In international law, slavery is
referred to state in which an individual’s right and responsibilities are
subject to their owner. Slave trade involves all activities that take place
when acquiring, selling and capturing an individual for them to become slaves.
By the eighteenth century, slavery had become a usual activity among Europeans.
The international law legalized and permitted European nations to own
individuals which resulted in the increase of slave trade. Slave trade was
acceptable in the international law but nowadays countries do not accept it.
Slaves were used to work in plantations of sugar, cotton, rice and other cash
crops. Agriculture was seasonal and they used to carry goods for trade, look
after livestock, construction of roads and railways. In the nineteenth century,
various agreements, conferences and reports regulated slavery in international
law which led to abolition. Before slavery was completely abolished it passed
through the following stages: General international law from 1890 to 1966,
Slavery practices and human rights law from 1966 to 1998, International
criminal law from 1998 to present.
Law from 1890 to 1966
Firstly, the international congress that
took the first step in addressing slave trade was Vienna held in 1815. The
report was as a result of depriving African rights, lowering the European
standards and it was against the rights of individuals. Moreover, the report
has received credits as a result of introducing the virtue of terminating
import and export of slaves in the international law. The congress aimed at
terminating slave trade in the world. The agreements made at the convention of
Vienna had some contents subject to the international, that is, access to water
bodies, termination of slave trade and priorities given to diplomats.
Europe was determined to abolish slave trade
along their water bodies through establishing laws against. However, the
British resisted which resulted in making delays for the implementation of the
United Kingdom intervened by establishing
treaties among thirty one nations to reduce slave trade along the water bodies.
The treaties made provisions on inspecting, other ships in case they are
suspected of slave trade.
These laws were upheld by bodies called ‘mixed
commissions.’ Through the commissions six hundred and twenty ships were
captured and eighty thousand slaves were rescued. United Kingdom abolished slave
trade in the European region.
The Brussels Conference aimed at doing
away with slave trade globally through the General Act legislated in the late
1800s. The European nations were denied access along the East African Coast to
cut off the exportation of slaves where there was continued perseverance of
slave trade. However, it should be noted that the Brussels convention put their
attention on slave trade and the causes as a result this discouraged slavery
among European nations and their importation. Moreover, the General Act was
revised to help the European nations gain access to Africa for commercial
purposes as a result of deprival of dominance in the Versailles agreement and
the World War 1. The Act made a provision that the western nations will
continue to overlook on the African counties in their performance of moral
conduct and possessions. Additionally, they were fighting against slave trade
to make sure it is completely abolished in the land and water bodies.
In the nineteenth century, the first move
to terminate import and export of slaves came in 1926 during the slavery
convention where the defined slavery as an act that was against the morals.
Their aim was to discourage slavery in the western parts and to protect the
rights of slaves.2
slavery convection was not sufficient and the founders had to have another
meeting which resulted in the supplementary conference. With these two
conferences, countries had to take into account the termination of slave trade
law through the changes made in their state regulations.
CASE LAW. In
Muscat dhows case there was a conflict between France and Britain on the
permission granted on access of the Arabs ships as they transported slaves with
reference to the 1890 Act of Brussels. Britain disagreed with the permit and
was of the mind to stop it. The court concluded that every nation has an
opportunity to give consent to anyone they are comfortable with. France was
correct on allowing Arabians to ship slaves for them who were from Africa.
from 1966 to 1998
The United Nations
played a major role in fighting against slave trade and legalizing the laws set
to its termination. Charters were formed which termed slave trade as a criminal
action. In the mid of 1900s the United Nations urged nations to follow the laws
set during the slavery and supplementary conferences. Moreover, in 1966, they
had to conduct research on the status of slave trade which resulted in the
appointment of Awad.
In the midst of
solving the problems of slave trade the phrase ‘slave-like practices’ emerged
as a solution. It was concluded that countries did not adhere to the policies
of the Supplementary Conference and slave trade was as a result of
colonization, racism and so forth. On the other hand, Ramsey disagreed with the
report of Awad as he argued that slavery has no connections to colonialism and
racism instead the supplementary conference was the best reference. The
resolution 1126 was implemented to terminate colonization, discrimination of
races, import and export of slaves.
Moreover, they addressed slave trade through
eradication of regulations that encourage racism and colonization. In early
1970s the United Nations assessed the relativity of the consequences of slavery
and had to come up with valid solutions on the issues to make sure of completed
eradication of slave trade. In the mid
1970s United Nations came up with a definition and the various categories of
slavery that would cover present and future.3
apartheid was seen as a cause of slave trade as a result the United
Nations had to address it for the its
termination. Consequently, in 1980 Awad’s reported was upgraded through further
research done by Whittaker to improve the effectiveness of the meaning of
slavery among nations. Moreover, the 1980 declaration was improved for the
emergence of 2000 United Nations paper which defined the phrase ‘ slave trade
practices’ independently from slavery and supplementary convections.
International Criminal Law from 1998 to Present
persistence of implementing the slavery and supplementary conference
regulations slave trade in the twentieth century is no longer practiced. The
rapid changes in slave trade are as a result the attention of global agreements
that view slavery as a criminal offence leading to its termination.
Alternatively human rights commissions focus on the individuals that have
committed the action of enslaving which becomes ineffective.
TOOLS. The laws regarding human trafficking were outlined by the United Nation
in the Palermo Protocol that was held in early twentieth century. The laws had
a provision of punishing the traffickers and defined the categories of human
trafficking. The convention concluded that the groups that were subjected to
trafficking included children and mothers. However, another conference was held
in 2005 to put an emphasis on the definition of human trafficking and the
consequences if found guilty. The primary aim of the conferences is to create
global awareness of cases of human trade.4
However, they at times focus on reducing violations of the rights of
individuals. ThePalermo Protocol is a guideline in which nations should
exercise as part of their laws rather than an international policy. The
protocol gives guidance on categorizing human trade as a criminal act.5
Additionally, the laws of the protocol set out rules
regarding cooperation of nations and the needed to enhance their territorial
base. The trafficking conferences are essential in the sense that they provide
definitions and are a reference to cases of human trade. The Palermo Protocol
is similar to slavery and supplementary conferences as their definition of
slave trade have the same implication.6
ENSLAVEMENT. The international criminal law is
subject to punishing global criminals including those who are guilty of
slavery. Enslavement involves slavery, subjection and pressure on labour. This
evident in the case of Kunarac etal
case where the jury defined condemnation of slavery is wide as it covers the
ancient as well as different terms of slavery, export and import of slaves,
pressure on labor and subjection in different aspects of international law.
With reference to the Yoguslavian case, the traditional international is
different from the international criminal court meaning of condemnation of
slavery as it states they are different from slavery. Alternatively, the
international court argues that slavery and its condemnation are similar as it
they refer to it as the practice of a slave subject to their owners and
includes trading of mothers and young ones.
CASE LAW. In the
case of Kunarac, he was accountable for illegality such as condemnation of
slavery, harassment and rape which are inhumane. However, his counterparts, Radomir and Zoran
were also found liable of inhumane acts. The court ruled out that they had to
undergo imprisonment for their wrongful actions.7
Moreover, in the
Siliadin versus France case, a woman from Togo who is a resident in Paris had
not received her salary for few years and the passport had been hidden. The
woman claimed that the justice was not administered on her regarding her
subjection of slavery. With reference to
Section four of the European conference the accused was found to have put
pressure and subjected the woman on labor. The court argued that the woman was
not subjected to the ancient form of slavery.8
slave trade in the European region came to be abolished as result of
regulations done in the international laws. The advancements made in the laws
discouraged the acts of slavery from being legal to illegal. Previously,
slavery was unpunishable but the current international criminal law categorizes
it as a crime which one must face the consequences if found guilty. The levels
of slavery have decrease since the establishment and legislation of anti-slave
laws and institutions.