The Persistence of Slavery: An Economic History of Child Trafficking in Nigeria (Childhoods: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Children and Youth) (Paperback)

The Persistence of Slavery: An Economic History of Child Trafficking in Nigeria (Childhoods: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Children and Youth) Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days


Despite efforts to abolish slavery throughout Africa in the nineteenth century, the coercive labor systems that constitute "modern slavery" have continued to the present day. To understand why, Robin Phylisia Chapdelaine explores child trafficking, pawning, and marriages in Nigeria's Bight of Biafra, and the ways in which British colonial authorities and Igbo, Ibibio, Efik, and Ijaw populations mobilized children's labor during the early twentieth century. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources that include oral interviews, British and Nigerian archival materials, newspaper holdings, and missionary and anthropological accounts, Chapdelaine argues that slavery's endurance can only be understood when we fully examine "the social economy of a child"—the broader commercial, domestic, and reproductive contexts in which children are economic vehicles.

The Persistence of Slavery provides an invaluable investigation into the origins of modern slavery and early efforts to combat it, locating this practice in the political, social, and economic changes that occurred as a result of British colonialism and its lingering effects, which perpetuate child trafficking in Nigeria today.

About the Author

ROBIN PHYLISIA CHAPDELAINE is assistant professor of history at Duquesne University.

Praise For…

"The Persistence of Slavery is an excellent addition to the expanding literature on the history of children and childhood, particularly for its focus on economic history."—American Historical Review

"The Persistence of Slavery offers a wealth of information on child labor and trafficking in a key period of international concern about slavery . . . [T]he book provides a much-needed focus on African children’s history and opens up new avenues of research."—Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth

"An important, original contribution to the history of child trafficking in the twentieth century, the history of children globally, and to Nigerian and West African history, in general."—Benjamin N. Lawrance, editor in chief of African Studies Review and author of Amistad's Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling

"One of the few book-length studies on the history of children in colonial Africa, The Persistence of Slavery is necessary and timely. It will be a first choice for courses on African history and childhood studies."—Saheed Aderinto, author of When Sex Threatened the State: Illicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, 1900–1958

Product Details
ISBN: 9781625345240
ISBN-10: 1625345240
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Publication Date: January 29th, 2021
Pages: 224
Language: English
Series: Childhoods: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Children and Youth