Black Interests in Slaveries

33 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2019 Last revised: 26 Aug 2019

See all articles by Karen E. Bravo

Karen E. Bravo

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2019


In the last few decades, the world woke up to the persistence of the traffic in human beings, a severe form of human exploitation. The use of “slavery” to designate the traffic, and other severe forms of contemporary exploitation, evokes and invokes the 400-year-long traffic of Africans across the Atlantic and their enslavement in the New World. The implicit and explicit comparisons to the enslavement of the ancestors of Diasporic Blacks are used to further a superficial understanding of contemporary forms of exploitation and limited efforts to prevent or eradicate them. However, the voices of Diasporic Blacks are often absent in the debates regarding the use of the word “slavery” and the comparisons of old and new slaveries.

In this Article, I explore Black interests in slaveries past, present, and future, including uses of the word in the context of contemporary human trafficking discourse. The interests vary depending on the temporal period: the Past (understanding historic slavery); the Present (identifying and dealing with legacies of historic slavery); and the Future (disrupting the legacy).

Keywords: slavery, human trafficking, Black Diaspora, legacies of slavery

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Bravo, Karen E., Black Interests in Slaveries (April 1, 2019). Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 53, 2019; Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2019-5. Available at SSRN:

Karen E. Bravo (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States

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