Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2292162
 


 



O Trabalho Escravo Contemporâneo e os Usos Da História (Contemporary Slave Labor and the Uses of History)


Rebecca J. Scott


University of Michigan Law School

July 9, 2013

Published As: "O Trabalho Escravo Contemporâneo e os Usos da História", Mundos do Trabalho (Florianópolis, Brazil) v. 5 n. 9 (2013), 129-137
U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 333

Abstract:     
The English version of a related article, containing the source notes, can be found at: ssrn.com/abstract=2292681.

O uso da palavra “escravidão” para descrever várias formas contemporâneas de exploração suscita questões de definição legal. A escravidão nas Américas no século dezenove estava ancorada na reivindicação de propriedade sobre pessoas, portanto usar o termo para caracterizar abusos modernos, quando nenhum Estado reconhece mais a propriedade sobre pessoas, pode representar um risco de anacronismo. Em debates parlamentares recentes, tanto na França quanto no Brasil, a acusação de anacronismo foi feita pelos opositores do reconhecimento legal do crime de escravização. Evidências históricas demonstram, entretanto, que o exercício dos poderes inerentes ao direito de propriedade não necessariamente derivam de um prévio direito legal à propriedade. O controle sobre pessoas, equivalente à posse, podia ocorrer fora da lei e no entanto ser reconhecido como propriedade legal após o fato. Na justaposição de um caso de 1810, de Nova Orleans, na Louisiana, com a situação que deu origem à decisão do caso Siliadin v. França pela Corte Europeia de Direitos Humanos, esse artigo analisa os paralelos nas circunstâncias de escravidão urbana e os mecanismos através dos quais os “poderes inerentes ao direito de propriedade” foram exercidos, independente de qualquer direito de fato. O argumento apoia tanto a reforma do código penal francês para tornar o crime de escravização explícito, e a emenda proposta à Constituição brasileira que elevaria as penas para o uso de trabalho escravo.

As fontes documentais e arquivísticas para este ensaio podem ser encontradas no meu artigo “Under Color of Law: Siliadin vs France and the Dynamics of Enslavement in Historical Perspective”. In: Jean Allain (ed.). The Legal Understanding of Slavery: From the Historical to the Contemporary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Acesso em: ssrn.com/abstract=2292681.

The use of the word “slavery” to describe various contemporary forms of exploitation raises questions of legal definition. Slavery in the 19th century Americas was rooted in the claim of property in persons, so using the term to characterize modern abuses, when no state any longer recognizes the ownership of persons, seems to pose a risk of anachronism. During recent parliamentary debates in both France and Brazil, the charge of anachronism has been levied by opponents of the explicit recognition in law of a criminal offense of enslavement. Historical evidence demonstrates, however, that the exercise of the powers attaching to a right of ownership did not, in fact, necessarily derive from a prior legal right of ownership. Control over persons, tantamount to possession, could occur quite outside the law, though it might be cognized as legal ownership after the fact. Juxtaposing an episode from New Orleans in 1810 with the situation that gave rise to the 2005 European Court of Human Rights decision in Siliadin v. France, the paper analyzes the parallels in the circumstances of urban slavery, and the mechanisms by which “powers attaching to a right of ownership” came to be exercised, quite independent of any actual right. The argument thus supports both the proposed 2013 reforms to the French penal code that would make the crime of enslavement explicit, and the proposed amendment to the Brazilian Constitution that would raise the penalties for the use of slave labor.

Note: Downloadable document is in Portuguese.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: contemporary slavery, powers attaching to the right of ownership, France, Brazil, Saint-Domingue, European Court of Human Rights, Siliadin v. France

JEL Classification: D63, N10

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Date posted: July 11, 2013 ; Last revised: September 30, 2013

Suggested Citation

Scott, Rebecca J., O Trabalho Escravo Contemporâneo e os Usos Da História (Contemporary Slave Labor and the Uses of History) (July 9, 2013). Published As: "O Trabalho Escravo Contemporâneo e os Usos da História", Mundos do Trabalho (Florianópolis, Brazil) v. 5 n. 9 (2013), 129-137; U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 333. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2292162 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2292162

Contact Information

Rebecca J. Scott (Contact Author)
University of Michigan Law School ( email )
625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
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