Slavery after Liberation: the Development of Child Trafficking in West Africa

Student Author(s)

Holly Thompson

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Lauren Janes

Document Type


Event Date



Slavery may seem to have been abolished in the world, yet is still a persistent trade that plagues modern society. West Africa has specifically had issues with the trafficking of children. There have been recent cases in Togo, Nigeria, and Benin. Furthermore, the chocolate plantations in the Ivory Coast have been proven to use child slaves, and child soldiers were very common during the violent conflict in Sierra Leone from 1991 until 2002. This research examines how the current issue of child trafficking and slavery in West Africa began and developed. This paper demonstrates that the current trade can be traced back to the colonial economy, the evolution of the slave trade, and cultural expectations. These roots have cultivated a demand for and dependence on cheap labor. While the laws, the perpetrators, and the victims of modern slavery have changed, the structures have remained very similar. In the same way, while the identity of abolitionists has changed, the style of advocating for abolition has remained similar.

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