Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade The Trans-Atlantic slave trade is probably one of the most popular examples of human trafficking. It involves the trade of African people to the colonies of the New World that happened around the Atlantic Ocean wherein the slaves were obtained from coastal trading and some were captured through kidnapping and raids (Wikimedia Foundations Inc.).
In 1783, vigorous campaigns were launched to pursue abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and in Britain two famous people who led the campaign were Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce (National Museums Liverpool). The event was supported by the change in moral, religious and humanitarian reasons observed among the citizens.
Although these humanitarian reasons are vital, the economic reason for the abolition of the slave trade is also important.
The Triangular Trade
The triangle of trade consisted of three journeys: the outward passage from Europe to Africa with the manufactured goods, the middle passage from Africa to the Americas or the Caribbean’s which carried African captives and commodities and lastly, the homeward passage which carried goods back to Europe (National Maritime Museum).
The slave trade made the bulk of the labor force of the New World. They comprise of the bulk of workers in the sugar plantation which is the most labor intensive crop, while some also work in harvesting coffee, cotton and tobacco and some also helped in mining (Wikimedia Foundations Inc.). The cheap labor has been Europe’s power, shipping around 6000-8000 African slaves every year (National Musuems Liverpool).
The trafficiking of Africans has been the business of the rich and powerful where both the monarchy and the church has benefitted much so that it comprised 80% of the total British trade, helping in the development of banking and insurance, ship building and several manufacturing industries (Adi).
Eric Williams, the showed that the profit from the trafficking has financed England’s industrialization process, that it has become a very essential element to the Industrial Revolution and has brought much wealth to Europe (Wikimedia Foundations Inc.).
On the other hand, the slave trade is blamed to have brought much devastation to the African country, parituclarly causing heavy debt burden, internal conflicts and poverty (Dogbevi).
The Abolition of the Slave Trade
There has been much speculation as to the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Humanitarian reasons were cited such as of morality and religion. The humanitarian reason is largely a work of William Wilberforce, who was a British politican and philantrophist who led the movement to abolish slave trade, however, the economic reasons for the abolition cannot be discarded.
Many believe that the slave trade was abolished mainly for economic reasons such as argued by Eric Williams. The simple reason was slavery as a form of labor has become unviable (www.individuality1977.blogspot.com). It simply become impractical for Europe to maintain the status quo.
There has been rebellions on the part of the slaves and it has created fears to the planters who later agreed to free the slaves rather than to continue with the fear of possible attacks. The actions of the people, especially the slaves themselves has made enslavement and trafficking inefficient, unprofitable and dangerous (Adi).
Some have also reasoned that trafiicking of Africans to Britain was no longer important and has been a deterrent to some important and advantageous economic links as some of the Carribean planters themselves were in favor of the abolition as “this worked against the interest of some of their commercial rivals” including the foreginers (Adi).
After the abolition of slave trade in Britain, it has become uncompetitive to other countries, forcing it to press for slave trade abolition of other nations (Wikimedia Foundations Inc.).
In the South and North America, various reasons also contributed to the decline of the slave trade. Both territories have also become so dependent on human trafficking and have created huge money from the trade of slaves,however, at a latter time there was not much economic need to employ slave labor in the new factories in the North, leading to their abolition (antebullum slavery economics). This event has strengthened their stand against slave trade.
For the Americans, especially in the North, the abolition of slave trade conincided with a massive migration of nearly 5 million people from Europe to North America in 1808 while American economic dependency on europe declined leading to an increase in domestic manufacturing and evetual indsutrilization (antebullum slavery economics).
Adi, Hakim. “www.prometra.org.” 26 November 2008 .
antebullum slavery economics. “antebullum slavery economics.” 26 November 2008 .
Dogbevi, Emmanuel K. “www.myjoyonline.com.” 16 August 2007. 26 November 2008 .
National Maritime Museum. www.namm.ac.uk. 26 november 2008 .
National Museums Liverpool. www.liverpoolmuseums.org. 2008. 26 November 2008 .
National Musuems Liverpool. www.liverpoolmuseums.org. 3 November 2005. 26 November 2008 .
Wikimedia Foundations Inc. www.wikipedia.org. 25 November 2008. 26 November 2008 .
“www.individuality1977.blogspot.com.” 25 March 2007. 26 November 2008 .