Currently, there is no concrete understanding
of slavery in modern International Law and questions of how it is to be
interpreted have generated considerable controversy. In 1926, Article 1 of the
League of Nations Slavery Convention provided a definition of slavery which
reads: ‘slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of
the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised’ (OHCHR.org, n, d.).

While this authoritative definition is frequently accepted, recently, slavery
has been understood in such a wide variety of ways; effectively revealing it as
a meaningless term (Allain and Hickey, 2012: 916). Mier (2003: 453) points to
this dilemma, declaring that a new clear definition would help ‘untangle the morass’.

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In an effort to resolve this ‘interpretative deadlock’ many have turned to
Kevin Bales- the leading expert in contemporary slavery (Allain and Hickey,
2012: 922). 

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