History of Slavery in the U.K. - Paper Example

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903 words
University of Richmond
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Dissertation chapter
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Slavery in the U.K. existed and was familiar before the Roman occupation until the 12th century, when chattel slavery vanished after the Norman Conquest and consequently, former slaves merged into serfs in Britain and were recognized in law. However, from 17th to 19th century, transportation to the colonies as an indentured servant or criminal served as punishment for both petty and major crimes in Ireland and England. Britain banned the importation of African slaves in its colonies and also established a network of treaties allowing the British to detain slave ships of other countries. However, slavery was abolished in the entire British colony by the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. However, just like the British, the Dutch were also involved in slavery, especially the transatlantic slave trade which traversed the 16th to 19th centuries. The Dutch shipped slaves to northern Brazil, as well as to the Spanish colonies. They also operated slave fortresses in Ghana between 1612 and 1872, but the trade declined between 1780 and 1815. Even so, the Netherlands was among the last countries to abolish slave trade and slavery in 1863, even though the decision was made in 1848, it took time before being implemented. As such, regarding the current research paper, it is clear that bot the Netherlands and the U.K. abolished slavery, as well as human trafficking. For this reason, instances of human trafficking are illegal in both countries, and trafficking women for prostitution are considered a crime in both nations.

Regarding prostitution policy/anti- human trafficking (sex trafficking), both countries prostitution is legal. However, in the U.K., some related activities, such as soliciting in public space, kerb-crawling, managing or owning a brothel, and pandering and pimping are illegal. Besides, in Northern Ireland, paying for sex became illegal on first June 2015. Also, England and Wales have outlawed paying for sex with a prostitute who is subjected to force, meaning that the case of Nigerian sex trafficking is illegal if the victim is forced into the prostitution. However, laws are not strictly enforced as there are reports that the police turn a blind eye to brothels, for example, many brothels in London and Manchester operate under the name Massage parlors. In contrast, brothels in the Netherlands are legal, and prostitution is not a crime as long it is voluntary. One can hire sex workers as long as they have a license of operating, and was legalized mainly to fight human trafficking, as well as protecting the sex workers. In fact, brothels and pimping are not crimes as they have been removed from the penal code. Regarding immigration policy, both countries follow a strict vetting process, including tests, but the human traffickers find loopholes to exploit the policies.

The public sphere is an area in social life where individuals can freely discuss societal problems, and via the discussions, manage to influence political action and in accordance to Jurgen Habermas, a German philosopher, it is usually virtual. According to Harbenas, condition for public sphere include the formation of public opinion; all citizens have access, a debate over the issues, as well as unrestricted conferencing, which includes the freedom of association and speech. As such, both countries have these aspects, and are often realized via the media, where there are debates about prostitution and human trafficking, for example, in The Times, The Daily Mail, NRC Next, The Telegraph newspapers. In essence, mediatization should be viewed as a modernization process on par with globalization, individualization, and urbanization, whereby the media contribute to disembedding social relations from existing contexts and re-embedding them in new social contexts. For this reason, the public sphere provides an atmosphere for debating about aspects such as human trafficking.

For instance, in the Netherlands, there are numerous debates about the sex trade, with some of the opinion that the legalization of brothels has worsened prostitution in the country and this has led to increased exploitation while others say that it protects the sex workers. On the other hand, the UK has debates centers on what should be done to control instances of trafficking, curbing brothels, the issue of the voluntary business of sex trade, as well as the responsibility of men and women in trafficking. In effect, this gives rise to the concept of discourses in media representations of human trafficking. Also, since there are men involved, as well as who controls who, there is bound to be gender inequalities, and power struggles in that men usually tend to be the traffickers while the women are the victims. Regarding the discourses, media representations portray women as the victims, when in fact some are the perpetrators, helping in trafficking and some acting as pimps. These debates, therefore highlight some of the discourses in media representation of victims. About the research, the intersectionality that most of the customers of black Nigerian sex trafficking are mostly white western men, they can also be seen as perpetrators of the sex trafficking industry. As such, pimp and madams can be considered criminals, which highlights a link of racism (race inequality) and gender inequality where women are misused by men, as well as highlighting the fact that white male customers and a black woman as victims (gender inequality).



Batsyukova, Svitlana. "Human trafficking and human smuggling: Similar nature, different concepts." Studies of Changing Societies: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Focus 1, no. 1 (2012): 39-50.

BBC. Human Trafficking Bill receives Royal Assent. BBC, 2015. Accessed October 27, 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-30805990Bendavid Naftali. Amsterdam D...

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