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Slavery vs exploitation - What Is A Slave?

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Inspired partly by the "define a whore" thread and partly by a discussion I had with someone on another site... what makes a particular unequal, exploitative relationship "slavery" as opposed to something else?
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
So human trafficking as practiced today doesn't count?
No, since it is :
a) illegal and a criminal activity, often facilitated because of corruption and lack of law enforcement.
b) the trafficked people take the initiative (either forced by local conflict, or being persuaded by the traffickers) to make the journey and even pay for it (closing a bad deal, generally)
 

KageKamen

Governor
No, since it is :
a) illegal and a criminal activity, often facilitated because of corruption and lack of law enforcement.
b) the trafficked people take the initiative (either forced by local conflict, or being persuaded by the traffickers) to make the journey and even pay for it (closing a bad deal, generally)
Interesting. it does tend towards one of my own preferences, that the slavery be backed by societal power/recognition. No escaping and calling the cops on your kidnapper or anything.
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
Interesting. it does tend towards one of my own preferences, that the slavery be backed by societal power/recognition. No escaping and calling the cops on your kidnapper or anything.
Exactly! Under legal slavery, escaping is a crime and the cops are called to find and bring back the slave. It also implies different standards in penal law : those for the free population, and much harsher sanctions for slaves (e.g. for crimes commited by them to third parties - it could be a matter of debate, whether the owner has unlimited power over the life of a slave, or that law imposes maximum sanctions; also whether a death sentence of a slave may be carried out by the owner, or that the slave should be handed over to justice, even when the owner has (rightfully) spoken the death sentence).
 

KageKamen

Governor
Exactly! Under legal slavery, escaping is a crime and the cops are called to find and bring back the slave. It also implies different standards in penal law : those for the free population, and much harsher sanctions for slaves (e.g. for crimes commited by them to third parties - it could be a matter of debate, whether the owner has unlimited power over the life of a slave, or that law imposes maximum sanctions; also whether a death sentence of a slave may be carried out by the owner, or that the slave should be handed over to justice, even when the owner has (rightfully) spoken the death sentence).
Indeed - though the law would probably reserve the right to eliminate the slave themselves even if owners were permitted to as well. Or the punishment for disposing of slaves illegally could be a mere slap on the wrist - or have real teeth. And then there's also the question if the "accidental" deaths of slaves are investigated very hard if their owner doesn't want it so...


But indeed, the slave faces both the opression of their owner (at least mostly unrestrained by law) and the opression of the law (even if they have a relatively kind owner). It might even have been the law and authorities who made them slaves in the first place...
 
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