Abstract

Abstract:

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the EIC and the British government were only marginally concerned with abolishing slavery in its eastern territories; their attentions were securely focused on the brutal inhumanity of the Atlantic system. This essay highlights the indifference of most officials to the illegal traffic of women and girls, whom they often labeled as debtors, coming into the Straits of Malacca. The incredible gender disparity within the British Straits Settlements, created by the floods of laboring, unattached men, and lack of immigrating women, was overwhelming motivation to begin refining legal terms, and turn a blind eye to what was clearly a thriving trade in non-European slaves. This case study demonstrates that strongly held beliefs about class, gender, domesticity, and "native" sexuality fundamentally shaped what officials believed was (and was not) slavery within the Straits and how they reacted to what they encountered.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-8050
Print ISSN
1045-6007
Pages
pp. 341-369
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-05
Open Access
N
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