ARTICLE: Property and the Definition of Slavery

Jean Allain, Robin Hickey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Currently there is no clear understanding of the meaning of ‘slavery’ in modern international law. While generally it is accepted that the
authoritative definition of slavery is provided by Article 1 of the Slavery Convention 1926, in recent times slavery has been understood in such a wide variety of ways that effectively it is a meaningless term. This paper reflects on this interpretation problem and aims to redress this balance by reclaiming the core meaning of the legal definition. It applies property law perspectives to explain the conception of ownership invoked by Article 1, to argue that it remains relevant and to explore how it might be applied in identifying modern cases of slavery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-938
Number of pages18
JournalInternational and Comparative Law Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2012


  • enslavement, exploitation, possession, property, slavery, trafficking.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Political Science and International Relations


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