 'crime' of slavery

President George W Bush has described the transatlantic slave trade as "one of the greatest crimes of history". The president, speaking at the start of a five-nation tour of Africa, said: "Liberty and life were stolen and sold.

Brazil rescues farm workers from slave-like conditions

The Brazilian authorities say they have rescued 95 farm workers who were being kept in slave-like conditions in two south-eastern states, the official Agencia Brasil reports.

Born to be a slave in Niger

Slavery continues to blight the lives of many millions around the world. Although officially abolished in some countries two centuries ago, people trafficking, bonded labour and child labour still exist.

Slave Voyages

The SlaveVoyages website is a collaborative digital initiative that compiles and makes publicly accessible records of the largest slave trades in history.

Experts shed light on David Livingstone massacre diary

A diary written 140 years ago by Scots explorer David Livingstone can now be read for the first time after experts shed new light on the badly-faded text.Scientists used spectral imaging to recover the account of the massacre of 400 slaves, which had been written on old newspaper with makeshift ink.


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