"To Have and To Hold": Understanding the Relationship between Forced Marriage and Modern Slavery.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Politics & International Relation

Abstract

Since 2017 the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has included forced marriage in its Global Estimates of Slavery (GES). This followed including forced marriage as a form of sexual slavery at the International Criminal Court, and explicit linkage of forced marriage to slavery by the UN's Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery (Shahinian 2012). In 2018, after the first successful English prosecution for forced marriage, UK NGO Karma Nirvana called for similar cases to be prosecuted under the Modern Slavery Act. Forced marriage and slavery are thus being linked on the national and international stage. This raises key and as yet unanswered questions about the relation between forced marriage and slavery.

This is not merely a conceptual problem divorced from reality. 40.3 million people are estimated to live in slavery today, 15.4 million of them in forced marriage (ILO 2018). The inclusion of forced marriage in the GES has not only greatly increased the number of people recognised as living in slavery, but revealed the gendered nature of modern slavery: though men are also victims of forced marriage, women and girls account for 71% of modern slavery victims (ILO 2018).

As Allain (2015) notes, 'in legal terms, forced marriage is not slavery...and yet...': that is, there does seem to be a link between at least some instances of forced marriage and modern slavery. However, this relationship is neither immediately obvious, nor made plain in international or domestic law. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) treat forced marriage and modern slavery separately (under SDG Targets 5.3 and 8.7 respectively). The definition of slavery in the 1920 Slavery Convention, and the Bellagio-Harvard Guidelines on the Legal Parameters of Slavery's definition of modern slavery, is treatment of one person as property by another. With forced marriage, however, the focus is on lack of consent to the initial ceremony. Treatment as property and lack of consent may be connected, but they are not identical. 'Forced marriage', then, is not obviously a form of slavery, liable for inclusion in the GES. And yet, as Allain says, 'and yet...'.

My multidisciplinary project would be the first to explain why certain types of marriage should be seen as forms of modern slavery, rightly included in the GES. I seek to answer the following research questions:

RQ1: To what extent, if any, is forced marriage a form of modern slavery?

RQ2: Does forced marriage as currently defined in law really encapsulate the normative problem?

RQ3: What types of marriage, if any, ought to be seen as forms of modern slavery?

In order to answer these questions I:

1) Draw on the work of past philosophers' nuanced and sophisticated analyses of how marriage constitutes a form of slavery to show that fundamental elements of the real normative problem are not covered by the modern notion of 'forced' marriage (RQs 1,2 and 3).
2) Collate current legal definitions of forced marriage, and see how these map onto understandings of modern slavery (RQs 1 and 2).
3) Explore the corpus of existing survivor narratives regarding forced marriage and slavery (RQs 1,2 and 3).
4) Conduct a systematic survey of existing empirical research on instances of forced marriage and/or marriages which could be forms of slavery, including by partners Walk Free and Karma Nirvana (RQs1,2 and 3).
5) Generate typologies of marriages which arguably constitute an institution or practice similar to slavery, and a definition of the normative problem the global community is rightfully seeking to eliminate, currently referred to as 'forced' marriage (RQs 1 and 3).
6) With project partner Walk Free, input into data-collection for the GES, leading to more accurate numbers for forced marriage globally and development of a new SDG Target Indicator for inclusion in the Global Slavery Index, to better measure progress towards eradication of forced marriage and modern slavery (RQ3).

Planned Impact

The ultimate beneficiaries of this research are everyone who might be impacted by forced marriage or modern slavery. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that there were 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every thousand people in the world in 2016 (ILO 2017): but the repercussions of forced marriage and modern slavery are felt by many more than those who personally becomes victims of either. Ending forced marriage and modern slavery are both targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, from achievement of which the whole global community will benefit, and my project makes a contribution to this task by explaining the link between the two, without which we cannot make much progress in eradicating either.

I hope to evidence impact in five ways. 1) Widespread adoption by Non-Governmental Organisation actors; government agencies (e.g. the UK's Forced Marriage Unit and Indepenent Anti-Slavery Commissioner); and international bodies (e.g. UN Women) of the definition of forced marriage, and typologies of 'slave-like' marriage I develop in the project. 2) Use of the Forced Marriage Legislation Database by these same actors. 3) Input of my findings regarding definition and the conceptual link between forced marriage and modern slavery into the data collection for the annual Global Estimates of Slavery and Global Slavery Index with project partner Walk Free. 4) Input into the advice and training materials provided by Karma Nirvana to key actors tasked with safeguarding potential victims (e.g. police officers, teachers, medics and social workers) and to their helpline staff, who will thereby be better able to detect and flag links between forced marriage and modern slavery. 5) Increasing general knowledge, understanding and awareness of forced marriage and modern slavery through engagement with the general public at events held on the University of Nottingham campus, and through our Massive Open Online Course on slavery.

Key beneficiaries include:

1) Policy-makers and agencies within national, devolved and local government, including (in the UK) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office Modern Slavery Unit, the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner's office, and the UK Forced Marriage Unit who will be able to use my research outputs to improve legislation, measurement, and policy regarding interventions.

2) Front-line groups and service-providers, including (in the UK), the Crown Prosecution Service, the National Crime Agency, police forces, border security, social workers and health professionals, who will be able to use my research outputs in their own efforts to end forced marriage and modern slavery and will benefit from the training co-produced with Karma Nirvana.

3) International governments seeking to adopt new forced marriage legislation and/or set up Forced Marriage Units, using the UK's Forced Marriage Unit (the first in the world) as a model, who will benefit from the conceptual clarity my research will provide.

4) Intergovernmental agencies working to end forced marriage and modern slavery, including Alliance 8.7, UN Women, and the International Criminal Court, who can also use my new definition, typologies, systematic review of empirical research, more accurate numbers produced in conjunction with Walk Free, and suggested SDG Target Indicator in constructing new policy, more effective interventions, and better advice regarding drafting legislation on forced marriage.

5) NGOs working to tackle forced marriage, measure it more effectively, and support survivors, including Freedom Fund, Karma Nirvana, Girls Not Brides, Plan International and Unchained at Last, who will all find definitions, more accurate measurements and training materials helpful for training staff and focusing their efforts effectively.

6) The general public who will benefit from increased knowledge regarding forced marriage and slavery, and from achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Publications

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Helen McCabe (2020) Harriet Taylor and the Development of John Stuart Mill's Socialism in Nineteenth-Century Prose

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Helen McCabe (2020) The Philosopher Queens

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Helen McCabe Harriet Taylor

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McCabe H (2020) John Stuart Mill: market socialist? in Review of Social Economy

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McCabe H (2020) John Stuart Mill on ?legitimate socialism? and the 1848 revolution in Paris in Revue philosophique de la France et de l'étranger

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McCabe H (2021) Introduction to the COVID-19 and MODERN SLAVERY Issue in Journal of Modern Slavery

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McCabe Helen (2021) John Stuart Mill, Socialist

 
Description Contributed to joint evidence (from Rights Lab) on Protecting Human Rights During and After the COVID-19 Crisis: Response to Joint Questionnaire of Special Proceedures wih a Focus on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and Related Exploitation
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/beacons-of-excellence/rights-lab/resources/reports-and-briefin...
 
Description Joined Advisory Board for "Australia's Response to Forced Marriage - Survivor Views and Perspectives" (UTS Law School)
Geographic Reach Australia 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Submission to JCHR on COVID and forced marriage
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/beacons-of-excellence/rights-lab/mseu/mseu-resources/2020/apri...
 
Description Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 and COVID-Related Decision Making on Forced Marriage Vulnerability in the UK
Amount £2,215,422 (GBP)
Funding ID ESRCCOVID114 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2020 
End 04/2022
 
Description Survivors' Voices, Stories, and Imageas: Survivor-Led Empowerment Through Ethical Story-Telling and Participatory Photography
Amount £150,871 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/V012347/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2021 
End 08/2022
 
Description Australian Forced Marriage Research Project Advisory Board 
Organisation University of Technology Sydney
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have been part of the advisory board for research on forced marriage in Australia, having been invited because of this Fellowship. I have had several meetings with researchers considering the project design and ethics, and also had interim reports from the research as it has progressed.
Collaborator Contribution The Australian researchers have given invaluable insight from their perspective on issues around forced marriage and how best to end it (including what kind of law is best used against it, and also causes of it in Australia which have a wider application). They have also been a useful sounding board for my own questions about forced marriage, and given me a valuable leadership experience and opportunity.
Impact No outputs as yet.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Karma Nirvana AHRC Fellowship Collaboration 
Organisation Karma Nirvana
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution None as yet - it has very much been controbutions from them to our work so far. (A planned training session on modern slavery for Karma Nirvana has been indefinitely postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions, and the impact the pandems has had on their work.)
Collaborator Contribution With Karma Nirvana, we have had regular meetings (online since February 2020 because of COVID-19), where I have gained invaluable insight into issues surrounding forced marriage in the UK and challenges faced by victims and those seeking to support them. We have planned future work around mapping stakheolder responsibilities, working with survivors of forced marriage to understand their experience (and its relation to slavery),and on further funding for work directly related to the impact of COVID-19. This has helped with my leadership development goals.
Impact I have won a UKRI COVID-19 rapid response grant with Karma Nirvana (30.10.20), which we co-designed and on which they are project partners. This is a social sciences project, particularly politics, as well as incorporating elements of political theory and philosophy.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Walk Free AHRC Fellowship Collaboration 
Organisation Walk Free Foundation
Country Australia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution None as yet - though we are in discussions about feeding our findings into their work on estimating prevalence of forced marriage in 2021.
Collaborator Contribution We have had a couple of meetings, as the planned work with Walk Free is more for Year 2 of the project that Year 1. Even so, we have gained some vital insight into how Walk Free are viewing forced marriage and their timeframe for working towards more accurate measurements, which is an important pathway to impact for this project.
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Walk Free Working Group: Forced and Child Marriage & Harmful Traditional Practices 
Organisation Walk Free Foundation
Country Australia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I have been appointed to this working group which arises from Walk Free's "Stacked Odds" report and brings together researchers and practitioners in this area to work on joint projects, build neworks, exchange knowledge, and input into Walk Free's on-going work and strategy in this area.
Collaborator Contribution Walk Free have brought together researchers and practitioners from across the world to form an international network. They are hosting the meetings, administering the group's activities, and taking due heed of advice and findings from the working group for on-going policy action.
Impact This is multidisciplinary, bringing together academic disciplines from arts and humanities and also social science, but also bringing together academics and practitioners.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Blog for Justice Everywhere 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I wrote a blog post for Justice Everywhere on forced marriage and COVID-19. I'm not sure how many people read the blog, but 1220 people saw my tweet about it on Twitter, and people engaged with it 16 times.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://justice-everywhere.org/international/forced-marriage-in-times-of-covid-19/
 
Description Gave Presentation to potential applicants for scheme within my University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a talk about my project and my experience of applying for this scheme to other people thinking about applying within my institution. Around 25 people attended, and the talk was also shared internally as a video for more people to engage with.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Gave a talk at McMasters Philosophy Department Seminar Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I spoke at a meeting of the McMaster's Philosophy Department Seminar Series. Around 20 people attended, some PGR students and staff from McMasters but also academics from Bryn Mwr and St Norbert College. There was good discussion, and I made plans with the colleague from Bryn Mwr to suggest a panel at the American Political Science Association's next conference (2021).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Gave paper at online conference organised via McMasters University to replace panel cancelled at IPSA (due to COVID-19) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A group of us who had been planning to present at related panels at IPSA organised an online conference/workshop ourselves in order to share our research findings and discuss papers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Gave talk at Global Partners online event on COVID-19's impact on trafficked women and girls 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact I was part of a panel of experts talking about the likely impact of COVID-19 on trafficking women and girls organised by Global Partners. This was broadcast live on YouTube, and also live-tweeted from their Twitter account.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZOHQYNbGys&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=GPG
 
Description Gave talk at University of Nebraska-Lincoln's 12th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I recorded, with a Rights Lab colleague, a talk about definitions of forced marriage and law across the world regarding slavery, trafficking, forced labour, servitude, servile marriage and forced marriage for this high-profile conference, which moved online in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/human-trafficking-conference-goes-virtual-expands-reach...
 
Description Paper presented at U21 Early Career Researcher Workshop "Modern Slavery, Forced Labour, and Human Trafficking" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The research fellow on this project (Hannah Baumeister) presented a paper at a panel I chaired considering forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and modern slavery, particularly in the context of COVID-19. The workshop brought together ECRs from U21 network universities, from a range of disciplines, to share knowledge and experience on how to best tackle issues around modern slavery. There was great discussion among ECR audience-members, and plans made to collaborate in the future on related projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://universitas21.com/news-and-events/events/u21-early-career-researcher-workshop-2020-modern-sl...
 
Description Presented Poster at AHRC Fellows Conference 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I presented a poster about my project at the AHRC Fellows Conference in Birmingham. About 30 people attended and discussed my project with me.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Presented Poster at AHRC Fellows Conference 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I presented an online poster at the AHRC Fellows conference 2021 on my project. 36 other AHRC-funded researchers attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Presented at APSA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I presented a paper about entitled "Marriage and Slavery from Wollstonecraft and Beyond" at a special mini-conference at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in September 2020. 27 people were invited, and some others joined as it was open to all atenders of the annual meeting (and held online).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Recorded short lecture for student at University of Stirling 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact I recorded a short lecture on Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill (and their analysis of marriage) for students at the University of Stirling as they had moved to on-line learning. This was shared on their online learning platform.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Rights Track Podcast on forced marriage 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I participated in an episode of The Rights Track podcast, discussing forced marriage and women's rights. 500 people have downloaded the episode to date (22.10.20).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://rightstrack.org/forced-marriage-and-womens-rights-what-connects-sdgs-5-and-87
 
Description Talk at Stirling University's Philosophy Department Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I gave a talk on Mill's discussion of 'voluntary slavery' at Stirling's regular seminar series (on Teams). There was some very helpful discussion for clarifying my ideas, and also about the nature of slavery and forced labour as Mill used the terms (and whether he was correct), and general concerns about using 'slavery' as a metaphor/analogy, or over-extending its meaning. People said we had touched on areas of Mill they didn't know about before. I am planning to continue working on this paper and submit it to a journal in 2021.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Talk given at Goethe Institute, Frankfurt 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 50+ academics attended a two-day conference at which I gave a paper. This was then published in "Review of Social Economy".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://economicsociologydotorg.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/b19b6-cfp.market.socialism.pdf
 
Description Talk given to Women's Staff Network, University of Nottingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 20 people attended a lunchtime seminar as part of the Women's Staff Network (not a network I had previously known about at the University) on my research project. This sparked a number of questions, including an invitation to speak about forced marriage to student teachers in our Department of Education on forced marriage and things they should know and/or look out for once they start their professional careers. I have now signed up to give a presentation to next year's cohort.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description The Woman-Slave Anology in 19th Century Social Movements Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Over 40 academics from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds attended a discussion between me (Helen McCabe) and Ana Stevenson about her recent book "The Woman as Slave in Nineteenth Century American Social Movements" and my article on Anna Doyle Wheeler and Harriet Tayor and their use of the analogy to critique women's position in 19th-century Britain and Ireland. There were questions and discussions, and we recorded the talk to turn into a podcast at a later date. 2275 people saw my tweet about the event on Twitter, and 58 people engaged with it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://twitter.com/HRMcCabe/status/1278293305709727744
 
Description Wrote a blog entry on Harriet Taylor Mill, Domestic Violence, and Sentencing for The Voice 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I wrote a piece for "The View" in collaboration with The Philosopher Queens (for whom I had already contributed a chapter on Harriet Taylor Mill). I am not sure how many people read the piece in "The View", but 2427 people saw my tweet about this on Twitter, and people interacted with it 19 times.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.thephilosopherqueens.co.uk/the-view/harriet-taylor-mill-on-domestic-violence-sentencing-...