International conference on child slavery to be held in 2008

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9 November 2007

An international conference is to be held on all aspects of child slavery at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), University of Hull, UK in association with Anti-Slavery International, Gilda Lehrman Center, Yale University and Free the Slaves on November 27-28 2008.

Following our highly successful conferences on Modern Slavery (November 2006), and Unfinished Business (May 2007), WISE is now organising a conference entitled Child Slavery Now, in conjunction with partner organisations, to examine all aspects of child slavery worldwide, including bonded labour, trafficking, domestic servitude and child labour more generally. This is a first call for expressions of interest in attending and in giving workshop papers. Also visit WISE’s website

Child slavery is now becoming a focus of considerable international concern. Despite the creation during the late 20th century of a series of Conventions and Protocols, banning the use of children in trafficking and forced labour and despite more wide-ranging international legislation defining the Rights of the Child, the extent and variety of forms of child slavery appears to be growing worldwide. The ILO — which marks the 10th anniversary of its Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention in 2009 — estimates that there may be 218 million children trapped in child labour worldwide of whom 126 million children were engaged in hazardous work. Many are in situations of modern slavery, working in clothing and shoe sweatshops, as child soldiers, in agriculture, brickmaking, fishing, domestic service, or as child sex workers.

This conference will examine all these forms of child slavery and will be focused in particular on the need for further political and policy action, as well as the further development of services to support and rehabilitate children who are freed from slavery. Speakers from international organisations, policy contexts and campaigning and NGO backgrounds across the world will set the scene for discussions and there will be a series of workshops at which a range of presentations will be made. Those attending will be given a copy of the Special issue of the journal Children and Society on child slavery, due to be published in the Spring of 2008.

If you are interested in attending, giving a paper, or making a presentation, please contact Jane Ellison at as soon as possible. Those interested in giving a paper or making a presentation in a workshop should indicate when writing to us (in no more than fifty words) what the focus of their presentation will be. We will be sending out further details early in 2008 with a call for firm bookings. This event is likely to be well-attended and you are urged to make your interest known as soon as possible as it is likely that we will have to limit the numbers attending.


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