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Modern slavery, global capitalism & deproletarianisation in West Africa

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kathryn Manzo


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This paper explores the concept of 'new' or modern slavery in the wake of media reports of widespread child slavery on cocoa plantations in Côte d'Ivoire (the RCI). The first part defines slavery as unpaid forced labour, identifies the defining feature of modern slavery as the shift in the master-slave relation from legal ownership to illegal control, and then draws on a range of secondary sources to show that child slavery does exist in the Côte d'Ivoire even if numbers are contested. The many thousands of child slaves apparently trafficked from Mali make this a West African (and not simply Ivorian) phenomenon. The aspects of global capitalist development used in part two to explain the Ivorian situation, namely deproletarianisation and the costs of adjustment are also wider processes not unique to one country. The focus on the RCI as a case study is therefore intended as a stimulus to further questions and broader research into the relationship between capitalism and modern slavery in Africa. © ROAPE Publication Ltd., 2005.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Manzo K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Review of African Political Economy

Year: 2005

Volume: 32

Issue: 106

Pages: 521-534

Print publication date: 01/12/2005

ISSN (print): 0305-6244

ISSN (electronic): 1740-1720


DOI: 10.1080/03056240500467013


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