China Human Trafficking and Slaving Database

Principal investigator: Claude Chevaleyre 
Collaborators : Iva Stojevic


The “China Human Trafficking and Slaving Database” (CHTS-DB) project was launched in 2019 with an “Impulsion” grant awarded by Idex-Lyon. As part of the “Exploring Slave Trade in Asia” project (International Institute of Social History in cooperation with the Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies, the Linnaeus University, and the Bonn Center of Dependency and Slavery Studies), CHTS-DB intends to map the flows of human trafficking in late imperial China, to identify its networks and actors, and to unveil its interregional and transnational dynamics.

Whereas “Exploring Slave Trade in Asia” focuses on maritime slave “voyages” and “sub-voyages” operated by (Western) colonial and mercantile powers all across the early-modern Indian Ocean World, CHTS-DB primarily focuses on inland “flows” of forced human relocation and on “slaving” in late imperial China.

The primary prospect of the pilot project is to reassess preconceptions according to which slaving practices were unknown or insignificant in “premodern” China, and that Western operators trafficking in Chinese “workers” and “slaves” before and during the “coolie trade” era acquired human merchandize coming exclusively from the vicinity of China’s southern ports, either by raiding the neighboring populations themselves, or with the help of unscrupulous Chinese local officials and outlaws.

The main questions asked by this project are:

        • did trafficking networks and markets exist in China before and beyond the scope of Western slaving activities?
        • if so, how were those connected with Western-operated networks; what was their scope; who were their operators; how did Western slaving activities influenced or contributed to re-route and reshape Chinese markets and networks; and how did Chinese slaving practices shape or condition the operation of Western slaving activities?

A subsequent question raised by this project is: Were there in late imperial China practices that could be readily compared with Western slave trading; or are there related practices that can be observed and recorded in the perspective of a comparative and connected history of slaving and forced relocation at the scale of Asia, maritime and continental? [Lire la suite]

      • 2019-2021 “Impulsion” Grant, Idex-Lyon: €50.000
      • April 7, 2021, “The China Human Trafficking and Slaving Database”, online webinar “Reconstructing global slave trade: new data initiatives in slave trade and slavery studies”, International Institute of Social History
      • May 13, 2019, “Human trafficking in late imperial China: Evidence and interpretative framework”, guest lecture, Bonn Centre of Dependency and Slavery (Bonn University)
      • May 11-12, 2019 Workshop “Forced Relocations: Conceptualizations, Cases and Data”, Bonn Center of Dependency and Slavery Studies 
      • March 13-14, 2019, International Conference “Capture, Bondage, and Forced Relocations in Asia (1400-1900)”, Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies, ENS Lyon 
      • September 27-28, 2018, International Workshop “Towards an Indian Ocean and Maritime Asia Slave Trade Database”, International Institute of Social History
      • September 8-9, 2017, International Workshop, “Enslavement in the Indian Ocean World, International Workshop, Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Linnaeus University, Växjö-Kalmar, Kalmar, 8 and 9 September 2017.
      • Claude Chevaleyre, “Human Trafficking in Late Imperial China”, in Slavery and Forced Labor in Asia, dir. Richard Allen & Jeff Fynn-Paul, Leiden: Brill (Studies in Global Slavery series), forthcoming 2021
      • Claude Chevaleyre, “Domestic Law and Slavery in Late Imperial China. Glimpses from Lineage Registers”, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, forthcoming 2021
      • Claude Chevaleyre, “Prosecution of a murderous female slave, Mukden (Qing China), 1796”, WORCK DataStories series, online , 2020
      • Claude Chevaleyre “The Abolition of Slavery and the Status of Slaves in Late Imperial China”, in The Palgrave Handbook of Bondage and Human Rights in Africa and Asia, dir. Alessandro Stanziani and Gwyn Campbell, New York: Palgrave, p. 57-82
      • Claude Chevaleyre, book review of Johanna Ransmeier’s, Sold People (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017), in T’oung-Pao, vol. 105.5-6, 2019, 636-643

Vous trouverez ici des bibliographies, des datasets au format CSV, des working papers, éventuellement des cartes dynamiques ARGIS online.

Voir aussi dans «Projets de recherche»