Captain Love: Ignore him, he's a common thief.The Other Wiki defines slavery as a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. It's not just bad — it's literally treating them as less than a person — and barely better than cattle — for the sake of having a servant you don't have to put on a payroll. And, naturally, this practice opens the door for many other horrible things to be done to the souls unfortunate enough to be enslaved. In many works, owning or otherwise dealing in slaves is treated by either the protagonists and/or the narrative as a qualitatively different level of evil than "lesser" crimes. In these works, a Well-Intentioned Extremist or Punch-Clock Villain may be offered the opportunity for a Heel–Face Turn even if their crimes include murder or puppy-kicking, but a slaver will NEVER be redeemed, and Laser-Guided Karma will always find them. Even other villains will recoil from the monstrousness of their crimes. In short, these works or characters treat slavery as a Special Kind of Evil. Some works and characters will draw a distinction between chattel slavery (applying principles of property law to people, allowing them to be formally owned, bought, and sold) and other systems of forced servitude such as such as debt bondage, Indentured Servitude, serfdom, etc., while others will consider all of them equally heinous and dismiss such distinctions as hair-splitting. For the purposes of this trope, either attitude counts as a valid example. In classical international (admiralty) law, a category exists called hostis humani generis, that is, enemies of all mankind, whose behavior places them totally outside all forms of legal protection, and leaves them liable to attack, capture, and destruction by anyone at all with the ability and desire to carry it out. The category was originally defined to include solely pirates, but was later extended to include slavers as well, and the transition from classical to modern international law has thus far preserved the designation. Legally speaking, then, slavery is indeed, quite literally, a special kind of evil. Of course this goes first and foremost for slavedrivers who make a profit out of it and not for people who are raised in a slavery-based society if they aren't cruel to the slaves themselves. Compare Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil, which depicts rape rather than slavery as a more heinous form of evil. Note that it's unimportant whether a particular example of this trope depicts slavery as more or less evil than rape in particular, or even deals with rape at all; what's important is that slavery is depicted as qualitatively worse than other, "lesser" forms of evil. Both tropes can (and sometimes do!) exist within the same work, particularly when dealing with sexual slavery, which is the effective combination of both of these tropes. Contrast Happiness in Slavery, where (at least in-universe) the slaver isn't such a bad guy after all.
Three-Fingered Jack: Ha! As common as they come, but I ain't nothin' compared to you "gentlemen". I steal money, I steal gold, but you? You steal people's lives! So damn ya! And damn the horse that brung ya!
Three-Fingered Jack: Ha! As common as they come, but I ain't nothin' compared to you "gentlemen". I steal money, I steal gold, but you? You steal people's lives! So damn ya! And damn the horse that brung ya!
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Anime & Manga
- A persistent theme in Magi – Labyrinth of Magic. Naïve Newcomer Aladdin is appalled at the idea of one person owning another and immediately tries to free the first slave he meets. Each time the topic of slavery comes up, it's treated as a horrible thing to do. Even minor villains who've dabbled in slave trading themselves are so shocked by a country's leader selling his own people into slavery as collateral for the massive debt they owe to another country that they perform a Heel–Face Turn of sorts.
- In One Piece, a manga centered around pirates who make a living robbing and killing (although the protagonists never seem to get around to much of that), slavery is treated as an especially terrible crime. Examples include:
- Nami was tricked into indefinite indentured servitude by Arlong.
- The World Nobles treat practically everyone as animals. The cruel noble Saint Charloss was willing to buy Keimi with a Whammy Bid of 500 million Berries simply because he wanted to place her in his fish tank full of piranhas and watch her be chased.
- The World Government has technically outlawed the slave trade, but they turn a blind eye to their own members and their allies who do it. They and the Marines refer to the Human Auctioning House in the Sabaody Archipelago as the Public Employment Security Office.
- Boa Hancock and her sisters' experiences as slaves belonging to the - no surprise here - World Nobles deeply traumatized them; their cruel masters forced them to eat Devil Fruit simply For the Evulz.
- The country of Dressrosa had half its populace enslaved by Doflamingo (again, one of the World Nobles) via the Devil Fruit powers of one of his crew to turn people into toys. This came back to bite him - badly - when said crewmember's curse was broken.
- In Punisher Max, "The Slavers" is the most notorious arc of the entire run. It doesn't gloss over how horrific human trafficking is, and the slavers' treatment of their victims hits every one of Frank Castle's buttons concerning the mistreatment of women and children. The brutality Frank visits upon them puts just about every one of his other killing sprees to shame.
- The Marvel Universe is full of examples (these are just ones that stand out):
- Mojo is a Fat Bastard who's Obviously Evil, and rules a race of incredibly lazy beings called the Spineless Ones who use slaves (captured and genetically created) to wait on them hand and foot.
- The original government of the island nation of Genosha treated mutants as a Slave Race. This slavery was crueler than most in Earth’s history, with mutants being subjected through birth to genetic modification by the Sugar Man and the Genegineer. The Genoshan mutants were likewise forbidden from having children, with one mutant sacrificing his life to smuggle his child onboard a Qantas Airways flight to Australia. Their government did not recognize emigration, employing a Press Gang to hunt down citizens who attempted to leave, and later started kidnapping non-citizen mutants, including members of the X-Men. This results in them being soundly hated by the X-Men, and ultimately comes to bite them back in a big way when the rest of the world, having learned of Genosha's Super Human Trafficking, is more than willing to give Magneto control over the island in exchange for him not using his control over Earth's magnetic field to destroy humanity. Magneto promptly sets the mutant slaves free, which sees the Genoshan humans forced to flee or die, which is treated as Pay Evil unto Evil by just about every non-Genoshan.
- Norman Osborn has human trafficking connections. In one issue of Dark Avengers, threatens Mystique by telling her he knows of an upper-class brothel in Dubai where the men would pay top dollar for sex with a Shapeshifter. (For those who doubt that Norman qualifies as a Special Evil, check out his own page.)
- The Fantastic Four's enemy the Puppet Master was into human trafficking too, and it really went beyond the typical type. He brainwashed female heroes (including Dusk, Tigra, Silverclaw, Stature, and Araña) and shipped them to Chile in wooden crates. He also forced random male slaves to fight to the death simply for amusement.
- In The Sandman, the immortal Hob Gadling experiences (justified) White Guilt for centuries for being an influential early slave trader who help establish the system that made the slave trade an economic powerhouse in the 17th through 19th centuries. He did it at the time because it was just kind of what you did, and quit the trade relatively early after Dream — who normally refrains from these sorts of moral judgments — advises him that "it is a poor thing, to enslave another", but he gets to witness first-hand the consequences of his actions throughout history.
- In Secret Six the group ends up working for a group of people who plan to reintroduce legal slavery into the world. Even the hardened mercenaries are disturbed by it. Absolutely skewered by Ragdoll, who's apparently not as sentimental.
Oh dear, not slavery! Why, that's almost nearly sort of kind of barely a little bit about half as bad as the murderers and despots we normally work for! And here I thought I'd had my scruples removed already.
- Modesty Blaise despises slavery. In "The Special Orders", a teenage friend of hers is kidnapped by a sex slavery ring that specialises in kidnapping teenaged girls to order for wealthy clients in the Indochina region. Modesty had hoped she would be able to goad the leader of the ring into a one-on-one fight as that way she would be able to kill her with a clear conscience. And Modesty is someone who usually goes out her way to avoid using lethal force.
- The Orions' hat in Star Trek is slavery, so it's somewhat ironic that in Strange Times Are Upon Us it's Meromi Riyal, the Orion member of the IKS HoSbatlh's Command Roster, who believes this. She unapologetically kills two slave hunters to keep them from recapturing black slaves escaping via the Underground Railroad, and screw the Temporal Prime Directive. Justified later when she reveals was Made a Sex Slave at the age of fifteen. The later story A Matter of Honor has her take a sadistic pleasure in the summary execution of the Orion matron who originally sold her into slavery; she subsequently is the first Orion to swear loyalty to the newly enthroned Chancellor Worf, after he orders the abolition of slavery in the Klingon Empire.
- In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, Admiral Allison Nimitz offers a downplayed example. While slavery hasn't been specifically called out as bad previously, when she finds out that a Mega Corp. was keeping its Clone Army on Explosive Leashes she lashes out verbally, saying that the Trans-Galactic Republic does not tolerate such things. Therefore, she will support the clones should the wish to be free of their master.
- In The Rainsverse, Starlight Glimmer's chief political goal is the abolition of indentured servitude. This immediately puts her at odds with Baroness Dazzle, who has indentured servants herself.
- Downplayed in Gift of A Diamond. While Rhodonite gets along with virtually everyone and has softened the more toxic consequences of Homeworld's Fantastic Caste System, he gets slightly uncomfortable when the idea of getting his own pearl is brought up.
- The War of the Masters: Almost nobody likes the Orions, for whom ownership and being owned is a central tenet of the culture. Current Orion Syndicate overlord Melani D'ian compromised and banned trading in non-Orions as part of her treaty with the Klingon Empire, but that doesn't stop it from happening. Due to being targeted by Orion slave raiders repeatedly, the Moab Confederacy takes a Pay Evil unto Evil approach under Elizabeth Tran's administration, launching counterattacks and rarely taking prisoners unless they can be traded or tortured for information. Discussed in Don't Say Goodbye, Farewell: Starfleet Captain Kanril Eleya voices approval (partly because she lived through an Orion attack as a young enlisted woman, and partly due to her cultural background: the Cardassians used a lot of Bajoran slave labor during the Occupation), but her chief of security points out that such treatment really just encourages slavers to space their cargo in case of capture.note
- Star Wars:
- One of the ways that Tatooine is marked as an outlaw planet in The Phantom Menace is the fact that slavery is legal there. And its de facto rulers are the Hutts, a race of notorious criminal overlords.
- The Lovable Rogue Han Solo deals in a wide variety of shady activity, but one of the lines he won't cross is taking part in a slavery operation.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: Captain Jack Sparrow might be a fast-talking, double-crossing, morally ambiguous pirate, but as revealed in a deleted scene, he will never stoop to slavery, and it was, in fact, what got him branded as a pirate in the first place. This puts him ahead of Cutler Beckett, who has no such qualms.
Beckett: I contracted you to deliver cargo on my behalf. You chose to liberate it.
Sparrow: People aren't cargo, mate.
- Django Unchained is set in the Antebellum South, where slavery was commonplace, and Tarantino makes no bones about how ugly and evil the practice can be. Pretty much everyone on the "good" side of this movie abhors it, Dr. King Schultz especially; and Django mentions that a black slaver, who he has to pose as in order to infiltrate Candyland to rescue his wife, is the lowest of the low among the slave trade — even lower than the head house slave, who had the most privileges among all of the slaves of a household or a plantation and was frequently just as cruel to the slaves below them as the white masters. Django later executes Calvin Candie's smarmy house slave without remorse.
- Averted for Five Weeks in a Balloon, where Ahmed the (now former) slaver becomes part of the heroes. That doesn't mean that they approve of it though; their journey is to stop a bunch of other slavers claiming territory and originally Ahmed was only taken with them to stand trial.
- Spectre: Despite all the crimes Mr. White may have committed over the years, the one thing he will object to is slavery, specifically those of women and children. When Ernst Stavro Blofeld chose to expand in human sex trafficking, he tells 007 that this, alongside his fallout with Blofeld, were the big reasons why he became disillusioned with the way SPECTRE was going and called it quits sometime after the events of Quantum of Solace.
- Free State of Jones: Newt comes to believe this after seeing how the slaves are treated (he doesn't own any himself, like many other poor Southern farmers during that period) and his Aunt Sally helps slaves escape into the swamps. The former slaves naturally agree, with Moses proclaiming that "You cannot own a child of God", to Newt's approval.
- Kull the Conqueror: When Kull becomes king, he gets into a dispute with the traditional nobles of Valusia over the ancient laws that permit slavery, which supersede any king. Kull has personal experience with being forced to work on a Slave Galley, so he allows the slaves in his royal court to either go back to their homeland or receive a fair wage if they've lived in Valusia all their lives. At the end of the film he smashes the ancient tablet and outlaws slavery completely over the royal eunuch's protests.
- A big part of the plot of The Transporter involves this Trope. Protagonist Frank will transport anything, and never asks questions, even doing so when one job involves transporting a kidnap victim. However, after finding out this is human trafficking (and his client double-crosses him because He Knows Too Much) he takes a Sudden Principled Stand to bring the ringleaders in.
- In The Mask of Zorro, Three-Fingered Jack, enslaved in a gold mine run by Don Rafael Montero, expounds to the gathered Dons about how his crimes pale in comparison to theirs of enslavement.
- In Star Wars, The Empire makes a practice of enslaving non-human species. This is not touched on much in the films, but in the Expanded Universe, it is treated as on par with, if not worse than, their habit of blowing planets up. And the one redeeming trait that allows Han Solo and Chewbacca to make the transition from drug-dealing pirates to heroes of the Rebel Alliance is that they will never, ever transport slaves, or have anything to do with a slaving plot (and if they find themselves involved with one inadvertently, they'll either wash their hands of it immediately or try to find some way to free the slaves). Chewbacca is also a former slave whom Han freed when he was about to be shot for resisting. That's why he owes Han a life debt.
- In Dragon Bones, protagonist Ward believes this. As did some of his ancestors. His father and grandfather would have happily helped in the hunt for an escaped slave, but not Ward. It helps that Ward actually owns a slave, Oreg, who is more or less immortal, bound by magic to whoever owns the castle which is Powered by a Forsaken Child, and can tell a story or two about what tends to happen when a human being has absolute power over another.
- Guardians of the Flame features a group of gamers who get transported into the bodies of their characters in a fantasy world. Once they deal with the initial problems that brought them there, the protagonists devote themselves to eradicating slavery from the world.
- Averted in Harry Potter with the house-elves, a Slave Race with Happiness in Slavery as its hat. Mistreating them is considered a Kick the Dog moment, but owning one is not, as nothing makes them happier than serving a kind master, and they consider freedom a Fate Worse than Death. Contrast the mistreatment of Kreacher by Sirius Black (which earns him a Karmic Death) with Dumbledore's treatment of the Hogwarts house-elves. It's unclear whether they belong to him directly or "to the school", but they certainly report to him. He treats them with unfailing kindness and respect, and when an outlier among them asks for pay and time off, he happily obliges, initially offering more than the house-elf is willing to accept. In additional material, it is implied that Helga Hufflepuff brought the house elves to Hogwarts so they wouldn't be mistreated, so she was probably aware of this trope and tried to avert it ... in the assumption that the Hogwarts headmaster would always be a sensible, kind person.
- Robert A. Heinlein hated slavery and sometimes pointed out how evil it is in his novels.
- In Citizen of the Galaxy, one of the main characters, Colonel Richard Baslim, hated the slave trade and lost an arm and a leg rescuing a shipload of people from a slaver compound.
- In Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long said that in his long life he's sold almost everything except slaves and calls slave owners "subhuman". He also "spaces" (shoves out an airlock without a spacesuit) a planet's chief slave trader.
- In Washington Irving's "The Devil And Tom Walker", Tom Walker makes a Deal with the Devil in which he sells his soul in exchange for great wealth. Upon gaining his ill gotten wealth, Walker considers what enterprises he should invest in, but when Old Scratch (who in this story is said to be the patron of slavers) proposes that he should become a slave dealer, he decides he wouldn't have any part in that because "he was bad enough in all conscience".
- In the Nantucket Trilogy, the Republic of Nantucket takes a very dim view of slavery, as shown by the fact that almost all of its major warships are named after Civil War heroes or abolitionists. Given that one of its most prominent citizens is a former slave, this probably shouldn't be surprising. Naturally, the Big Bad, of the series, William Walker, heavily employs slavery in his empire.
- Provost's Dog, which takes place before the rest of the Tortall Universe, explores the brutality of slave work and just how cruel slavedrivers can be. It's also almost assured that any slaver will have kidnapped people to sell (particularly children), which is illegal. Mastiff in particular focuses on it and the host of secondary evils that happen in slavery's shadow.
- The Reynard Cycle: In addition to being the home of a fanatical doomsday cult that worships dragons, brainwashes soldiers into becoming near automatons, and being world renowned for the skill of its assassins and torturers, Glycon tolerates and practices slavery. After zealotry, this practice is usually the second thing that someone will decry about the place. Before the whole dragon thing even.
- Zig-Zagged in A Song of Ice and Fire:
- "Slavery is wrong" is just about the only thing that absolutely every faction in Westeros can agree on. This belief is shown to be almost universally hypocritical and/or functionally meaningless. "Smallfolk" (peasants) are considered to "belong" to whatever lord claims dominion over the land they call home, and that land can and does change hands due to conquest, marriage, or royal decree. No one seems to have a problem with this, not even most of the smallfolk. Technically, this is serfdom rather than slavery. Indeed, Tyrion Lannister who becomes a slave after his ship to Yunkai is captured notes that slaves in Essos are to some extent treated better than smallfolk in Westeros, and as far as he's concerned, being a peasant in Westeros amounts to slavery in all but name.
- The other (arguable) Westerosi exception is the Ironborn, who capture thralls (indentured servants) in battle. However, they are not, strictly speaking, property as they cannot be bought or sold, and their children can be freed if they pledge themselves to the Drowned God. Victarion Greyjoy showcases the Ironborn take on this trope in A Dance with Dragons when he captures a slaver ship: he slaughters the slavers and then "frees" the slaves- he gives the female pleasure slaves to the crew as concubines and makes thralls of the male slaves. He also slaughters the male pleasure slaves.
- Essos, on the other hand, has a thriving slave trade. Some are mistreated, others are much better off than their Westerosi smallfolk counterparts. The one exception is Braavos, a city founded by runaway slaves to escape the dragonlords of Valyria. It uses its wealth and influence to curtail the slave trade in other cities; even a corrupt magister like Illyrio Mopatis has to hide his involvement in it for this reason.
- Jorah Mormont is exiled from Westeros for attempting to sell a Night's Watch deserter as a slave. In a bit of an aversion, he expresses no remorse for his crime, but is treated relatively sympathetically by the narrative. In A Dance with Dragons, Jorah ends up being sold into slavery himself. If this causes him to reconsider the severity of his crime in any way, he's shown no sign so far.
- Last but not least, Daenarys most definitely believes this, and dedicates herself to wiping out the slave trade in Essos. She also explicitly considers arranged marriage, including her own Perfectly Arranged Marriage, a form of slavery. This is her main bone of contention with the Dothraki culture of her late husband, as the Dothraki are particularly notorious for conducting Rape, Pillage, and Burn against their enemies and enslaving the survivors, a practice she forbids as soon as she has the authority to do so. However, she does not hold Mormont's one-time crime of slave trading against him, even as she deals with other slavers more harshly than any other enemies. She also later relents on her total opposition and allows people to sell themselves into slavery in exchange for food, board, and protection, but not for people to be forcibly made slaves by a parent, husband, or by capture.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager novel The Black Shore, the crew of the Voyager discover the seemingly-idyllic world of Ryolanov. At first, they think it's a wonderful planet... but then they discover that its society depends heavily upon slavery. They are suitably horrified.
- The Stormlight Archive: Sadeas, one of the Alethi Highprinces, has an army of unarmed slaves that he uses as bait for enemy archers. It should be noted that slavery is legal in Alethkar, but there are strict rules on how slaves are treated, and they can eventually earn their freedom after years of labor. Sadeas, unfortunately, is powerful enough to largely ignore these rules, and worse his way works, leading the other highprinces to imitate him.
- Uncle Tom's Cabin. The central theme of the book as Tom is forced to endure various trials and tribulations after being forced to leave his family due to his initial master suffering financial hardship. This is especially portrayed by the slave owner Simon Legree who treats his slaves in the cruelest manner possible to break them in both body and spirit.
- In Brothers in Arms, when one character points out that a clone is property of its commissioner on some planets, Miles points out that, "Even on Barrayar [a planet just coming out of a period of isolation from technology and known for oligarchy, political instability and quarrelsome nature] no human being may own another."
- The Wheel of Time:
- This is the Seanchan's hat. Protagonists who will make all sorts of other compromises in the fight against the local God of Evil will still balk at allying with them because of their practice of enslaving magic-users in the most dehumanizing way possible. Not that they don't have more mundane slaves as well, but they consider keeping magic-users bound with magic leashes a moral imperative. This is all especially appalling to the cultures of most of the protagonists because they didn't even have a concept of slavery before the Seanchan showed up. Even intelligent characters have trouble wrapping their heads around the idea of owning a person.
- The Aiel have a custom in which those who are ritualistically captured in battle (a process much more difficult, and therefore considered more honorable, than simply killing them) voluntarily submit to a year and a day of servitude. They are not property and their service cannot be bought or sold (although it can apparently be "donated" in some way to Wise Ones, female clan elders), and non-Aiel cannot be captured in this way as they do not follow the Aiel's strict Code of Honor. When a renegade Aiel faction begins capturing non-Aiel and refusing to let them go after their year and a day is up—treating them as slaves, in other words— it is considered a major Moral Event Horizon by the rest of the Aiel.
- Myst: The Book of D'ni introduces us to a beautiful land called Terahnee, where even the ordinary citizens live in unbelievable opulence. However, this is quickly found to be because they enslave the natives of the Ages they Write links to, and these slaves are treated with unbelievable barbarity. To salve their consciences, the Terahnee train themselves not to see them and rarely mention them. Atrus et al. find this out almost too late—and it would have been too late had not the D'ni, Rivenese, and Averonese been carriers for a bacterium the Terahnee had no defense against.
- Derek Robinson deals with the American Deep South in his novel Kentucky Blues. this can be seen as Gone with the Wind given the same sort of merciless deconstruction he applies to his books of air combat. The parallel tales concern two white families, one of which can justly be viewed as ignorant white trash rednecks, and the slaves they own and are later forced to free. The story viewed from the eyes of the black slaves is not a nice one and contains lots of Nightmare Fuel.
- Discussed in Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. A meteorologist named Kemal argues that the rise of slavery in the Western civilization was actually beneficial, as it was a better alternative than human sacrifice. He explains that slavery is the reason why human sacrifice has largely disappeared from the Old World long ago, while it remained commonplace in the New World, which did not practice slavery. His arguments fail to impress Tagiri, who is descended from African slaves, and has used a Chronoscope to watch her ancestors struggle with this life.
- The Crimson Shadow: Luthien has heard about many cruelties allowed by Greensparrow. He finds slavery especially wrong though, and can hardly fathom the idea.
- In 1632 which deals with a West Virginia town being transported from the year 2000 to the year 1631 in Thuringia no protagonist (and certainly no "up-timer") has any favorable opinion of slavery. The book 1636 the Kremlin Games in the series is explicitly about ending the Russian version of slavery (serfdom) which in Real Life was just about to get another breath of fresh air. Even when the heroes discuss a possible alliance with the Dutch (both sharing values on free trade, Republicanism and religious toleration) it is made quite explicit that they won't stand for the Dutch involvement in the slave trade. And while even the Big Bad, Cardinal Richelieu is presented as an honestly decent guy who just happens to be on the other side, no supporter of slavery gets that much sympathy from any of the authors - remarkable given their political ideologies ranking from Marxism to US-style conservatism and laissez faire economics and notable disagreements about politics being visible Depending on the Writer otherwise.
- In The Alexandrian Inheritance a 21st century luxury cruise ship is transported to 4th century BC, shortly after the death of Alexander the Great. They are disgusted by the fact that all the Mediterranean Sea nations practice slavery but have to concede that they lack the manpower or resources to force them to stop the practice. However, they make it clear that slavery will not be allowed on the ship or in any territory controlled by them. Any slave that sets foot on the ship will be immediately considered a free person and any slave owner who protests this will be kicked off the ship or worse.
- Udinaas in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series discusses his opinions about slavery at length. As a baseline, he abhors slavery in all its guises, but also argues that being a slave was the best thing to have happened to him. He starts out as reasonably content with his lot, but then, his 'freedom' prior to being enslaved consisted of indentured servitude on a galley to repay a family debt, while being a slave of the Tiste Edur meant enough food and shelter. Nonetheless, he goes as far as to argue that he hates all forms of inequality and slavery so much that by virtue of his very nature he would've felt compelled to rebel if he had not been kept busy scraping fish all day and that this would have affected way more people negatively than just him. When he finally ends up free and without debt, he reacts very testily to anything reminding him of his former situation and goes as far as comparing Seren Pedac's spying on his dreams to rape, assuming she was only willing to disregard his privacy because he used to be a slave and remains so in her subconsciousness.
- In The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, Eliza and Jack have a long partnership cheerfully engaging in many kinds of crime and roguery, but when she finds him about to set sail to transport a cargo of slaves, she harpoons him.
- Darkly subverted in Victoria. The hardline traditionalists of the Northern Confederation consider it an irredeemable act of villainy when Arab slavers prey on their own population... But at the same time, they are fine with enslaving Amazons from Azania who will not submit to their captors' social norms by becoming good Christian wives. Sometimes they are even sold to the very same Islamic slave traders.
- In The Red Vixen Adventures the heroes' home nation uses Indentured Servitude for some criminals and debtors. However when it's revealed that Alinadar was kept as a slave by Melanie in her guise as the Red Vixen, the act is immediately condemned and Mel spends the next several stories trying to live it down.
- In Elantris Arelone peasants are basically slaves, with no right to leave their master's land. At one point princess Sarene is horrified when she watches one of the cases presented to the king - namely, two aristocrats argue over the ownership of a runaway slave and a child he has fathered.
- Game of Thrones:
- This is the biggest difference between Essos and Westeros cultures in a nutshell. In Essos, slavery is widespread and virtually every major culture uses it. In Westeros, slavery is considered one of the most evil practices of all, and being involved in it ranks alongside kin-slaying and king-slaying as an unforgivable sin. Case in point, when it came out that Jorah Mormont had punished some poachers by selling them into slavery, it earned him an instant death sentence and he was forced to flee to Essos to avoid the hangman's noose.
- Daenerys definitely believes this and has dedicated herself to wiping out the slave trade in Slaver's Bay. She believes it so fervently that her Pay Evil unto Evil can stray toward He Who Fights Monsters. Jorah actually brings up his own involvement in the slave trade in an attempt to convince Daenerys not to massacre the Wise Masters of Yunkai in "Mockingbird".
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- In "The Measure of a Man", there is a hearing to determine whether the android Data should legally be considered a person or the property of Starfleet. The admiral adjudicating the hearing is on the fence, until Picard suggests that declaring him property would be tantamount to slavery. The mere suggestion of this is enough to have her err on the side of caution and judge that even if she is unprepared to declare definitively that he is a person, she is unwilling to declare him property either.
- In "The Most Toys", Data is captured by a Collector of the Strange and treated as just another piece of property. This is the only villain whom the Technical Pacifist Data ever attempts to kill in cold blood, as opposed to self-defense.
- The Borg, for a certain definition of slavery, anyway.
- Discussed in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: during an argument, Quark explained to Commander Sisko that the Federation could not claim to have any moral high ground over the Ferengi because of the fact that some Federation races, like humans, used to practice slavery.
- In Breaking Bad, a show full of all kinds of terrible people, the Neo-Nazi gang led by "Uncle" Jack is established as a Darker Shade of Black when they capture Jesse and treat him as a slave, forcing him to cook meth in terrible conditions.
- In "Serenity", during The Reveal of River, Mal's first thought as to why Simon has a naked girl in a cryo chamber is that Simon is engaged in human trafficking, and calls him out for it.
- In The Teaser of "Shindig", Mal finds out that the guy he and Jayne are playing pool with just made a boatload of money selling slaves to a terraforming operation. He picks the guys pocket, stealing his ill-gotten gains, then beats the crap out of him in the ensuing Bar Brawl.
- In Lost Girl, Bo is disgusted to learn that Lauren is not an employee of the Light Fae but a slave. From that point on, she is determined to set Lauren free and draws a weapon when the new Ash refers to Lauren as his property.
- The Magicians: The only thing that can bring humans and fairies to the same side, the fact that the Mcallister family has been enslaving fairies for generations. Of course, now they're also cutting them up and using them for their natural mana, so there's that as well.
- In House of Cards (US), Frank Underwood dislikes neo-Confederates and Lost Causers, and considers fighting for slavery "asinine."
- On The Blacklist Raymond Reddington detests human traffickers and takes great pleasure in helping the FBI take down a major slavery organization and personally kills the organization's leader. Reddington's strong feelings on the matter came about because Dembe, his right hand man and best friend was kidnapped and sold into slavery as a child.
- When it comes out that Reddington once run an human smuggling operation, he is adamant that he merely smuggled refugees over the border and afterwards they were free to go. When he finds out that a group of criminals now use his old smuggling network to enslave people, it triggers his Berserk Button and he promptly destroys the group.
- The reason why Roots was so memorable is because it was the first time that mainstream America was made aware of the horrors that enslaved Africans and their children had to endure in a time when they were considered sentient farm equipment at the least, or talented pets at the most.
- Although the remake incorporates some historical revisions, it still does a good job of depicting just how horrible the institution of slavery was on those held in bondage, and how those in power did everything they could to keep that system in place, and brutally enforced it.
- Slavery is the hat of neogi, a race of evil bug-like creatures in Dungeons & Dragons (who first appeared in the Spelljammer setting), and are such scum that even the mercane (a race of merchants who will normally deal with anyone) have no dealings with them. Only illithids (who most other races fear and abhor) are their allies. Most of the time.
- The Elder Scrolls
- In the series' backstory, the humans of Cyrodiil were enslaved by the Ayleids, who were needlessly vile and cruel to them. After escaping slavery herself, St. Alessia prayed to the Aedra for aid in an uprising against the (primarily) Daedra-worshiping Ayleids in order to free her people. The Aedra offered a Bargain with Heaven, and sent aid (both subtle and direct) to Alessia's war efforts. It is strongly implied that the bans on slavery by the various Cyrodiilic Empires in the thousands of years since is directly tied to their own origins as slaves to the Ayleids.
- Played with in Morrowind, where slavery is part of everyday life. There is an underground organization, the Twin Lamps, that believes in this trope, though. The trick is, the Dunmer were granted a legal exception to the Empire's slavery ban as one of the terms of becoming a Voluntary Vassal, but Imperial influence is gradually reducing the popularity of slavery. Background conversations in Oblivion indicate that King Helseth of Morrowind has ended the practice, and by the time of Skyrim, the Argonians (a long-time Slave Race to the Dunmer) wound up biting back by forming a coherent army and invading southern Morrowind.
- In Mass Effect, slavery is one of the few practices that the Citadel Council, no stranger to other shady dealings, treats as absolutely unacceptable in any race which seeks membership or formal diplomatic relations with the rest of the galactic community. It is one of the main reasons the batarians, who make a regular practice of it, are so despised among the rest of the galaxy. (It's indicated that the wider galaxy seems to think humanity's hatred of slavery in particular is a response to batarians enslaving humans, rather than to humans' past slavery of each other.) Ilium, however, subverts it by having a system of "indentured servitude", which is basically a consensual form of slavery, complete with the ability to buy and sell a person's contract (read: the person), albeit with a set expiration date for the contract, carefully defined living and working conditions and a long list of obligations for both parties, all of which are agreed in advance (theoretically free of duress,) by the indentured servant, who also has the means to take legal action against any contract holder who breaks them. A Paragon Shepard is none too happy with this system, either (though that can also be played as coming from a certain history with slavers), but the best ending for the relevant sidequest is actually to help the broker (who seems reasonable and genuinely caring,) to get a decent contract for the indentured servant in question — in this case, to a company with the promise that they'll pay off the contract and hire her as a regular employee: the worker gets a good-paying job that puts her tech skills to good use, the company gets a skilled worker and good PR for freeing slaves, the broker gets paid for the contract, and Shepard gets more Paragon points. Everybody wins.
- In Fallout 2, being involved in slave-catching raids not only lowers your karma, but gives you a special perk of infamy, with which many NPCs will refuse to deal with you. The other crimes that give you this measure of infamy are child killing and destroying entire settlements.
- Fallout 3: The slavers of Paradise Falls are so evil that waltzing into their home and slaughtering the lot of them counts towards good karma. In fact, wastelanders consider slavery such an evil act that even selling Raiders into slavery gives you negative karma—even though killing them gives you positive.
- Fallout: New Vegas presents Caesar's Legion. Led by a genius megalomaniac manchild that fancies himself "Caesar", they practice particularly brutal slavery. Women get it particularly harsh, being used as pieces of meat and broodmares until their uteruses figuratively fall out from overuse.
- Fallout 4's conflict regarding the nature of Synths has shades of this blended into What Measure Is a Non-Human?. The Institute treats Synths as a solely machine labor, while there is quite a bit to suggest they are fully sentient beings, and has a habit of reformatting disobedient Synths. An organization called The Railroad fights for Synth Liberation. Additionally, the follower Cait was sold into slavery by her parents, and has a very dim worldview as a result. Additionally, Bullet, a member of the Gunners, attempts to get the player to sell a ghoul child to him for use as forced labor in radioactive areas, and later attempts to capture the boy's entire family.
- Zig-zagged in Dwarf Fortress: Slavery is one of the ethics that different civilizations can have different opinions on. On the one hand, the human civilizations see it as acceptable, unlike most other civilizations (the dwarves included). On the other hand, there isn't any coding in place for Indentured Servitude or other such practices. The only civilization to actually act on these ethics are the goblins, who send out babysnatchers to steal children from other civilizations. And then raise them as their own, with only rudimentary (as of DF2014) coding in place to make them act differently from goblin children.
- Averted in the Civilization series, where the instalments that even have slavery treat it as simply another mechanic effect. Notably, in Civilization IV, the 'Emancipation' state on labour provides an unhappiness malus to all non-Emancipated civilizations, but does so equally to slave states as it does to feudal serfdom systems, caste systems, and primitive tribalism. You can also switch back from emancipation to slavery with little effort, and doing so may be preferable if you need to rush something important.
- Carver's settlement in the third episode of season 2 of Telltale's The Walking Dead seems to get this treatment. The Big Bad of the first season was very sympathetic and tragic in comparison to Carver who treats most of the survivors under his command as tools to be used and disposed of. Naturally, the episode ends with his brutal, bloody death at the hands of Kenny. Episode 5 of the same season also reveals that the entire settlement was completely wiped out and abandoned from the incoming herd of zombies in the Jane ending.
- The Tevinter Imperium in Dragon Age practices slavery. This is just one of the reasons the other human nations are wary of the Imperium, treating it as a sort of bogeyman. In Dragon Age: Origins, pointing out in the Landsmeet that Teryn Loghain allowed a Tevinter slaver to kidnap Denerim's Elven population in exchange for coin helps turn the nobility against him. One of the seven Old Gods once worshipped by Tevinter was Andoral, who was specifically considered the God of Slaves, and was the last one to be killed before the game's events.
- The elves are a slave race in the franchise. And even in Kingdoms where slavery is "Illegal", Elves are still considered little more than property. They live in poverty, segregated neighborhoods, and are regular victims of, theft, rape and murder from their human lords. Only the Dalish Elves truly know freedom, but their lives aren't much better as they have no real home, and have to forage in order to survive.
- Hawke has the opportunity to take on a slave of his/her own in Dragon Age II, an action which will infuriate party member Fenris, himself a former Tevinter slave. Hawke can quell his anger, however, by explaining that s/he plans to bring the slave on as a servant and pay her a real wage.
- Dorian, a noble-born Tevinter mage, does not like slavery personally, but he does not have a deep moral objection to it that other party members do, and makes the argument at one point that being enslaved is preferable to abject poverty. At one point he can also make snide comments to a former slave who joined the Qunari, claiming that now they've given up "free will and independent thought." Party member banter reveals that he never really questioned slavery in his homeland until he left it, but that spending time with the party has caused him to question his previous views.
- In Final Fantasy XIV, the Pirate nation of Limsa Lominsa has a simple, three step code of honor; no stealing from other Lominsans, no stealing from other Pirates, and no treating people as goods. The Rogue's guild, the vigilante enforcers of the code are more than willing to adhere to the first two by simply stealing the loot back and stringing the thieves up for the authorities, but being involved in the slave trade marks the entire crew to be slain with extreme prejudice.
- In Bioshock Infinite, one thing that cements Columbia as a dystopia is the fact that anyone who is Irish or non-white must serve their "social betters" without question, live in squalid tenements, and willingly put up with any type of punishment that is doled out to them.
- In one Voxophone that Booker finds, Fink recalls a conversation where he tells Comstock, that the people who want to live in Columbia did not want to do any physical work themselves. The solution is to talk a prison overseer in Georgia that would allow him to "lease as many negro convicts" as he wanted. If anyone in Columbia asks why people are forced to work like this, to just go ahead and say that the convicts are trying to achieve penance for wanting to rise above their social standing.
- Slavery is "banned, reviled, and in practice non-existent" in all civilized countries of Tales from My D&D Campaign, but the Kua-Toa are enthusiastic slavers and rely heavily on slave armies and slave labor to sustain their Enemy Civil War. The fact that the Illud faction of the Kua are still slavers is considered one of the strongest proofs that they are Not So Different from their Deluvian cousins. Unfortunately, since the Illud/Deluvian conflict is the only thing keeping humanity alive, there's not much that can be done about it.
- The Equestrians from Void of the Stars having this as central to their beliefs.
- Averted for laughs in Freeman's Mind. Gordon thinks that slavery is actually a good idea, it's just that it got too intertwined with racism. He proposes that the lottery should be used to pick out who gets to be a slave. Of course, since it is Gordon who's making these claims, he's not really a good voice of reason.
- The Fenspace Convention extends this to AIs, which are really easy to create by accident and legally recognised as people, which is not true on Earth. This was a major plot point in a recent story crossing over with Five Nights at Freddy's.
- Star Trek Continues: This (and thus the resulting cultural clash between the Federation and the Orions) is the underlying social issue of the week on the episode "Lolani".
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero; COBRA engages in slavery both for labor and entertainment, doing it both to kidnapped civilians and captures heroes - at least in the Five-Episode Pilot - and treat them like garbage. This comes back to bite them no less than four times in said pilot, once when Cobra Commander foolishly lets a gutsy slave girl too near the MASS Device - she douses it with water causing it to short circuit and break, foiling their attack on New York City - by torturing a muscular male slave named Ragnar - he's really angry when he gets free, as the Mooks discover to their chagrin - and most importantly, when Duke becomes a victim and escapes. The other Joes are able to use sensory depravation equipment to help him recover minute memories of the place he was held and find it, leading to the fourth, a full scale slave revolt that ends with the fortress destroyed and the Device impounded.