Back to RJ Archive

Postconflict justice in the aftermath of modern slavery.

Brooks, Roy L.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2014) The George Washington International Law Review. 46:243-303.

Modern slavery is defined as human exploitation over a period of time
effectuated through coercion, fraud, or trickery. An estimated 12.3 million
people worldwide are held in some form of modern slavery, including
forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, and sexual servitude.
Children and women bear the brunt of modern slavery. Divided into
three stages-trafficking, exploitation, and postconflict-modern slaveiy
has attracted much scholarly interest in recent years. However, relatively
little scholarly attention has been given to the postconflict stage. This Article attempts to initiate such discussion by drawing upon the
reparative framework crafted in the years since the Holocaust by myself
and other international redress scholars. Redress scholars study postconflict
justice and human development. The reparative framework that
comes out of that scholarship consists of criminal and civil redress models
and their concomitant commitments to retributive, compensatory,
restorative, or redistributive justice in the aftermath of atrocities like the
Holocaust, Apartheid, the Comfort Women, Japanese-American internment,
and American slavery. My ambition in this Article is to extend
that human-rights perspective and analysis to the postconflict stage of
modern slavery.Specifically, the Article focuses on the largest and most vulnerable victim
groups-children and women-in two very different and difficult
contexts: the former child soldiers in African countries and sexual slavery
in Thailand. With respect to the former child soldiers, the Article
argues that retributive justice is an unjust postconflict resolution of the
atrocities committed by these perpetrators because they are also victims.
Retributive justice also collides with restorative justice, the highest development
of humanity in the aftermath of an atrocity. Compensatory justice
is similarly rejected on grounds that it is largely unachievable and
too backward looking to meet the forward-looking needs of the society as a
whole. The Article opts for restorative justice under the “atonement
model, ” not only because the former child soldiers are both perpetrators
and victims, but also because they should be reunited with their families
and reintegrated into their societies. (author’s abstract)


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now