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Slavery abolished in 2010??

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759761.  Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:03 pm Reply with quote

Hallo there,

I was just watching QI and they said owning a slave only became illegal in April 2010. Since we're discussing slavery at school, I hoped someone could explain to me in detail who what when where and why.


759783.  Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:11 pm Reply with quote

It's currently being discussed in this thread if you want to wander over and have a look.

759820.  Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:32 pm Reply with quote

Welcome Csapp94

782908.  Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:21 am Reply with quote

In my degree level class on ethics a student told us that slavery in Britain was not actually banned until 2010. This all came from this TV show where this fact was said by a person who is not a legal expert in any way. So I decided to go to the legal department and talk to the actual experts

Well here are the facts :

1807 - the Slave Trade Act was passed making the buying, selling and transporting of slaves was made illegal. This law did not actually make Slavery illegal in the UK because slaves already own remained slaves.

1833 - Slavery Abolition Act was passed making all slaves in England Free. All slaves under 6 were set free and all one above 6 were made apprentices which in practise ended slavery but did not help many ex-slaves.

1838 - Abolish Apprenticeship which gave true freedom to all the ex-slaves
Not to be confused with modern understanding of apprenticeship

Now to explain why QI got it wrong is interesting. The only legislation in 2010 to do with slavery was to establishes an Anti-Slavery Day, then that's all it is - it's a very short Act which simple sets up such a day in the calendar.

Maybe he was referring to Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 which also mentions slavery being illegal, maybe this is the law he was referring too however the way the British laws works is we have redundancies and things are often stated as illegal again and again. In this case laws against slavery was passed in 1824, 1843 and 1873. Also when the Human Rights Act passed into law in 1998 under Article 4 which the holding of persons as slaves is prohibited under law.

What ever he was referring to it is clearly untrue that slavery only became illegal in 2010. This opens up another interesting thing to think about modern day society where people will believe a comedian talking about something he is not an expert in without checking his facts in anyway. I think this is someway sums up our society TV celebrities especially comedians (because the way they present their "facts" in an amusing way) are becoming the people most people believe and listen too. Expertise means nothing these days.

783007.  Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:34 am Reply with quote

I refer you to the discussion at

The point made is that you couldn't be charged for slavery, you were charged for other crimes which resulted in slavery, so this seems to be a technical adjustment.

No one is suggesting that slavery was legal prior to this act, this just simplified some things and corrected some technical matters.

Because of this, it made it a "Quite Interesting" fact that you can now be charged for slavery, in a different way to how you would have been charged previously. QI stands for Quite Interesting, which is why it made the show.

I agree that people should not just take at face value what a TV show says, especially an entertainment show, but there's a touch of irony in making this point while taking at face value that Qi said slavery was abolished in 2010 when the premise of the show is about interesting facts and quirks.

If it wasn't for this premise you'd probably wonder why some people are mad enough to think WWII ended in 1990, the Earth doesn't have a moon, and that Radhanath Sikdar was the first man to put two feet on the top of Mount Everest, about a century before Hilary and Norgay got there.

783858.  Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:57 am Reply with quote

You might also wonder why someone "In my degree level class on ethics" would accept a statement that

1833.....All slaves under 6 were set free and all () above 6 were made apprentices which in practise ended slavery but did not help many ex-slaves.

A Primary school class on ethics might be fooled into believing that a 7 year old (previously a slave) who was ostensibly "free at last" would instantly notice a change in status; someone struggling towards their O levels might be fooled into thinking that slaves were at last free (although left to fend for themselves in an alien environment).

But a degree level specialist in ethics not noticing the inherent contradictions?

I have nothing against criticisms of QI for getting their facts (or interpretations) wrong - but if you intend to claim some status by declaring yourself a degree level student of ethics at least have the decency to show either (and preferrably both) a degree level education and an understanding of ethics.

783970.  Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:06 am Reply with quote

There's no need to personally attack someone because you disagree with them

I thought it was self explanatory from Worsop's post that he mentioned his class because someone in it had mentioned the Qi claim, not as a way of giving themselves status. I thought it was also obvious they were simply listing parliamentary acts, not commenting whether they were right or not (in fact Worsop even mentions that it didn't help many ex slaves).

783972.  Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:14 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
There's no need to personally attack someone because you disagree with them.

Yeah, well, you would say that, you tosser!



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