International Day for Abolition of Slavery

Today is International Day for Abolition of Slavery. On 2 December 1949 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

To mark this day RTÉ Archives listens back to 'Sugar and the Blue Eyed Slave', a radio documentary produced by Documentary on One.

In this clip from the programme Joe Kearney meets historian and stamp collector Philly Lynch, who talks about Irish child slaves and how they ended up enslaved in Montserrat.

From its initial colonisation, Montserrat became known as a refuge for those escaping religious persecution on other islands, especially Roman Catholics. The Irish were provided with smallholdings for tobacco cultivation, however, when this industry switched to more labour intensive sugar production, slaves were found to be a necessary part of the enterprise. This was the beginning of the era of Irish slave ownership in Montserrat.

The truth behind Ireland's involvement in slavery, slave ownership and the horrors of sugar plantations emerges from testimonies of islanders and from the guardians of the island's history.

Narrated and produced by Joe Kearney, 'Sugar and the Blue Eyed Slave' was first broadcast on 27 July, 2013.

Listen to the Documentary on One programme.

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