The France of slavery told through archaeological excavations in France and overseas

The National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research has designed Of sugar and blood, a traveling exhibition for secondary school students that sheds light on the past.

Slave cemeteries, vestiges of huts, bondage necklaces … A traveling exhibition will present the history of colonial slavery told by archeology, which allows to give substance to the reality of this dark period, Inrap announced Monday. Sugar and blood, intended for young audiences from middle school, will be broadcast by the Education League through its various networks in France, in the form of “archaeocapsule», A kit of educational, modular and light exhibitions produced by the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research.

Objective: to show how the recent contributions of archeology have renewed the history of the slavery of sub-Saharan Africans, through the study of sites and material remains linked to their daily life in the West Indies, Guyana, Reunion Island or in metropolitan France. “For a long time, the history of slavery was known through the archives of masters, merchants who went to look for slaves in Africa and brought them back to the colonies, from administrative documents, engravings», Underlined Jean-Marc Ayrault, president of the Foundation for the memory of slavery, during an online press conference.

These elements “did not give a voice to the slaves, who nevertheless left traces: archeology gave them not only a life, but a dignityThe former prime minister argued, welcoming the fact that this story resonates with young people, almost 20 years after the so-called Taubira Act (2001) recognized slavery and treated it as crimes against humanity.

Over the past 20 years, field excavations have uncovered slave cemeteries, vestiges of streets grouping together the huts of slaves, material produced by slaves such as pottery or clay pipes, “bondage necklaces»That they were made to wear …, detailed Sylvie Jérémie, researcher at Inrap. Genetic studies have also provided information on the health status of these “populations serviles», Particularly affected by pathologies such as bone tuberculosis.

As much “objects»Archaeological sites that will allow visitors to the exhibition Sugar and blood of “touch the reality of slavery», Commented the president of Inrap, Dominique Garcia. These remains “are still scattered in the French ultra-marine domain, because France is just approaching this part of its history», Noted Sylvie Jérémie.

To see also – Discover the contents of this archaeological treasure discovered at a French looter


Beat for human rights (

The Moria refugee camp burned down three months ago. To this day, thousands of people are stuck in the cold on the Greek islands.


According to the United Nations, the corona pandemic has been a severe blow to human rights worldwide. “Covid-19 has exposed the cracks and fragility of our societies and uncovered our failure to build fair and just societies,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on Wednesday. The Chilean criticized politicians who downplay the pandemic or dismiss protective measures such as wearing masks.

The German government does not have to blame itself. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas took Human Rights Day on Thursday as an opportunity to present Germany as “part of a community guided by the basic principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law”. The SPD politician described the human rights sanctions regime adopted in the European Council during the German Presidency as a “breakthrough”: “We can now jointly impose sanctions against persons and entities in third countries. Because it cannot and must not be that those who commit the most serious human rights violations go shopping at the weekend in Paris or Berlin or park their money here with us «, said Maas at the conference» 70 Years of the European Convention on Human Rights – Protection of Human Rights in Germany and Europe « .

Meanwhile, the Frankfurt aid and human rights organization medico international criticized European refugee policy: »Contrary to the rhetoric of European governments, human rights violations are not just a problem outside Europe. Rather, the disenfranchisement of refugees and migrants has become the norm within Europe in recent years, «says Ramona Lenz, advisor for refugees and migration.

On Tuesday, the “Spiegel” published a research according to which migrants were abandoned by border protection authorities in Greece on the open sea. The research suggests that in some cases the boats that were illegally pushed back towards Turkey had previously been stopped by Frontex officials, including German federal police officers.

Kindernothilfe also sees the German Council Presidency less flowery: it addressed itself in an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel and called on her to finally improve the situation of the refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos: »In its current role, the Federal Government (. ..) To take responsibility. It is shameful to see that human rights are being trampled underfoot in the middle of the EU, «said CEO Katrin Weidemann.

According to the United Nations, more than 80 million people are currently fleeing violence and conflict, more than ever before. Despite the appeal by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in March to keep the guns silent in the face of the corona pandemic, conflicts and persecution continued, the UN refugee agency UNHCR complained. The federal government’s human rights commissioner, Bärbel Kofler (SPD), also expressed criticism of German arms exports and the dispute over a supply chain law on Wednesday. Human rights should “run like a red thread through all political fields,” she said when presenting the German government’s human rights policy. This includes the subject of arms exports, which she regards as “very problematic”.

The left-wing spokeswoman for human rights policy, Zaklin Nastic, criticized as “cynical” that the federal government was increasing the Bundeswehr budget by 1.3 billion euros. Instead, the Federal Government must “significantly increase the funds for humanitarian aid and poverty reduction worldwide and campaign for the immediate lifting of economic sanctions – as called for by UN Secretary General Guterres in the spring.” The Terre des Hommes children’s aid organization also called on the national governments to to support the poorest families in particular with direct cash payments in their Corona aid programs. This is also a prevention of modern slavery. According to the International Labor Organization, more than 40 million people are currently being exploited as slaves. with agencies


Claire Duvivier: “Playing with the reader’s expectations”

Author of a first noticed novel, A long trip, Claire Duvivier was invited to the Utopiales in Nantes, scheduled from October 29 to 1is November, and canceled at the last moment due to general containment. She imagined the story of Liesse, the narrator, from an archipelago and witness to the end of an empire, and his relationship to Malvine, aristocrat and provincial administrator, whom he will follow in the city of Solmeri . A human, historical and social adventure. Interview.

Where did the idea forA long trip ?

It is quite indefinable. From a substrate of travel memories, narrative dizziness, fragments of intrigue, which I wanted to transform into a coherent story and populate with characters. There is something chemical about this form of creation: solutions mix, a precipitate is formed.

Why a fantasy universe?

There is a knot in the plot that required everything to take place in an imaginary universe. It is from this precise point, from this “precipitate” precisely, that I set out to construct the novel. I then encamped the two protagonists, then designed the world in which they would evolve. It may seem inspired by fantasy, with its empires, its invented names, its historical inspirations. But it moves away from it by the fact that it is a world at peace (no great epic battles) and whose magic is absent (no supernatural creatures). At least, up to a point.

How long did he ask you for? At what times were you writing?

From my short experience, and somewhat schematically, there are two phases of work in the writing, which can partly overlap. First, there is the period of reflection, although the term “reflection” seems too clear to me. We are no longer in the dream, in the cogitation, in English it seems to muse, which is not trivial. This is the phase which requires the most availability of mind, which seems to me as difficult to identify as time. Then or in parallel, there is the writing itself. For A long trip, I am unable to quantify the time spent on the first phase; the second, however, took me four months, forcing me to sit in front of my keyboard almost every night.

Why have you thought of a universe where an empire vacillates?

Initially, I had not thought of an Empire, but it imposed itself as and when I thought about it, precisely… Its disappeared “Ravished Emperor” gained a raison d’être, and the general atmosphere of decline. , a civilization now knowing itself to be deadly, also found multiple resonances with the plot. Thus in the course of the novel, the Empire will not be the only nation, the only society seeing its end coming.

Why did you choose a narrator, Liesse, of modest birth?

I wanted to take up in part the codes of the initiation novel: the young destitute orphan promised to an extraordinary destiny. And indeed, Liesse’s life will not be quite ordinary, but he will not become the warrior or the king that one could have met in a more classic tale. As a reader, I like when the author plays with my expectations, or sends me on the wrong track. I tried to do the same in the first part ofA long trip.

Another reason for this choice: I wanted to show a character experiencing a social rise, without it being the main subject of the novel, even if it feeds the plot. This allowed me to give more consistency to this imaginary world, to make it something other than an umpteenth recreation of a fantasized, simplified Middle Ages, with fixed social structures.

The theme of slavery returns in your novel: Liesse happens to be a possession of the counter where his mother took him, while slavery was abolished in the Empire; the subject then returns to Solmeri. Why ?

Indeed, Liesse is bound to the Empire by a contract of servitude, except that it is a fiction, worked out by the imperial officials of the counter to save it from an even worse fate. This is the whole paradox of the situation, especially since the child himself, blinded by the prestige of the Empire and brought up with nonchalant benevolence by his guardians, does not understand the implications of what he calls itself a “small detail”. It is only when an islander qualifies him as a “slave”, a word carefully avoided before, that he will understand that he is administratively speaking an object.
All of this served the plot in three ways. Firstly, it is this awareness that will give Liesse the desire to flee his islands to begin his “long journey”. Second, showing Malvine’s reaction when she heard the news meant a lot about the character. Thirdly, it introduced well before the arrival in Solmeri a subject which will take all its importance there since the history of the city-state is marked by slavery.

Liesse becomes the secretary of Malvine Zélina de Félarasie, a brilliant descendant of one of the four lines of aristocrats. Have you chosen a woman with express power?

In order for the meeting and the friendship between Liesse and Malvine to be as improbable as possible, everything had to oppose them. To the humble birth of the first necessarily corresponded the high origins of the second. The improvised education of the first, the prestigious studies of the second. As secretary of the first, the mandate of ambassador, then governor of the second.

Of course, that’s not all. It was a way of bouncing back on the wrong track making Liesse the protagonist just because he is a narrator: the extraordinary fate that will be discussed in A long trip could it be Malvine’s? Again, I’m trying to mess up the reader’s expectations a bit. Especially since the “imperial” ancestry of Malvina has an essential role in the knot of the plot, which I mentioned above, and towards which the novel tends

Liesse, narrator and memorialist, why did you want him to be a writer?

Liesse only takes up the pen to answer Gémétous’ request. He is a man of numbers rather than letters. But I loved directing him writing. This made it possible to create a little suspense on the identity of Gémétous, in particular, and to introduce distance on the events related. We imagine an aged Liesse, indulgent on the child and the young man he was, changed by the trials he went through. And which he therefore survived.

You have a publishing house, did your experience as a publisher serve you for this first novel?

It’s a difficult question because I don’t know how I would write if I were not an editor… I have been one for fifteen years, it is part of me, of my way of thinking about a text, of apprehending it. And not to sanctify it. For example, I spend more time rewriting than writing, when I am in the “second phase” I spoke about above. I don’t have too many scruples to rearrange or delete characters or scenes that I liked however: what matters is the plot. Everything must be done at its service. And the rhythm: a chapter can cover ten years or ten hours in the life of the characters, it’s interesting to deal with these possibilities. In A long trip, where time is of great importance, the story very gradually accelerates to a climax, which is a central scene, then everything slows down again until the last pages.

What do you like to read? Which authors?

I read a bit of everything. The advantage: it changes. The downside: I’m not a specialist in anything! There are few authors whose I have really read all, or almost all. Except maybe Nina Allan, whom I adore. In my readings during the last literary season, I fell in love with The sanctuary by Laurine Roux, Kra by John Crowley, Far-Confins by Marie-Sabine Roger and Expiration de Ted Chiang. Stories of the night by Laurent Mauvignier may join this list, I’m right in it, and what language …

What are you doing during this confinement? Does this complicate your job as an editor?

For Asphalte, my publishing house, time can seem suspended. November is an in-between for us: the last books of the year have already been released (The mist tomorrow by Timothée Demeillers and Hakim by Diniz Galhos) and the January novel is also ready (the city of dead ends by Aymen Gharbi). Usually, we take advantage of this month to visit booksellers, before the rush in December, and continue to promote back-to-school titles, by supporting authors in their meetings. This year, that is not possible. So we get ahead of next year’s issues, we read manuscripts, and we also use that time to reflect on our editorial practices. We are many small publishing houses to have launched this project. One of the big problems is finding other ways to communicate about our outings, although it is difficult to do better than a meeting in the flesh …

What do you think of the movement to defend the opening of bookstores?

I am astonished that it has grown to such an extent and left the circle of the inter-profession. This shows the attachment of the French to the book and in itself, it gives hope for the world after, which is slow to appear. Unfortunately, in this chiaroscuro arises a dubious recovery, according to which the closure of bookstores to the public (because no, most are not closed and continue their activity in click and collect) would be a way of preventing access to culture. And therefore a form of dictatorship …

I think we should not confuse everything. By defending the opening of bookstores, we are defending less access to books than the sale of books. Nevertheless, it is important. The bookstore is a fragile business, with reduced margins, on which the entire upstream book economy is based. The months of November and December are those which allow him, which we allow cultural diversity to exist and be preserved. This is where the stake lies. The click and collect will save the furniture, but it only affects a sensitized, militant public, for a small part of the usual turnover: will that be enough? We can discuss it, this and ways to expand this audience, as long as we do not forget, in doing so, that a pandemic is underway and that the second wave is only just beginning. as I write these words. And that changing our consumption patterns will not stop with our book purchases.

Are you writing a second novel, what genre?

It’s in progress! I am working with another author, Guillaume Chamanadjian, on a shared universe in which we each write a trilogy. Mine will be called Capital of the North, it will be a more classic learning story in its form, a sentimental as much as a political education, with adventure and magic… Always a fantasy universe, but very different in its conception ofA long trip since it is the fruit of a co-construction with Guillaume. It is a long-term project for which we are supported by David Meulemans, from Aux forges de Vulcain editions, to whom my first novel already owes its success and whose enthusiasm can move mountains.

A long trip, from Claire Duvivier, Aux Forges de Vulcain, 314 pp., € 19 (ebook: € 12.99).

Frederique Roussel


Mississippi state gets new flag – culture


Catrin Lorch

Instead of the controversial stars and bars of the Confederate States, a magnolia blossom will adorn the flag of the US state Mississippi. The motif was accepted in a vote of 71 percent of those questioned after a law to change it had already been passed in the summer – also as a result of the protests of the “Black Lives Matters” movement. The state symbol was no longer to commemorate the time of the slave owners who fought together in the civil war.

The flag, which will be called “The New Magnolia” in the future, shows a white flower on a blue background (image: public domain). The design comes from the designer Rocky Vaughan from Ackerman in Mississippi. He is referring to the original Mississippi flag, which depicted a magnolia tree between 1861 and 1865, and the plant stands for “hospitality” among other things. Officially, the new flag is to be hoisted on all masts in the country from next year – with some of them probably already fluttering over state institutions.

© SZ vom 09.11.2020 / khil

US Election: How Do You View Joe Biden’s Success?:

To the reader discussion


Mississippi state gets new flag – culture


Catrin Lorch

Instead of the controversial stars and bars of the Confederate States, a magnolia blossom will adorn the flag of the US state Mississippi. The motif was accepted in a vote of 71 percent of those questioned after a law to change it had already been passed in the summer – also as a result of the protests of the “Black Lives Matters” movement. The state symbol was no longer to commemorate the time of the slave owners who fought together in the civil war.

The flag, which will be called “The New Magnolia” in the future, shows a white flower on a blue background (image: public domain). The design comes from the designer Rocky Vaughan from Ackerman in Mississippi. He is referring to the original Mississippi flag, which depicted a magnolia tree between 1861 and 1865, and the plant stands for “hospitality” among other things. Officially, the new flag is to be hoisted on all masts in the country from next year – with some of them probably already fluttering over state institutions.

© SZ vom 09.11.2020 / khil

US Election: How Do You View Joe Biden’s Success?:

To the reader discussion


The latest series on Sky: “The Good Lord Bird”

Timing is not everything, but almost. Ethan Hawke’s massive American epic “The Good Lord Bird” about the bloody and suicidal struggle of the abolitionist John Brown against the system of slavery is narrated almost perfectly in this respect, because despite the well-known course it remains exciting for nail biting. Timing becomes important here in other ways as well. The broadcaster Showtime had postponed the broadcast several times and indicated that it wanted to provide more “context” for the miniseries in view of the debates about systemic racism in the United States. It was then shown in the final phase of the presidential election campaign, which was under pressure not least from the Black Lives Matter movement. This context is likely to have fueled a controversial perception of the content.

In this country, the series is now entering the program for the dangerous by-election skirmishes in the United States. And that’s good. The drastically direct, at the same time oddly humorous film adaptation of the highly acclaimed historical novel by James McBride, told from the perspective of a fictional character named Henry Shackleford, is the series of the hour, and less because it revolves around events that lead to the American Civil War (1861 until 1865), but because the focus here is on a deeply ambivalent anti-hero who does not at all fit the current split in political views.

Hawke’s physical presence

Ethan Hawke plays Brown as a religious fanatic who calls on God with the fervor we know from evangelicals today. Historically, this is quite correct, even if the character, usually only called “Old Man” here (when did the young Ethan Hawke actually become so mature?) Seems to be much more mangy, wildly romantic and crazier than the daguerreotypes by Brown suggest, which show a very neat man of the word. The former farmer has already converted to holy power at the beginning of the series. He meets us as the captain of a marauding band of robbers made up of real and adopted sons, who believes in the persuasiveness of weapons; even that is more likely to be found on the political right. He wants to use all of this for the one noble cause to which he feels called by God: the resolute liberation of the “People of Color”. He considers the actions of the Union states in the north that reject slavery – he himself comes from Virginia – to be too timid.


Claire de Duras, novelist of otherness

In the 1820s, Claire de Duras was an essential social figure: her salon was brilliantly attended and her literary opinion played an important role in artistic circles. We could tend to reduce this success to the influence of Chateaubriand’s friendship for what he calls his “Dear sister”, but in truth it is she who devotes herself to him and who works for his political success.

The Duchess, born in 1777, acquired her central place in the literary and social landscape largely thanks to the new Ourika which she published in 1823, without author’s name. This is because this text, inspired by a true story, has literary qualities recognized by contemporaries. But above all, it addresses a universal theme, loneliness, embodied in an absolutely new character.

Read Ourika on Gallica:

A modern novel of the black woman

And Ourika is so out of place in the literary landscape, it is because its heroine is a young black woman. Far from the exotic characters devoid of individuality generally presented in the literature of the time, Ourika benefits from a French education and evolves in high society. She is an educated, intelligent young woman. The novel is written in the first person, and it is she who speaks: “He was studying and I, for my part, was learning, to please Madame de B., everything that should form a perfect education.”

Find the previous episodes of the column “Fières de lettres”

Ourika’s fate first resembles a fairy tale: brought back from Senegal, saved from slavery, she is educated by a loving woman, Madame de B., and in the best society. But, one day, Ourika becomes violently aware of her difference and her unbearable loneliness: «[J]e screw everything; I saw myself as a negress, dependent, despised, without fortune, without support, without a being of my kind to whom I could unite my fate […].» This terrible reality strikes the heroine in the heart. To this is added the love she feels for the son of her protectress – social loneliness is also loneliness of the heart. This novel with feminist tendencies brings the European reader of the beginning of the XIXe century of empathizing with a foreign, dark-skinned girl.

A true story with immediate success

The plot is inspired by a real story. Madame de B. is a direct reference to the Maréchale de Beauvau to whom her nephew brought a young girl from Senegal in 1786. If the protector takes affection for the child, it remains above all an object of curiosity, an exotic gift, which will not live very long. From this anecdote, Claire de Duras constructs a powerful text, in which the interiority of the young Senegalese woman is brought to the fore.

“Moi, libre aussi”, print, 1794. Drawing by Claude-Louis Desrais, engraving by citizen Montaland.

Me, free too, print, 1794. Drawing by Claude-Louis Desrais, engraving by the citizen Montaland. Image Gallica. National Library of France

If the novel was reprinted by Lavocat in 1824, it was because the text had a great impact. Moreover, this success was emulated: in 1824, a New Ourika, signed by Mrs. M.-A. Dudon, attacks the moral of the novel which seems to make education the source of misfortune, and proposes to give this course a completely different turn: «[J]I limit myself to tracing the story of an orphan. She did not, in truth, like Ourika, have the complexion of a negress, but she was not of a high birth. “ This story, which is meant to be comparable to Ourika, forgets to give her character what makes the heart of the otherness of the heroine of Claire de Duras, her appearance – and therefore her identity.

The secret “Olivier”

After the meteoric success ofOurika, thenEdward the following year, new works from the same pen are expected. We then speak abundantly of a Olivier which must appear, and which does not come… The growing reputation of this unpublished novel leads Henri de Latouche to publish a Olivier, counterfeit that Claire de Duras hastens to deny.

Olivier or the secret does exist. The novel was written in 1822, at the same period as the two successes of the Duchess, but it was not published until 1971: until then, kept under lock and key by the heirs of the novelist, the novel was not that preceded by its sulphurous reputation. Because Olivier deals with male sexual impotence; and when Stendhal writes Armance, it is partly inspired by this story by Claire de Duras, or at least by its theme – because the text is inaccessible.

As Ourika, which describes the fundamental otherness of a young woman whose soul and upbringing do not accord with appearance, as Edward whose eponymous character is a victim of class prejudices, Olivier is interested in an intimate and unacceptable suffering for the society of the time. The texts of Claire de Duras are all marked with the seal of difference, loneliness and suffering, of which the historian Prosper de Barante says: “Without bitterness against society, she showed how its laws and distinctions could cruelly oppress the most natural and purest emotions of the soul.”

Morgane Avellaneda for the National Library of France


Donald Neeley: demonstrated (

It is a scene that immediately brings to mind violence against slaves and lynchings in US history. In August 2019, Donald Neely, a black homeless person in Galveston, Texas, was arrested by two police officers for illegally entering an office building. Neely was led away with handcuffs tied with a rope. While the police officers rode horses, he had to trot alongside.

Now, Neely, who is at large, has sued the city of Galveston for $ 1 million in compensation. In the complaint, the 44-year-old, who suffers from mental problems, described the action against him as “extreme and monstrous”. Not only did he suffer physical injuries, but he was also exposed to great emotional stress. For him it felt as if he was being brought before those who were supposed to protect him, like slaves once did. Neely is not just about money, his lawyer told US media. Neely, who is receiving psychotherapeutic help and is in the process of getting his life in order, wants to ensure that no one in the USA is treated in this way.

The Galveston Police Chief immediately admitted that the police officers’ behavior was legal, but reprehensible, apologized to Neely and banned the practice with immediate effect. The officers who took Neely away at the time were also aware of the symbolism. On published recordings of the body cameras that they wore in action, one of the police officers involved can be heard saying several times that this would “look really bad” when the rope was attached.

The outrage was also high after video and photo recordings of the arrest were seen online. A trespassing charge against Neely was dismissed in court. His lawsuit against the City of Galveston will be decided in January. Alexander Isele


One in 29 million (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Former female slaves in Mauritania (archive picture, 2006)

According to the human rights organization Walk Free and the United Nations, around 29 million girls and women are now living as slaves – around one in 130 women worldwide. Most of those affected live in Africa and Asia. If one of them manages to flee to Germany, it can happen that you are not believed.

A former slave from Mauritania successfully sued the Federal Constitutional Court this autumn against the rejection of her asylum application after the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the Greifswald Administrative Court and the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Higher Administrative Court were not prepared to deal with her history .

According to a decision published on Wednesday, the highest German court sees this violating the plaintiff’s right to be heard. In the opinion of the Karlsruhe judges, the administrative court had “the fact that Mauritania is one of those states in which slavery is still a major problem that has a major impact on the lives of larger population groups, with regard to the substantiated information provided by the complainant must take to clarify this in more detail «.

She had been refused to obtain an expert opinion on the living conditions of women from “slave tribes” in Mauritania. The Higher Administrative Court continued the violations of fundamental rights with the non-admission of an appeal.

The complainant came to the Federal Republic of Germany after 2016. In the personal hearing at the BAMF she had stated that she was viewed by the majority society in her country of origin as a member of a “slave tribe”. She has no school education, was “given away” by her aunt as a child, is now a single woman without family protection and also has health problems. The BAMF had rejected her asylum application and also found that there were no deportation bans. The woman had initially sued the Greifswald administrative court. At the hearing, she had stated that despite some reading and writing skills that she had since acquired, as well as a certain knowledge of the French language and her work as a kitchen helper in a hotel, the only way for her to survive as a woman without papers and without a family in Mauritania would be again Work as a slave in a household. She feared persecution because she joined the anti-slavery organization “IRA” in Mauritania.

In 2018, the human rights organization Amnesty International found that there are still »thousands of people« enslaved in Mauritania, but the government denies this – activists who speak out against exploitation are being arrested and even tortured more and more frequently. “It is a despicable disregard for human rights that the Mauritanian authorities, despite the legal abolition of slavery almost 40 years ago, still tolerate this practice and also suppress those who criticize it,” said the then director of Amnesty International for the West Region – and Central Africa, Alioune Tine, declared in March 2018.

According to Walk Free, around 71 percent of all modern slavery victims worldwide are women and girls. In absolute numbers, there are therefore more slaves today than in antiquity, even if this is a comparatively smaller proportion of the world’s population. The organization defines slavery as “the systematic abolition of a person’s freedom when it is used by another for personal or financial gain.” This includes both forced prostitution and slave labor in private households and factories.

“We know that women and girls in the supply chains of the goods we buy and use every day – clothes, coffee, technology – experience unprecedented levels of exploitation and forced labor,” said Walk Free co-founder Grace Forrest last Friday according to the news agency AP when presenting the current report to the United Nations.

Many of the Yazidi girls and women who were abducted by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia from 2014 are still considered missing and, if they are still alive, are probably slaves in countries like Saudi Arabia. The survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad spoke of around 2,800 missing persons this summer on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the IS massacre in northern Iraq on August 3, 2014. They were exposed to constant sexual violence in captivity – with no hope of rescue. “The world has lost sight of these people.” Human trafficking and slavery are generally not yet banned. “These crimes are still widespread all over the world.” Not only in trouble spots: Whether IS perpetrators used violence against women as a weapon of war or men in Europe attacked them – women are still viewed as objects.

Aside from criminal forced prostitution, cases in Germany have repeatedly come to light in which diplomats kept their domestic workers like slaves – under the protection of diplomatic immunity.


For the first time, archaeologists identify a Mayan slave ship

The remains have spoken. In Mexico, archaeologists have identified a wreck found off the Yucatán Peninsula as a slave ship, according to CNN. According to the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology (INAH), this is the first boat intended to transport Mayan slaves to be authenticated.

Baptized “The Union», This steamboat was discovered by archaeologists in the Gulf of Mexico, two nautical miles from Sisal, in 2017. Three years of research were necessary to trace the history of the ship.

One of the paddle wheels found off Sisal. Helena Barba / INAH

Between 25 and 30 slaves per month

From 1855 to 1861, “The Union»Was used to transport to Cuba between 25 and 30 Mayans captured illegally. Once on the island, they were forced to work in the sugar cane fields. “Each slave was sold for 25 pesos to an intermediary, who then resold it in Havana for 160 pesos for men and 120 pesos for women.», Explains Helena Barba Meinecke, archaeologist at INAH, in a press release.

The boat was wrecked at sea on September 19, 1861 while en route to Cuba. This evidence shows that slavery continued despite its abolition in 1829 in Mexico, and the publication that year of a decree prohibiting the kidnapping of Mayans.

«Important discovery»

«For researchers, this finding is of great importanceINAH said in the statement. Beyond the difficulty of identifying a wreck by name alone, it reveals a very dark side of Mexican history, which must be known and studied in the light of the context and the time.».

A lithograph representing “La Union” and dating from 1837. Helena Barba / INAH

Archaeologists authenticated the ship with its boilers, which exploded and started a fire on board, and with a properly preserved piece of wooden hull. They also found other remains, including glass fragments from bottles, ceramic objects and eight copper cutlery used by first class passengers.

The accident claimed the lives of half of the 80 crew members, and 60 passengers on board. It’s hard to say how many Mayan slaves died, as they were listed as goods, not passengers.