Where can I find information about slavery?
Entry last updated: 28/02/23
A slave is a person who is owned by others and forced to work hard for little or no money. Slavery has taken place throughout history with the ancient Romans, Greeks, Aztecs and Incas all having slaves. Modern slavery takes place in many countries today, in forms such as bonded labour, forced labour, sex slavery and child slavery. The websites below have information about the history of slavery and information from organisations that are fighting against modern slavery.
History of slavery
These websites have information about the history of slavery in America, the African slave trade and more.
Note: Some of the information on these sites may be upsetting, so we suggest you look at them with an adult you trust.
Understanding Slavery Initiative (USI)
The Understanding Slavery Initiative is a learning project which uses museum and heritage collections across the UK, to support the teaching and learning of transatlantic slavery and its legacies.
- Select the Themes tab.
- Choose from the range of topics that appear below such as Europe Before Transatlantic Slavery or The Campaign For Abolition.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on this website. This can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.
This is one of the EPIC resources, a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It is put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.
- Login using your school password (or ask a librarian on AnyQuestions).
- Choose the Middle level (you can always change the level later if you need to).
- Enter the keyword 'slavery' into the search bar.
- Slavery and serfdom, abolitionist movement (social movement), and Slavery and Slave Trade are some examples of the history of slavery.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg slavery. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.
World History (Gale In Context)
Another useful EPIC database. This database provides global historical information on many topics including slavery.
- Enter 'slavery' into the search bar.
- Choose from reference, articles, primary sources, images, videos and more.
Tips: Look at the symbol next to the entry title to find out the 'level' of the item. The more dots there are the harder it is to read.
Did you know there are at least 28 million slaves worldwide? That is roughly the population of New Zealand and Australia combined! Modern slavery can include things like human trafficking or forced labour. You can find other information similar to this, on the following websites.
Free the Slaves is one of many organisations that are working to remove all forms of slavery in the world. This site has information about slavery in history and slavery today.
- Go to Slavery Today to read about the different types of slavery and the rise of modern slavery.
- This tab also has links to Slavery in History and a video library on modern slavery.
- Explore the tabs Our Work and Take Action to know which countries they work in, and what's being planned and done to end slavery.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.
Anti-Slavery International is the oldest international human rights organisation in the world. This site contains information about the different forms of modern slavery which take place throughout the world, such as human trafficking and forced labour.
- Go to the Slavery Today tab at the top of the page to read about the meaning of modern slavery and find links to different forms including child and domestic slavery.
- Use the Our impact tab to read their success stories, and the What we do tab to explore the work of this organisation.
Slavery in Aotearoa New Zealand
This section has websites that have information about blackbirding and the history of slavery in New Zealand, and what the government is doing to fight modern day slavery.
NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.
- Enter the keyword 'blackbirding' into the search box.
- Read the article Pasifika labourers arrive in Auckland 20 May 1870.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.
The Prow is a website that covers the history and cultural stories from the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough regions.
- Use the search words 'slavery' to find the article Mōkai - Slavery in Colonial Times.
This New Zealand news website features national news, world news, business, opinion, sports entertainment etc.
- A search for 'blackbirding' will lead you to the article New Zealand's forgotten slaves of the Pacific.
- Use the search word 'slavery' to find articles on modern slavery such as RSE workers being treated 'like slaves' and 'I just want to feel safe': Modern slavery in New Zealand.
New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade | Manatū Aotere
The work of this Ministry is to form relationships and improve trade between Aotearoa New Zealand and countries around the world.
- Use the word 'slavery' in the search feature at the top of the page.
- Read the articles on New Zealand's commitment to combatting modern slavery and combatting people trafficking in all its forms in New Zealand and across international borders.
There are many books and stories that have been written about slavery — check out your local public or school library to see what they have.
Here are some recommended titles:
- The freedom merchants by Sherryl Jordan.
- Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson.
- A brief history of slavery by Jeremy Black.
- Breaking free: true stories of girls who escaped modern slavery by Abby Sher.
- Abolitionists by Sarah E. De Capua.
SCIS no: 1860963
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