The history of slavery did not begin in the cotton fields. It has been going on since the dawn of humanity. Part 1 of this four-part documentary series investigates how Africa became the epicenter of human trafficking. The first installment of the series “Slavery Routes – A Short History of Human Trafficking” opens the story of the slave trade. By the 7th Century AD, Africa had already become a slave trading hub. Barbarian invaders brought on the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. Less than two centuries later, the Arabs founded an immense empire on its ruins, stretching from the banks of the Indus River to the southern Sahara. Now a new era of systematic slave hunting began, from the Middle East to Africa. At the heart of this network, two major merchant cities stood out. In the North, at the crossroads of the Arabian Peninsula and Africa, Cairo – the most important Muslim city and Africa’s main commercial hub. In the South, Timbuktu, the stronghold of the great West African empires, and point of departure of the trans-Saharan caravans. This documentary tells how, over the course of centuries, sub-Saharan peoples became the most significant “resource” for the biggest human trafficking networks in history. DW Documentary gives you knowledge beyond the headlines. Watch top documentaries from German broadcasters and international production companies. Meet intriguing people, travel to distant lands, get a look behind the complexities of daily life and build a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events. Subscribe and explore the world around you with DW Documentary.