Slavery is a fact of life in most parts of the Rim and Deep black, and arguably in most parts of the ‘verse. Slaves in the Rim and Deep black are acquired by many means.
Warfare: Armies could bring captives back as part of the reward. Turning defeated soldiers into slaves brought much income, and could also serve as an alternative to imprisoning or killing them.
Raiding: Armies are not the only source of captive slaves. In the far reaches of space warfare and organized criminal activity takes many forms. Slaves are often captured and sold by pirates and other organized armed bands. This type of piracy is a legal and a cultural norm in many reaches of the Rim and deep black.
Debt Slaves: Creditors could claim insolvent debtors as slaves. Occasionally debtors could sell themselves into slavery, with the new owner assuming the debtor’s liabilities. Debt slaves serve a term length equal to the extent of their debt.
Orphans: People could sell their children into slavery. With a lack of established ‘social services’ in many cultures and on the many far flung worlds, parents without the means to provide for children could sell them into servitude, sometimes until adulthood, others for life.
Self-Sold slaves: Life is harsh on many worlds, and travel very difficult. In some situations, individuals sell their freedom in order to gain a measure of security or employment, or to escape life on a world with little or no prospects. It is a matter of debate in many circles how one would trade freedom for security. Many of these individuals end up as pleasure or domestic slaves.
Penal Slaves: Long term captivity in prisons for criminals is almost unheard of in the deep black and rim. Colonies lack the resources to allow such populations to sit unproductive and drawing other much needed resources for long periods of time. The need for such capacity for punishment is filled by the custom of penal slaves. Those criminals that require mid or long term confinement, are sold into bondage for the duration of their sentence. Violent criminals sentenced so almost always are acquired by industrial corporations such as mining concerns and live under the harshest conditions. Penal slaves are subject to increases in term, due to behavioral infractions.
Treatment and experienceEdit
Reports of abuse and harsh treatment of slaves by owners can be widespread and varies from world to world. Though, it is a widely held view that a slave who has been treated well would perform a better job than a poorly treated slave. The experience of slavery depends heavily on the general type of labor to which a slave is assigned, which has a great range. For slaves, assignment to mines offers the most dangerous and difficult living conditions. Agricultural slaves would generally fare better, while household slaves of rich families in the colonies likely enjoy the highest standard of living among colonial slaves, together with a more intricate social experience. Though their room and board would be of a significantly lower quality than that of the free members of the colony, it is comparable to that of many free but poor colonists. Domestic slaves can be found working as barbers, butlers, cooks, hairdressers, maids, nurses, teachers, secretaries, and seamstresses. Slaves with more education and intelligence can even work in professions such as accounting, education and medicine. Many slaves are gladiators who fought in bloody games in order to entertain crowds of freemen (with some even fighting their way to freedom). The extend which gladiators fight to varies from colony to colony. Few established colonies feature death fights, and gladiators often have access to the best medicine in the rim, to ensure their return to the sands of the arena. Conditions for slaves working in the colonial settlements and stations are often not as difficult as those who labor in the mines and factories. Female slaves were usually put in charge of domestic tasks, and male slaves often worked as personal servants, craftsmen, shopkeepers, or even business agents for their masters. Slaves who are able to work in atmospheres close to their owners lead much better lives than slaves who performed labor tasks that disconnected them from their owners. Slaves have a legal status, as property but with limited rights to care for their health and welfare. It has become prevalent throughout the colonies to allow slaves to complain of cruel or unfair treatment by their owners. Many colonies assert that if a slave was abandoned by his master, he became free. Most colonies allow for slaves to have the right to complain against their master in a court or tribunal. It is almost universally law that, a master could no longer execute a slave without just cause, or else the master could be tried for homicide. Legal protection of slaves continues to grow as far flung colonies become interconnected though the slipstream. With first contact with the slave world of Gore, many colonies have adopted aspects of the Gorean slave laws. << Link>> though popular with domestic and pleasure slaves, the extent of the Gorean slave influence varies from colony to colony and even within social circles of each.
Slaves are freed for a variety of reasons, ranging from a particularly good deed toward his/her master, or as a sign of friendship or respect. Sometimes, slaves who have enough money could buy their freedom and the freedom of a fellow slave, frequently a spouse. Slaves are also freed as a result of the master's death by a statement in his will. Frequently slaves are freed at the end of a predetermined term, such as with penal and debt slaves, or upon reaching adult hood with some orphaned slaves, (commonly 18 or 25 years of age.)
At Botany Bay, slaves enjoy many protections. Like the melting pot cultures it is, the bay is tolerant of many forms of slavery, and the rules slaves follow vary with their owners. The colony’s administration is generally tolerant of most forms, though its tolerance varies depending on where in the colony the slave is visiting. Outright abuse of slaves is illegal and can find a slave owner in danger of going before the tribunal for hefty fines, or perhaps becoming a penal slave themselves. Slave owners are cautioned on abusing their property while visiting the colony or anywhere in the Botany Bay Protectorate.
The capture of slaves in the Nova Gaia system is strictly forbidden by law. Slaves may be imported and exported, and new debt, penal and self-sold slaves are processed and entered into the colony’s slave registry on a regular basis. Legally owned, registered slaves, found to be run-aways aboard the station are generally subject to return to their owner’s possession. Slaves may seek asylum, asylum seekers appear before a tribunal. Children born to slaves at the colony are also considering slaves under the same terms and conditions as their parents. In order to be considered a slave, both parents must be slaves, unless the free parent gives up rights per the orphan clause. Unlike many locations, children may not be separated from their parents until the legal age of adulthood. Due to this, there is little interest in breeding slaves in the Botany Bay Protectorate. The sale of child slaves is also strictly forbidden within the Proctorate.