The 1926 Slavery Convention was an agreement among member states of the League of Nations that obliged signatories to eliminate slavery, the slave trade, and forced labor in their territories. It defined slavery as the status or condition of a person over which the powers of ownership are applied; the slave trade as acts involving the capture, selling, or transport of enslaved people; and forced labor as a “condition analogous to slavery” that had to be regulated and eventually stopped. The Slavery Convention was the work of the Temporary Slave Commission, established by the League in 1924, which determined that slavery was widespread in many parts of the world and that its elimination could be aided by an international convention the provisions of which would be binding upon League member states. The convention required signatories to intercept slave traffic in their territorial waters and on ships flying their flag, to assist other states in anti-slavery efforts, and to enact national anti-slavery laws and enforcement mechanisms. However, Article 9 of the convention allowed each signatory to exempt certain of its territories from all or parts of the convention. Britain invoked this exemption for Burma and British India. The convention was signed on September 25, 1926, and came into force on March 9, 1927. The original text, with signatures and claimed exemptions, is shown here. It is held in the archives of the League, which were transferred to the United Nations in 1946 and are housed at the UN office in Geneva. The archives were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2010.
Title in Original Language
Convention relative à l’esclavage/ Slavery Convention
Type of Item
11 pages ; 34 centimeters
Last updated: August 7, 2017