During the 1920s, the League of Nations viewed the trafficking of children as one of it's earliest priorities. Foremost in this discussion was the problematic term of "white slavery". Scholars have long since recognised this as a difficult label for racial, as well as practical reasons. Children, the focus of this paper, were positioned as part of this problematic discourse. In the words of one delegate to the League of Nations Advisory Committee on the Traffic of Women and Children in Geneva in 1923 " ‘The White slave traffic assumed large proportions; young girls – and even young boys – swelled the personnel of the over-numerous houses of ill-fame’. The paper examines the work of the League of Nations to investigate and combat the trafficking of children. In doing so it expands upon the ideas of morals, race and the exploitation of children early twentieth century to illustrate how the vulnerability of children was central to international attempts to end the trafficking of children in the aftermath of the Great War (1914-1918).
Speaker Biography: Elizabeth joined the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull as a Lecturer in Contemporary Slavery in 2018. Her interdisciplinary research focuses upon the rights of children, international law, slavery and trafficking from the era of the League of Nations to the contemporary world. Having completed her doctorate at De Montfort University entitled ‘The Trafficking of Children; International Law, Modern Slavery and the New Abolitionists’ she is currently developing the thesis into a forthcoming monograph as part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Transnational Crime, Crime Control and Security Series. Her interests, broadly conceived, are in international child law, human rights, and gender and the law, specialising in human trafficking, slavery, children’s rights, exploitation and sexual violence.