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HIST 258: Slavery and Slave Trading in the 21st Century   Tags: sum13  

Last Updated: Aug 27, 2013 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts
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Quick Context

"Trafficking in persons or human trafficking have been used as umbrella terms for activities involved when one person obtains or holds another person in compelled service... At the heart of this phenomenon are the myriad forms of enslavement."

Amongst these myriad forms, the U.S. State Department In its annual Trafficking in Persons Report lists 8 specific examples of human trafficking/slavery: forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers and child sex trafficking. The International Labor Organization estimates that a minimum of 12.3 million people are enslaved and that the annual business of human trafficking has profits of more than $30 billion dollars.

For more background information see the entries below. For additional encyclopedias can be searched via Gale Virtual ReferenceIcon


Search Tips

Different databases will use different vocabulary to capture the topic of contemporary slavery.  You will need to try a variety of terms to see which ones work best with a specific database.  Some terms to try include:

  • "human trafficking" (use quotes for phrases)
  • "human smuggling"
  • "child slaves"
  • "women slaves"
  • "sex trafficking"
  • "slave labor"
  • "forced labor"
  • "slave trade"
  • slavery (though be aware that you may find many items that deal with 19th century slavery rather than 21st century)

Also consider related terms such as:

  • prostitution
  • "child labor"
  • "child soldiers"
  • "child prostitution"
  • "migrant labor"

To narrow your search use the AND connector to add another term to your search. NOTE: In UW Libraries Search omit the AND. For example to find material on domestic workers in the Middle East, you might try a variety of searches:

  • "domestic workers" and "middle east"
  • "household workers" and kuwait
  •  "saudi arabia" and maids
  • "domestic workers" and slavery
  • "human trafficking" and "household employees"

Polaris Project


UW Libraries Search

The UW Libraries and our partner libraries in the Summit system have hundreds of books, articles &  government reports related to the issue of 21st century slavery. 

Use UW Libraries Search to find these items.

 If you want to limit your results to just books or just articles, then on the results screen choose the Resource Type you prefer from the left toolbar.

Find Journal Articles

Although UW Libraries Search includes citations to articles, usually it is best to search a specialized database when looking for articles. Start with Academic Search Complete:

Academic Search Complete


The following databases are also useful when searching for scholarly articles related to the issue of contemporary slavery. Also check the databases on other subject guides such as those for area studies if relevant to your research topic. To find the fulltext of an article (if not directly included in the database), use the purple "Check for Full Text" button. 

Search the following databases if you need to find additional articles:

Find Newspaper Articles

For additional news databases see the News guide.


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