This article deals with Slavery as it relates to NationStates. For more general information, see the Wikipedia article on this subject.
Slavery is a system in which people, including many non-humans, are treated as the property of others. Slaves are generally held against their will from the time of birth or capture and denied the right to leave, refuse work or demand food. Some nations purport to practice voluntary slavery but this is disputed by critics, who argue either that such that such relationships are not really slavery or that they are not really voluntary. Many slaves, even some human slaves, are not considered people by their owners. In some nations where slavery is legal, it is not a crime to kill a slave. Others, however, have basic laws about the humane treatment of slaves.
Slavery is rarely formally defined by any of the organisations which oppose or support it. However, definitions are often both highly relevant and highly contentious. While traditional slavery is well understood and often practiced openly, there is debate about whether or not some practices should be considered slavery. For example, different individuals and organisations disagree on where the line is between employment and slavery. Some nations consider deceptive practices which leave a worker unable to effectively leave or even subject to debt peonage to simply be part of the labour market. Others consider almost all forms of capitalism to be slavery. There is similar disagreement when it comes to state slavery. Some communists maintain that a total command economy where every citizen must labour as the state commands is, in fact, not slavery. On the other hand, some libertarians believe that almost any imposition by the state is a form of slavery. Disputes about slavery can also hinge on disputes about personhood. Some states which recognise the right of individuals to own or even kill non-human sentients argue that this practice is not a form of slavery because the victims are not persons. Some radical vegans, on the other hand, consider animals normally judged to be non-sentient to, in fact, be persons. Those who hold this view consider all domesticated animals slaves.
In practice, slavery is often defined by its practitioners. Many nations who engage in practices tantamount to slavery avoid censure simply by not using the term. Other nations actively try to portray practices as slavery even when they do not fall within traditional definitions. Reasons for doing so include wishing to enter pro-slavery alliances, wishing to provoke anti-slavery governments and wishing to demonstrate a "good" version of slavery.
The Parliament of the Resurgent Dream has adopted a formal definition of slavery which governs all of its anti-slavery laws. According to the law, slavery is the "inducement of labour by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation includes prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, servitude or the removal of organs. This definition shall not be understood to include any arrangement to which all parties are adults who have given voluntary, unimpeded, intelligent and informed consent. This definition shall not apply to any person convicted of a genuine criminal offense before an impartial tribunal through the due process of law and sentenced to a fixed term of labour. Slavery shall also include the forced captivity of persons for the purpose of harvesting their meat, milk or other parts of their body through killing, mutilation or other exploitation or the forced captivity, exploitation, mutilation, torture or killing of persons for purposes of sport or entertainment and all provisions pertaining to slavery shall also apply to the transportation, possession, sale or purchase of any product derived from such processes."
The English word "slave" derives through Old French and Medieval Latin from the medieval word for the Slavic people of Central and Eastern Europe.
Evidence of slavery predates written records, and has existed in many cultures. Slavery is rare among hunter–gatherer populations, as slavery is a system of social stratification. Mass slavery also requires economic surpluses and a high population density to be viable. Due to these factors, the practice of slavery would have only proliferated after the invention of agriculture during the Neolithic revolution about 11,000 years ago.
Slavery in Marlund
The Epheronian slave trade was fundamental to the economy of Marlund from 1754 until 2004. Slavery in Marlund was justified on racial and religious grounds. The life of slaves was harsh, often featuring stern punishments, the separation of families, humiliation, and degradation. Rape of slave women was endemic despite being officially banned. Several slave revolts were repressed throughout Marlund's history. The slave trade was abolished in 2004 when the Resurgent Dream, Pantocratoria, and Excalbia defeated Marlund in the Second Ambaran War. The former slaves were freed and Marlund was reconstructed. She eventually became part of the Resurgent Dream.
Slavery in Laneria
Ironically, a black man named Michael Warren of Regina, a former indentured servant first introduced permanent black slavery in the 1650s by becoming the first holder in Laneria of permanent black slaves when he got a local court to hold that Daniel Warren was bound permanently to his service. By 1750, slavery was a legal institution in all of England's Lanerian colonies. An estimated 660,200 Epheronian captives were brought to Laneria from the 16th to 19th centuries. Roughly a sixth of all such captives died during the voyage. Slavery in Laneria was only abolished after a war with the Resurgent Dream.
Open, de jure slavery is a reality of the NationStates world. Slaves are traded openly on some international markets. Alliances exist to defend the practice of slavery. However, contemporary slavery takes many forms and there is not universal agreement on what constitutes slavery. Slavery also exists illicitly in many nations where it is against the law. Contemporary conditions which many consider to constitute slavery include debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, adoption in which children are effectively forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, forced marriage and sentient food farming.
Illegal enslavement of agricultural labour persists in Laneria. There have been eight prosecutions in the last decade, involving more than a a thousand victims. All of the victims were successfully established in conditions of freedom and most of the perpetrators were convicted. However, authorities believe there might still be undetected cases.
Authorities in the Resurgent Dream estimate that 6,000 to 8,000 persons are the victims of trafficking in the Resurgent Dream each year, primarily for prostitution. The number is kept low through strict enforcement policies and strong support for victims. Just over 3,000 trafficking victims are rescued by law enforcement or escape each year. Just under a dozen traffickers are prosecuted each year and conviction almost always bring the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Slavery has existed, in one form or another, through the whole of recorded human history — as have, in various periods, movements to free large or distinct groups of slaves.
One of the earliest protests against slavery in Vasconia came from Knootian Quakers in Nova Nederlandia. Nova Nederlandia abolished slavery in 1805 and the Resurgent Dream in 1852, although there were only nine slaves in the Resurgent Dream at the time. Laneria was forced to abolish slavery after being defeated by the Resurgent Dream in a war.
In addition to the World Assembly ban on slavery, many nations and alliances have taken action against it. The World Anti-Slavery Organization is an alliance founded for the sole purpose of combating slavery. The Treaty of Lyeithen bans slavery among member states. The Ryberg Institute of Mutual Trade bans countries which practice slavery from joining.
The Resurgent Dream has not only illegalised slavery within its own borders but has totally banned all commerce with nations which allow slavery and the slave trade within theirs. This led to the Resurgent Dream breaking its connection to the Trade Network Association, which was more tolerant of the slave trade. Pantocratoria and Knootoss have both promised military action against any party which attempts to enslave one of their nationals.
Trafficking in human beings or other sentients is one method of obtaining slaves. It is the dominant method in nations where slavery is illegal and the law is generally enforced. Victims are typically recruited through deceit or trickery (such as a false job offer, false migration offer, or false marriage offer), sale by family members, recruitment by former slaves, or outright abduction. Victims are forced into servitude by coercion, deception, fraud, intimidation, isolation, threat, physical force, debt bondage or even the force-feeding of drugs. Not all trafficking occurs internationally. Domestic trafficking is a problem in many nations. The overwhelming majority of trafficking victims are female and many are minors.
While the majority of victims are women, and sometimes children, who are forced into prostitution, victims also include men, women and children who are forced into manual labour. Due to the illegal nature of human trafficking, its exact extent is unknown. Trafficking is not unconnected to the open slave trade. Trafficking victims are often sold to slave traders and slaves bought openly but brought illegally into a particular country are generally considered trafficking victims. In places like Marlund, traffickers have often attempted to take advantage of the low education and the psychological and economic vulnerability of former slaves to lure them back into servitude.
The price of slaves varies dramatically. In some places, debt bondage slaves can sell for as low as $40. However, individual, beautiful women are often sold for million at highly competitive auctions. The International Slave Market of Valdra prices slaves from as low as $6,800 to as high as $55,000. The price of slavery is driven up by risk. Many slaves are captured in nations where slavery is illegal and prosecuted severely while others are taken in war. According to economist Jean Trudeau classifies slave markets as the second most prominent international market, right after the arms trade. Over half of all slavery profits come from the sale of trafficked sex slaves.
Gil Charest has developed economic models designed to predict when firms are likely to resort to slave labour. Although originally intended as an aid to law enforcement, some proponents of slavery have used Charest's theory to support claims that slavery is economically feasible.
Other economists have studied whole societies, attempting to determine when institutions such as slavery appear and disappear. Although there is no definitive answer and many nations seem to introduce slavery for primarily ideological reasons, economists have made some generalisations about when slavery is economically likely or profitable. One circumstance which makes slavery more likely is when land is plentiful and labour scarce, enabling paid labour to demand higher wages. If labour is abundant but land is scarce, then it becomes more costly for the land owners to have guards for the slaves than to employ paid workers who can only demand low wages due to the competition. Slavery and serfdom thus often diminish as population rises. Slavery is not uncommon in large empires who claim vast, new settlements of land which are at first scarcely populated. In his book, Without Consent, Saddam Chalabi maintains that slavery has been and can still be a profitable method of production on large, cash crop plantations. During the period of Lanerian slaver, Chalabi notes, whites in Laneria had higher average incomes than neighbouring Caldans or Nova Nederlandians. However, most of their money was spent on slaves and plantations.
Slavery is more common when the labour done is relatively simple and thus easy to supervise, such as large scale growing of a single crop. It is much more difficult and costly to check that slaves are doing their best and with good quality when they are doing complex tasks. Therefore, slavery is sometimes seen as an efficient method of production for large scale crops like sugar and cotton, whose output was based on economies of scale. This enables a gang system of labor to be prominent on large slave plantations where field hands are monitored and worked with factory-like precision. Each work gang is based on an internal division of labor that not only assigns every member of the gang to a precise task but simultaneously makes his or her performance dependent on the actions of the others. The gang system essentially works like a version of the assembly line to be found in factories.
Critics argue that slavery tends to retard technological advancement, since the focus is on increasing the number of slaves doing simple tasks rather than upgrading the efficiency of labour. Because of this, theoretical knowledge and learning in Greece—and later in Rome—was not applied to ease physical labour or improve manufacturing.
Lucien Allaire made the argument that free labor was economically better than slave labor, and argued further that slavery in many nations ended based upon the decision of a strong, independent church or monarchy. He argued, counterintuitively, that it would be difficult to abolish slavery in a republic because so many legislators would invariably be slave owners unwilling to punish themselves. This claim is a major component of Allaire's criticisms of illiberal democracies and oligarchic republics and his defence of monarchy. Keith Edwards made a similar argument in his defence of strong, institutionally powerful religious organisations which he considers uniquely situated to press for the abolition of slavery. According to Edwards, religious bodies are more likely than republican stakeholders to do so because they act out of moral considerations rather than personal interest. However, the claims of Allaire and Edwards, associating abolition with elite institutions, are widely disputed by groups who consider the causes of personal liberty, equality and self-government to be integrally connected in an overall conception of freedom.