Part 1: Annual Reports, Submissions to UNCHR, Ephemera & Publications of Anti-Slavery International, 1980-2000
Anti-Slavery International is the world's oldest international human rights organisation. It campaigns for the elimination of slavery around the world, lobbying governments and intergovernmental organisations to develop and implement anti-slavery legislation and supports local organisations in their work to raise awareness of this human rights abuse.
Slavery is not a marginal issue. Anti-Slavery estimates 27 million women, children and men around the world are enslaved in:
- Bonded labour - A person becomes bonded when his/her labour is demanded as repayment for a loan. Worldwide, millions of bonded labourers are caught in a cycle of debt and forced to work in conditions that violate their human rights.
- Forced and early marriage - Women and girls who are married without choice and forced into a life of servitude and often physical violence.
- Forced labour - Often associated with government or paramilitary coercion, it affects women and children captured as booty in Sudan to political prisoners and minorities in Burma to exploited migrant workers in numerous Western countries.
- Human trafficking - Traffickers use violence, threats, and other forms of coercion or deception to force their victims to work against their will. This includes controlling their freedom of movement, where and when they will work and what pay, if any, they will receive.
- Traditional slavery - People are still bought and sold as commodities. They are often abducted from their homes, inherited or given as gifts.
- Worst forms of child labour - Children working in conditions hazardous to their mental and physical health. At the worst end of the spectrum are child slaves.
Slavery exists on all continents and most countries. Anti-Slavery has documented it in a wide number of countries including Australia, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burma, Brazil, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Great Britain, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mauritania, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Thailand and the United States of America.
In 1950 Anti-Slavery was granted consultative status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and, after 18 years of campaigning, in 1975 persuaded the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to establish a Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery. It regularly contributes to these forums, preparing statements and reports for the UN Commission on Human Rights and its related bodies. In 1985 it was asked to submit reports on child slavery to UNICEF and in 1987 the Australian government asked them to report on the status of aborigines (in 1909 Anti-Slavery merged with the Aborigines' Protection Society). This material will be of particular interest to libraries in Australia and all those interested in native land rights. The governments of Brazil and Sudan have also called upon the organisation's help and expertise in the past.
Anti-Slavery collects information on modern slavery, raising politicians' awareness of the issue as well as that of the press and public, promoting action to eradicate such abuses. This project makes available a mass of material that libraries will otherwise find extremely difficult to acquire.
Part 1 includes:
- Anti-Slavery publications, 1980-2000. Many of these are now out of print and are typical of a grey literature that libraries generally struggle to locate.
- Submissions to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) and other related bodies, 1965-2000. These have never before been published.
- Ephemera produced by Anti-Slavery, ranging from briefing notes to posters, 1980-2000.
- Annual Reports, 1883-2000
The publications are extremely wide ranging and document slavery all over the world. Titles such as Child Labour in Spain (1980), Female Circumcision (1982), A Pattern of Slavery - India's Carpet Boys (1988), Aborigines Today: Land and Justice (1988), Forced Prostitution in Turkey (1993), Britain's Secret Slaves: An Investigation into the Plight of Domestic Workers in the United Kingdom (1993), Slavery in Brazil: A Link in the Chain of Modernisation (1994), Forced Labour in Northern Bosnia (1994), Servile Forms of Marriage: The Issue of Women's Property Rights (1996), Forced to Plough: Bonded Labour in Nepal's Agricultural Economy (1997) and Sur le trafic des enfants entre le Bénin et le Gabon (2000) give a flavour of the type of material featured. The detailed evidence that they provide will enable scholars to understand the scale of the problem and the many different forms that slavery can take.
Submissions to the UN reveal how a modern pressure group can work within existing political structures in order to alter opinion and to promote action against all forms of slavery. There are discussions on the status of women, child labour in Morocco, the condition of the Aché Indians in Paraguay and the Andoke Indians of Colombia, the mass deportation of Kurds in Iraq and of sweatshop slavery in Hong Kong.
The organisation's Annual Reports provide insights into its size and sources of funding as well as its objectives and achievements for the year. Ephemera provide direct, striking images and words aimed at arousing debate and drawing attention through such phrases as 'Turn the key to set them free', 'The sorts of bangles children wear in Thailand' [with an image of shackles] and 'Read this you scum'.
Students of History and Politics will find a great deal of material for essays on race and empire and for exploring human rights issues over the last 100 years.
Read more about Anti-Slavery International here: