Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake
Law and the Experience of Women and Children in Africa

Edited by Benjamin N. Lawrance and Richard L. Roberts

“This is a paradigm-shifting volume…a ground-breaking book with potential to change not only academic theory but also legal practice on the enslavement and trafficking of African women and children.”

Benedetta Rossi, Slavery & Abolition

Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake provides much-needed historical context and conceptualization of the problem of trafficking, with specific attention to its impact on the continent of Africa.…[It is] a highly readable, richly researched, and interdisciplinary set of chapters, appropriate for college students and policy-makers alike.…A great strength…is that it deconstructs categories and historicizes processes while also suggesting solutions to the problem of human trafficking.”

Journal of Global History

“Human trafficking, a central human rights concern of the 21st century, is a phenomenon with deep historical roots…. Based on a wide range of written and oral sources, (Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake) gives special prominence to the voices of women and children. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”


“Each of the chapters in Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake could stand as a solo article. However, the beauty of the collection is that the pieces say much more when grouped than they would as stand-alones. Patterns emerge. Continuities and discontinuities over time become apparent. Moreover, the contributors have clearly challenged each other to think in new ways.”

Walter Hawthorne, Michigan State University, author of From Africa to Brazil

Women and children have been bartered, pawned, bought, and sold within and beyond Africa for longer than records have existed. This important collection examines the ways trafficking in women and children has changed from the aftermath of the “end of slavery” in Africa from the late nineteenth century to the present.

The formal abolition of the slave trade and slavery did not end the demand for servile women and children. Contemporary forms of human trafficking are deeply interwoven with their historical precursors, and scholars and activists need to be informed about the long history of trafficking in order to better assess and confront its contemporary forms. This book brings together the perspectives of leading scholars, activists, and other experts, creating a conversation that is essential for understanding the complexity of human trafficking in Africa.

Human trafficking is rapidly emerging as a core human rights issue for the twenty-first century. Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake is excellent reading for the researching, combating, and prosecuting of trafficking in women and children.

Contributors: Margaret Akullo, Jean Allain, Kevin Bales, Liza Stuart Buchbinder, Bernard K. Freamon, Susan Kreston, Benjamin N. Lawrance, Elisabeth McMahon, Carina Ray, Richard L. Roberts, Marie Rodet, Jody Sarich, and Jelmer Vos.

Benjamin N. Lawrance is an author and editor of eleven books, and editor in chief of the African Studies Review. He is professor of History at the University of Arizona.   More info →

Richard L. Roberts directs the Center for African Studies at Stanford University. His books include Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake: The Experience of Women and Children in Africa, edited with Benjamin N. Lawrance.   More info →

Table of Contents

  • Introduction. Contextualizing Trafficking in Women and Children in Africa
    Benjamin N. Lawrance and Richard L. Roberts
  • Part I:Trafficking in Colonial Africa
  • 1. Trafficking and Reenslavement
    The Social Vulnerability of Women and Children in Nineteenth-Century East Africa
    Elisabeth McMahon
  • 2. “Without the Slave Trade, No Recruitment”
    From Slave Trading to “Migrant Recruitment” in the Lower Congo, 1830–90
    Jelmer Vos
  • 3. The End of Slavery, “Crises” over Trafficking, and the Colonial State in the French Soudan
    Richard L. Roberts
  • 4. “Under the Guise of Guardianship and Marriage”
    Mobilizing Juvenile and Female Labor in the Aftermath of Slavery in Kayes, French Soudan, 1900–1939
    Marie Rodet
  • 5. Sex Trafficking, Prostitution, and the Law in Colonial British West Africa, 1911–43
    Carina Ray
  • 6. Islamic Law and Trafficking in Women and Children in the Indian Ocean World
    Bernard K. Freamon
  • Part II: Contemporary Antitrafficking in Africa and Beyond
  • 7. Trafficking and Human Exploitation in International Law, with Special Reference to Women and Children in Africa
    Jean Allain
  • 8. Documenting Child Slavery with Personal Testimony
    The Origins of Antitrafficking NGOs and Contemporary Neo-abolitionism
    Benjamin N. Lawrance
  • 9. Child-Trafficking Policymaking between Africa and Europe
    Margaret Akullo
  • 10. The Story of Elsie
    A Case Study of Trafficking in Contemporary South Africa
    Susan Kreston
  • 11. Ranking States
    Tracking the State Effect in West African Antitrafficking Campaigns
    Liza Stuart Buchbinder
  • Afterword. The Paradox of Women, Children, and Slavery
    Kevin Bales and Jody Sarich
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index

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Retail price: $34.95, S.
Release date: August 2012
264 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: August 2012
264 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake

“[This] book’s impact on me…was as a jolt to our collective complacency. …Chapter authors, their expertise spanning medical anthropology, sociology, history, law, political science, human rights, gender, and migration have achieved a laudable, multidisciplinary reference of historical cases. [Although it focuses] on Africa… this volume is a generic resource for historical background and contemporary anti-trafficking efforts everywhere.”

Journal of Human Trafficking

“(Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake) contributes to human trafficking scholarship by analyzing it, not as a new phenomenon, but as a modern iteration of slavery…. The volume’s easy readability makes it a valuable pedagogical tool at both the graduate and undergraduate level. And while each chapter of the volume provides unique insight into the human rights issue, the essays’ diverse approaches and source material contribute even more to human trafficking scholarship collectively.”

World History Connected

“This cohesive and empirically rich volume is an important addition to our understanding of the nature and texture of the lives of trafficked and enslaved women and children, and of the legal, cultural, and intellectual lineages that produced what today constitutes a ‘humanitarian crisis‘ of trafficking in sub-Saharan Africa.”

International Journal of African Historical Studies

“In colonial and contemporary contexts, international multidisciplinary scholars and human rights activists examine the causes of enslavement and international policy responses. Includes maps of Africa, country-specific statistics, and harrowing case studies.”

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