Where can I find information about slavery?

Slave shackles by National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 29/01/21


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 it's legacies.

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.

Britannica School

This is one of the EPIC resources. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s 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).
  • Type the keyword 'slavery' into the search bar.
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, e.g [slavery]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

World History in Context

Another useful EPIC database you could use is World History in Context. This database provides global historical information on many topics including slavery.

  • Type 'slavery' into the search bar.
  • Choose from articles, primary sources, images, videos and more.
Tips: Hover over the symbol next to the entry title to find out the 'level' of the item.

Modern slavery

Did you know there are at least 28 million slaves worldwide? That is roughly the population of New Zealand and Australia combined! You can find other information similar to this, on the following websites.

Free the Slaves

Free the Slaves is one of the 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, and includes one of the world's largest video libraries on modern slavery.

There are two ways to search this site:

  • Go to the About Slavery tab at the top of the page.
  • Choose from the links on the front page.
Tips: To find out about the work being done by Free the Slaves, look at the Our model for freedom tab.

Anti-Slavery International

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.

There are two ways to search this site:

  • Type your keyword into the search bar at the top of the page.
  • Go to the Slavery Today tab at the top of the page.
Tips: You can also find information about the work they do, as well as their success stories by clicking on the Our Impact tab.


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:

SCIS no: 1860963  

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