Follow TV Tropes


Superhuman Trafficking

Go To

Professor X: For someone who hates mutants, you certainly keep some strange company.
Stryker: They serve their purpose, as long as they can be controlled.

In a setting where there are Mage Species, aliens, fairies, or superpowers that show up with sufficient regularity, these Differently Powered Individuals will have the hardship of being hunted by those who want to exploit them for money, power and... other uses. The government, corporations, Mad Scientists and criminal organizations may seek to enslave and co-opt them to evil ends, such as spying, Super Soldiering, For Science!, and many other purposes.

In extreme cases they may become a Slave Race or Endangered Species thanks to this Fantastic Racism. The protagonists are likely a part of this oppressed group, and have to spend the story on the run from their oppressors, trying to escape their captors control, and/or thwarting their plans and helping their fellows escape. As a result of this trope, members of this oppressed group are likely to choose Transhuman Treachery and the enslavement (or eradication) of mankind, which can be poetically tragic if the fear of this is what lead to the enslavement in the first place. Expect at least one person to react in horror to this situation, and possibly stating that Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil.

See also Mutant Draft Board and Super Registration Act. For examples of what things can be like if Supers volunteer their abilities, check out These Look Like Jobs for the Superman.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • +Anima is about young people who develop animal-like abilities and powers, with the ability to grow wings, claws, tails, and more. Discrimination against the +Anima occurs in many places, but in Sailand, enslaving them is legal and there is an active business. It's implied that they're usually sold to people who can make the most use of their abilities, (such as a fisherman who wants to use a swimming +Anima for his work) though attractive +Anima may be sold to rich people and artists for the purpose of standing around and looking pretty.
  • The Ancient Magus' Bride starts with Elias buying Chise from an auction for that deals in magical creatures. It's later revealed that she sold herself due to her Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Attack on Titan: After the Titan Wars, the Eldians remaining outside the Walls were rounded up by the nation of Marley and imprisoned in ghettos. While they claim this was an act of mercy, in reality Marley is merely exploiting them for their ability to transform into Titans. Extremely oppressive laws provide an excuse to arrest Eldians for whatever reason, subjecting them to experimentation or transformation into a mindless Titan. These Titans provide the backbone of the Marleyan military, unleashed on the battlefield to slaughter their enemies. With the launching of the Warrior program, Eldian families are encouraged to sell their own children to the military in exchange for better treatment. These children become fanatical tyke-bombs that believe their service to Marley will someday earn their kinsmen their freedom. The very best are given the "honor" of hosting one of the Nine Titans, giving them incredible powers in exchange for having their lifespan cut short to 13 more years and spending it all as weapons for the military.
  • Blue Ramun: Downplayed, but the Garicalege makes their money by harvesting a Fantastic Medicinal Bodily Product that only the Blue Ramun tribe members can produce — their magically curative blood (and in some cases, organs). The Garicalege kidnap adult Blue Doctors to steal their blood and abduct illegal half-Blue blooded children to keep them in captivity and brainwashed into giving blood on command until the children become unprofitable to keep alive and are killed to harvest their organs.
  • BNA: Brand New Animal: There's a black market in beastman children. Michiru is captured by traffickers in the second episode but manages to use her Rubber Man powers to escape before they're loaded onto the ship.
  • Darker than Black Contractors were treated like dangerous-but-useful monsters and either used as expendable killers or experimented upon at will — at least, until the U.N. intervened... to demand that countries share this research and form PANDORA. Dolls who got a shorter straw were treated like corpses with still living brains — if normal humans don't take cyborgization well, try to cut off a Doll's legs and "program" him to test the replacement. Just like that, it's equipment. Or sometimes a pretty one gets "programmed" and sold as a Sexbot — illegal, but behind the masquerade there's very little difference.
  • In Endride, special innate weapons called Warp Relics are common, but far from universal, which leads to a slave trade of child assassins groomed for their magical fighting capabilities.
  • Gangsta. features a split-off of humanity called Twilights, all of whom have Super-Strength, Super-Speed, etc. but constantly face Fantastic Racism and were legal to enslave until just a few years before the main story starts. The only reason normals got away with this sort of treatment is because Twilights are a very small minority of the population and all of them are hopelessly addicted to the pricey drug Célèbre, which many slave masters used to control them. For example, one of the main reasons Nicolas never ran away from his highly abusive owners as a child was because they provided him with just enough Célèbre to keep him barely lucid.
  • Monster Musume: This may or may not happen frequently with the more monstrous monster girls. A shown example would be Rachnera Arachnera, whose host family was expecting a girl of the softer variety. One of the more recent chapters shows several monster children being rescued from a group of kidnappers.
  • One Piece:
  • Tokyo ESP: The reason the protagonists from Part 1 are missing is because they've gone undercover to break up an ESPer trafficking ring.
  • Witch Hunter Robin had the inquisition mostly out to kill witches, but the Japanese branch isn't averse to recruiting witches... in order to use them to hunt down their own kind. The ones they capture are then enslaved (or processed, it's not made clear) to produce "orbo", an Anti-Magic material.
  • World Trigger: The Neighbors' motive for coming to earth is essentially this. Drones are sent to earth to harvest humans for their Trion. Humans with low Trion merely have their Trion Glands removed (which is, naturally, fatal). Humans with sufficiently high Trion, however, are taken alive and used as Slaves Soldiers back in The Neighborhood.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Green Lantern:
      • The Cyborg-Superman and Mongul have both tried to do this to the members of the Green Lantern Corps.
      • In Blackest Night, this is the reason why the Justice League has a crypt for supervillains: there's a burgeoning market on metahuman organs. Had the League not interred their foes, they would most likely have been chopped up like cheap cars.
    • In Justice League Adventures #6 (a spin-off of the animated show), Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are captured and auctioned off to the highest bidder. Lots of villains from throughout the DCAU (including some who never appeared in any of the shows) are invited to the auction. It turns out to be a trap by the Justice League to lure them out of hiding and arrest as many villains as possible.
    • Justice League of America:
    • Justice Society of America: The villain Roulette engages in this so that she can profit from betting on superhuman blood sports.
    • Starman (DC Comics): The 1970s alien version spent years as a drugged slave being bought and sold by various "collectors".
    • In the Supergirl story arc "The Super-Steed of Steel", a band of horse robbers spot Comet transformed into centaur and decide to catch it and make a profit from exhibiting him. Later, Gorbin, the co-owner of a ruinous sea circus, decides to go to Atlantis waters and hunt one pair of merpeople for his show. He catches Lori and Jerro, which turns out to be a bad move because they are close to the Super Family and have telepathy.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • In one arc of Ms. Marvel (volume 2), the Puppet Master attempted to sell a number of superheroines under his mind-control as Sex Slaves to various nasty sorts.
    • The X-Men are basically the Trope Codifiers. Among the groups out to enslave them are:
      • The Weapon X project, a secret black-books government program intended to transform mutants into brainwashed expendable Super Soldiers and powered covert agents.
      • The U-Men are a band of humans whose desire for super-powers leads to their abducting and vivisecting mutants in order to experiment in gaining super-powers through blood transfusions and limb/organ/tissue grafts.
      • The island nation of Genosha built its prosperity on mutant slavery, even having special teams sent out to kidnap mutants from other countries to enslave them, until Magneto stepped in and took over, unleashing the vengeful slave population to massacre the humans in a case of Pay Evil unto Evil.
      • The villain Mojo's entire existence is practically to televise Differently Powered Individuals doing awesome things for the benefits of higher ratings. Their consent, is of course, purely optional.
      • We once did see the Hellfire Club having an actual superhuman auction. This isn't as suicidally dumb as it sounds, as the Marvel Universe has always had a large population of lower-level superhumans, especially mutants — not always visible, but there. The club wasn't selling anyone who could kill you with their brain. Not to mention, the Hellfire Club is run by an Inner Circle of powerful superhumans in their own right. Natch, the X-Men had to break it up.
      • Gambit was stolen from a hospital shortly after birth and given to a slave-trafficking sorcerer as a gift because of his demonic-looking eyes.
  • In Robyn Hood: I Love NY, Natalya runs a slavery ring that captures Easter European Highborns and smuggles them into the US, where they are sold as sex slaves.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • During WWII, Hydra and the Nazis are implied to have done this, to an extent, experimenting on a young Magneto.
    • The Weapons Plus program, particularly Weapon X, specialized in this, being more focused on the enslaving side of Super-Soldier creation. Or at least, they did until Weapon X a.k.a. Wolverine escaped, and took refuge with Charles Xavier. Who they tried to go after. Bad idea.
    • The Red Room were the Soviet equivalent. During the Cold War, they kidnapped an eight year old Alison Carter (valuable, given that she was the secret daughter of Peggy and Steve and a fully fledged Super-Soldier), and later do this in the Forever Red arc of the sequel, with a number of high-profile prisoners/slaves. Their prisoners included Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris, and their ultimate weapon: the Red Son (a reprogrammed version of Harry's Blank Slate body). That ended up enraging Lorna's father, none other than Magneto. Twice over, given that since Wanda is Harry's godmother and Parental Substitute, he's suggested that he sees Harry as an adjunct grandson. That's not bad idea, or even a terrible one - that is suicide.
  • In Crimson and Emerald, Neito Monoma notes that his parents had to hide the true nature of his quirk because Europe has a problem with quirk trafficking rings that kidnap kids with powerful Quirks and raise them to be villains. He'd had several attempted kidnappings as a child just because he was the son of the Japanese Ambassador to France and a member of the European Parliament, even with his true quirk withheld.
  • In First Try Series, Sasuke has to hide that he's Uchiha to not risk getting kidnapped and sold into slavery for his bloodline.
  • In The Great Red Panda Rescue, Mei is kidnapped and sold to the highest bidder for her ability to turn into a giant red panda.
  • I Am What I Am: After all Slayers are activated, some mages begin engaging in Slayer trafficking. A notable case is Joiah Angler, who traffics Slayers for either manual labor, use of their organs for spells or simply the thrill of owning them.
  • In I Fall(out) to Pieces, the director of Vault UK-13 mistakenly discovered the existence of magic through blood tests, but since he doesn't actually know about the magical world, he assumed that the various witches and wizards were simple mutants. His plan for Vault UK-13 was to gather as many as these "mutants" into the Vault as possible to have them reproduce and raise the children to be loyal to the crown.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot in My Hero Academia:
    • Someone You Trust has Present Mic infiltrating one of these rings but it’s from the perspective of a captured Aizawa who doesn’t understand why Hizashi is torturing him. Hizashi had to maintain his cover or risk blowing the chance to save U.A. students from being sold.
    • The Waters of Lethe has Aizawa caught trying to infiltrate such a ring. He’s touted as a high profile, valuable “item” because of Erasure and by the time he and the other captives are freed, he’s suffering from Identity Amnesia due to a Trigger-boosted quirk.
    • Submerged Aizawa gets sucked into infiltrating a group of pro hero traffickers after being labeled a traitor. The authorities wouldn’t even let him tell Hizashi, and Hizashi has no idea why it happened til he gets caught by the ring.
  • In A Ninja's Guide to Gotham, it's a Discussed Trope and a lurking background fear. In order:
    • This is brought up as a reason why Jason is determined to keep Hayate away from Gotham's social services. Metahumans are always at a greater risk of being taken advantage of, especially when there's so much mob money entangled with most of the power structures within the city.
    • Hayate, meanwhile, is familiar with what the shinobi countries refer to as "bloodline theft," or the targeted kidnapping and exploitation of individuals with unusual kekkei genkai. Before Hayate was born, Kushina was targeted by Kumogakure for this reason, and upon Minato's ascension to the Hokage's seat, he made the practice a capital crime.
    • As Tim and Steph point out, technically Kei and Hayate are both victims of this because they aren't supposed to be in Gotham at all. Given the evidence at hand, Kei blames the League of Assassins and Ra's al Ghul in particular for their situation.
  • In Wish Carefully, magically-strong girls were kidnapped by Death Eaters to be concubines for stave off their slow extinction.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Deadpool (2016): Ajax runs a lab that activates latent superpowers in people, under the pretense of making superheroes out of them, then sells them off as super-slaves to various criminal organizations.
  • Escape to Witch Mountain: In the original movie, Tony and Tia are chased by a Corrupt Corporate Executive who wants to use their powers for his personal gain and a mob of people on a literal Witch Hunt. Not that they know what they'll do with them once they catch them. In the sequel, Return from Witch Mountain, the villain is a Mad Scientist who kidnaps Tony and fixes him with a Mind-Control Device in order to harness his powers.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In The Incredible Hulk (2008), General Thunderbolt Ross says, in no uncertain terms, that the titular character "is property of the US Government". Specifically, since Banner tested an attempt to reverse-engineer a super-soldier serum on himself, the power of the resultant Hulk-out is seen by Ross as useful to the government as study. He's prepared to capture Banner and use him as a guinea pig/monster on a leash for the rest of his life.
    • Iron Man 3 features a think tank that's designing new virological enhancements to create the perfect super-soldier-for-sale, while staging fake terror attacks to increase demand. It's disturbingly unclear how much free will the test subjects retain.
    • Captain America: Civil War: This is also what Captain America fears will happen if they sign the Sokovia Accords. Given Ross's all-but-apparent glee at having some heroes locked up and others under his thumb, he has no qualms about this.
      Captain America: What if they send us somewhere we don't think we need to go? What if there's somewhere we need to go, and they don't let us?
  • In Mermaid Down, two fishermen capture a mermaid and cut her tail off, planning to sell her upper body and her tail separately for millions of dollars each. Before they can carry out their plan, the mermaid kills one of them and Dr. Beyer kills the other so he can have the mermaid for himself.
  • Push: All the world's superpowers hunt down... people with actual superpowers, killing, brainwashing, and experimenting on them.
  • In She Creature, Angus steals a captive mermaid, despite warnings that the mermaid is a killer, so he can get rich displaying her at carnivals.

  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: Akella can tell quickly on going into their quarters that the Order of Taghren children were sired by her men. With them being Adessian like her (black people, going by their descriptions) and they have white mothers, this results in the girls having darker skin plus kinky hair, as Akella notes, closer to their fathers. Additionally, some also have particular facial features in common too with her men.
  • In Crest of the Stars, the Abh were originally created to be slaves. Now that they have an empire of their own, they're hated.
  • In Empire Star, the Empire uses Lll as slaves, because it cannot afford not to. The Lll have some sort of (not-well-specified) building power that makes them the only reasonable option for some sorts of projects. However, the Empire is not happy with this fact, and uses its own powers to make anyone who is in the presence of the Lll feel great, overwhelming, physically painful sorrow. And anyone who hires Lll laborers must feel this sorrow the whole time.
  • Garbage Brave starts with this. Tsukuru's entire Home-Ec class, including himself, were summoned to an alien world and sold to various nations, based on their transmigration granted super-powers. Tsukru was dumped in a dungeon and Left for Dead because nobody stopped to consider how dangerous his subskills [Igniton] and [Dismantle] are.
  • Honor Harrington: Manpower Incorporated of Mesa. Whatever sort of genetically engineered slave you need, from pleasure units engineered with stunning good looks and thoroughly trained to please any man or woman's desires, through to the heavy labor lines engineered for size and strength and nothing else, Manpower Incorporated has you covered.
  • In Hurog, there is Oreg, who was turned into some highly supernatural Genius Loci ghost-thingy in order to create a castle that would take care of itself. He is also a shapeshifting dragon, so he was supernatural to being with. There is also the skeleton of a dragon in chains somewhere in the caves under the castle. Dragons are sapient beings in this world, so this not better than having a human skeleton in the basement — rather worse, actually.
  • InCryptid: The novella The Measure of a Monster focuses on Alex, Shelby, and Sarah saving some gorgon children from Evil Poacher kidnappers. They're an entirely different species rather than superpowered humans, but it still counts.
  • The Infected: The titular Infected who are dangerous enough are effectively drafted into the IPB on pain of death. Also, any Infected with healing powers vanishes almost immediately, kidnapped by cartels or the incredibly wealthy.
  • Journey to Chaos: Tariatla has a brisk trade in the enslavement of elves, who, in this verse, are basically humans infused with chaotic energy. They're immortal and possess a Healing Factor and so they are used for perpetual labor and dangerous operations, as well as "eternal virgins". A large part of Mana Mutation Menace is breaking this trade worldwide.
  • Market of Monsters follows refugees fleeing the trade in Unnaturals (humans or creatures with supernatural abilities).
  • In The Mermaid's Sister, Maren and O'Neill are transporting Bathtub Mermaid Maren to the ocean when they're captured by Dr. Phipps, who keeps Maren in a jar and puts her on display in his Gallery of Wonders to be gawked at.
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: In Library of Souls, peculiars enslave and pimp other peculiars in Devil's Acre.
  • Of Fire and Stars: In the sequel it turns out that Zumordan children are being kidnapped and then enslaved for use of their magic by Sonnenbornes, as their people greatly lack mages. They convince themselves having this can make their desert country bloom once again.
  • Rebuild World: There are Old World Domain Connectors, those with a Transhuman Organic Technology Brain/Computer Interface as well as other side effects and abilities. Akira and others live in fear of being forcibly seized by any number of MegaCorp in One Nation Under Copyright in what would at worst consist of being made a Brain in a Jar for experiments. Eventually Shirou is introduced, who has been living in a Gilded Cage as a Playful Hacker agent for Sakashita. Akira is assigned to escort his convoy, which gets attacked by other companies with plans to kidnap Shirou. Shirou hatches an elaborate escape plan afterwards, with his bodyguard Halmers as well as Yanigisawa competing to reinstate or exploit him.
  • Side Jobs: In the short story "Aftermath", Murphy has to disguise herself as a kidnapper selling a couple of werewolves in order to track down and destroy a Fomor group operating in Chicago. Formors are a group of aquatic supernaturals snatching up humans possessing varying degrees of magical talent. It's mentioned that werewolf blood has several useful properties, and presumably other kinds of magic-users would have unique traits.
  • Super Sales on Super Heroes: When a supervillain conquers the city, she has most superheroes sold into slavery with magically binding contracts. The plot kicks off when the protagonist accidentally buys one online and ends up running a slave empire. Subverted in the sequels, where he turns them into indentured servants with limited contracts instead, since he realizes that basing his entire financial empire on a single law that could change at any moment is ridiculous. Besides, he expands from the city to the outside country, where slavery is illegal.
  • The Wheel of Time: The Damane are magic-users brainwashed and enslaved by the Seanchan and treated as a cross between property and dangerous animals.
  • Xanadu (Storyverse): In the wake of the Change, an underground market springs up for possession and exploitation of the newly-formed supernatural beings. In "Mermaids of Xanadu", the main characters become targets of one specifically intending to profit from the capture and sale of mermaids and a Jedi. The story discusses some of the issues with doing this, chiefly the ones revolving around trying to keep powerful supernatural beings prisoner. The traffickers rely on threatening to De-power their victims to keep them in line, but doing so ruins their value — but, on the other hand, letting them keep their powers and abilities makes them very difficult to contain.
  • Xandri Corelel: In Testing Pandora, the villains are trying to steal Psittacan eggs for a rich human's petting zoo.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5, human telepaths are required to join the Psi Corps, or take psi-dampening drugs that include suicidal depression as side effects.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This is the attitude of much of the Watchers' Council to Slayers, as utterly disposable tools who can always be replace by the next one if they fail or get rebellious. The final season reveals that this was not a case of Slowly Slipping Into Evil under the stress of protecting the world, but that the ancient magicians who created the First Slayer and set up the organization planned it that way from the start.
    • Angel: In one episode, Lorne is being forced to use his ability to read people's destinies so that they can be sold on the black market.
  • Doctor Who
  • In Firefly, a government facility known as "The Academy" exists to experiment on young people who show signs of psychic abilities and turn them into Super Soldiers. Among other things, the process vastly amplifies their Psychic Powers, but it frequently drives the subjects insane. The Academy recruits their 'students' by posing as a prestigious school; while there's no evidence of them using force to obtain new subjects, it's very difficult to get out again once you've signed on. Any escapees are hunted by "Hands of Blue" agents.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • This appears to be Amunet Black's business, and the prison warden is in on it, offering to sell her the metas in a secret wing.
    • A later season has the criminal organization called Black Hole, which kidnaps and conscripts metas with light-based powers as enforcers and assassins.
  • Heroes has a mix of both options by the same organization, which simultaneously hunts, exterminates, recruits and blackmails people with abilities.
  • The Immortal (1969): Ben Richards is a race car driver whose blood contains every immunity and antibody possible, making him effectively immortal. A very rich and old man discovers this by receiving a transfusion from Richards and instantly feeling much younger and healthier. This prompts him to want to capture and imprison and effectively enslave Richards to ensure a constant supply of this (literally) life-giving substance. They even covered the point about paying Richards to frequently donate some blood, and the old man refusing by postulating that serious injury could kill Richards, thereby cutting off the supply of blood.
  • Legend of the Seeker: Renn, a young boy, can read minds. He was sold by his own (apparent) father to a brutal queen, who used his ability to ferret out people who were plotting against her, then had them all beheaded, which haunts him. Then he was sold to the D'Harans for his ability. After being rescued though things look up as Renn is sent to a refuge for children with magical gifts.
  • Misfits: In an Alternate History episode, a Holocaust survivor travels back in time to kill Hitler, but inadvertently causes the Nazis to have a technological advantage and take over Europe. In the alternate present, the Nazis are rounding up superpowered individuals and using Seth, who can transfer powers, to give them to high ranking Nazi officials. The superpowered individuals are then killed. Seth pays thugs to find someone who can resurrect his dead girlfriend, although he does let the man go after he brings her back.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: The probable Ur-Example appears when Heracles/Hercules is repeatedly forced into servitude. For example, he performed his famous Twelve Labors as penance for killing his family after Hera briefly drove him insane. Later, as penance for killing another guy in another fit of divinely induced madness, he had to serve Queen Omphale for a year, performing housework in feminine clothes while the queen wore his lionskin cape and carried his club.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Aberrant: Some novas (superpowered individuals) are hunted by criminal syndicates who kidnap them and harvest their organs to make superpowered drugs.
  • Champions: The organization PSI (Parapsychological Studies Institute) hunts down and captures people with Psychic Powers and brainwashes them into becoming villains and slaves of PSI. PSI plans to use them to take control of the world.
  • Dark Sun: Muls (crossbreeds between humans and dwarves) have incredible endurance, being able to work three days straight without rest, but are rare due to their sterility. Their endurance makes them great slaves, and large numbers are made into gladiators. Slave-hunters will generally put more effort into capturing muls than slaves of other races, and will probably have to because muls sprinting for freedom tend to be badass.
  • This crops up a couple times in Hunter: The Vigil.
    • The Cheiron corporation does this to any being with powers, dissecting them to make medicine. Interestingly, their strategy is stated to be very successful at curing the sick. They also harvest organs to give their agents superpowers.
    • On the squickier side of things, Ashwood Abbey is a compact of bored, rich dilettantes who hunt supernatural beings to, ah, entertain themselves.
  • In Mummy: The Curse, Last Dynasty, Incorporated harvests mummies for their Sekhem, which they use for a variety of drugs, from an AIDS cure to a Longevity Treatment.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Aasimars — the descendants of mortals and celestials — are often targeted for slavery due to their beauty, the strength and resilience granted them by their heritage, and the fact that their rarity means they almost never have their own communities to protect them.
    • The ancient empire of Thassilon was built on the backs of legions of enslaved giants, who were controlled through the powerful magic of the Thassilonian Runelords.
  • Shadowrun:
    • Drakes are creatures that appear to be human but can shapeshift into the form of small dragons, with appropriate powers. Once they started to appear, powerful entities such as Great Dragons and Mega Corps immediately started to hunt them down and capture them. It seems that drakes were originally created to be a Servant Race for the dragons, and the dragons themselves have something of a difficult time seeing why things should be otherwise.
    • In general, awakened magic users tend to fetch a premium in human trafficking rings.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Imperium of Man counts psykers as part of their planetary tithes. The Imperium uses psykers for faster-than-light communication (astro-telepathy) and as military assets (sanctioned wyrdvane psykers) and the Navigator Houses (in)breed their own unique psychic mutants that are required for Faster-Than-Light Travel. Psykers who fail whatever tests are fed to the Golden Throne, where they fuel the Astronomican, the Emperor's massive psychic lighthouse, which allegedly burns through a thousand psykers a day. Untrained psykers are incredibly dangerous to Imperial citizens, as the powers of the Warp can use an unsuspecting psyker as a gateway into the real world and wreak havoc until they dissipate back whence they came.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock: The Little Sisters are little girls who have been kidnapped and augmented with a parasitic slug that makes them effectively immortal until they're ripped apart for Psycho Serum (or reach puberty, which turns them into feral teenagers with superpowers). There was a market for harvesting the stomachs of little girls until the civil war turned Rapture into a ruined nightmare, at which point the little girls are paired with giant, hulking cyborgs dedicated to killing anyone who harms their bow-wrapped drug factories. You can either save them or get in on the action.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Harvester gang likes to kidnap people with augmentations and cut them out to either sell or install in themselves. Not a very nice group of people, all things considered.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • The main nations have a legalized example: all individuals, human or elf, with magical talent can be taken away by the Templars and placed inside a glorified prison with others of the like (ostensibly for their own and everyone else's protection) to toil away for the Chantry and whomever the Templars deem suitable clients. The situation is made complicated by the fact that mages are so because of their connection to the Fade, which includes a significant population of malevolent demons ready to use the mage as a tunnel to wreak havoc in the mortal world. A mage who loses control and gets possessed is generally accompanied by a massive body count. The Chantry sees its practices as a reasonable compromise: Mages are taken away from the public population for the safety of all, but the mages themselves aren't killed outright, but confined amongst their kind in relative comfort where they can study their art, use them for the better, and be warned not to give into the demons. As is with most complicated matters, there is ferocious debate on this in- and out-of-universe, and lots of room for abuse on both sides.
    • The Qunari, for their part, treat their mages as dangerous beasts. All mages are called Saarebas, which literally means "dangerous thing" in Qunlat. They are forced to wear special collars that nullify their abilities and can be used to cause them great pain. Many also have their mouths sewn shut, so that they can't speak the words of a spell. In Dragon Age II, if a certain Qunari mage hunter finds out that you or anyone in your party is a free mage, he will go berserk and attack you immediately (of course, he would still attack you anyway for attempting to free a Saarebas). They have only recently started to grudgingly use Saarebas in warfare, once their attempt to fight the Tevinter Imperium (a magocracy) with only conventional means (including gunpowder) was met with devastating magic.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn specifically says that the beastmen of old were enslaved for their great strength, and were hunted again for the same purpose when they re-emerged after the return of Alchemy to Weyard.
  • inFAMOUS 2: Joseph Bertrand hires a group of South African mercenaries, and then offers them the opportunity to become Ice Conduits in exchange for a large sum of money (conveniently leaving out the part where the process will cause them to start mutating uncontrollably and losing their minds over time). But instead of just giving them the powers and letting them be on their way, Bertrand boxes them up and attempts to sell them to foreign governments and warlords as super-soldiers-in-a-can for even more money. But it turns out that he doesn't even care about the money at all; it's actually part of his grand Evil Plan to spread fear and hatred of Conduits on a global scale.
  • Mass Effect: Biotics (especially untrained children) are very sought after by illegal groups, particularly if they're powerful for their species. In a more benign variant, biotics are also rare enough among humans that there are monetary incentives offered for them join the armed forces; the discrimination they face is so omnipresent that a very large percentage of them do indeed sign up just to escape it.
  • [PROTOTYPE]: The Blackwatch once infected the entire population of a town with an experimental bioweapon. Every subject died after the town had to be shelled except for two, a woman and her newborn baby, who both exhibited odd capabilities. They were seized and designated "military assets" to spend the next forty years imprisoned and subject to all kinds of tests to develop tactics for fighting (and creating) new bioweapons.
  • In StarCraft, telepaths are deceptively (if possible) or forcibly (if not) recruited into the Ghost Program by wranglers. They are then trained The Spartan Way and mind-wiped. Ironically, the mind-wipe proved to be the selling point to one November Annabella "Nova" Terra, who jumped at the chance at a new life without the horrible memories of her parents being murdered and her life since then.
  • X-COM:
    • The titular organization does this a lot to aliens — both by selling their corpses, which is pretty profitable in the beginning, and capturing living ones for interrogation and conducting research.
    • The Advent administration from XCOM 2 is a tyrannical regime that uses Bread and Circuses to lure ordinary humans into their gene clinics — at which point they're shipped off to laboratories and lethally harvested for traces of superhuman genetics, which are used to create superhero bodies for the ruling elite to possess.

  • In Blue Yonder, the Davenports have been targeted. Their parents were taken in the Backstory, and Maiden Flight sacrificed herself to buy Blue Yonder time — and the reasons why are as yet unknown.
  • In Drowtales, while "goblin" races (humans, orcs, etc.) are terrified of fae races (elves, faeries), one kingdom has offered a reward for captives of elven blood for use as Human Sacrifice in hopes of obtaining the power of immortality.
  • The Gamer: A constant worry for Han Jee-Han, both because he's an especially tempting target, which drives his need to Level Grind by putting him in near-constant danger of being abducted and used as a battery, and because "mana farms" tend to be run by the worst of the worst.

    Web Originals 
  • Brennus: Not uncommon. People with the Adonis trait (especially if it comes with little or nothing else in the way of superpowers) are targets for sex slavery. Other powers tend to vary depending upon the risk-versus-reward scenario, but the Califate pays top-dollar for Contrivers, and everyone wants a Gadgeteer.
  • Destine Enormity: Although the superhumans are the upper class in Arcadia, the primary setting, the Minos Corporation was found to be shipping Arcadian citizens out to be enslaved in the outside would. Both the Elite and the Messiah Complex were pissed when they found out.
  • In the Whateley Universe, kidnapping and exploitation of superhumans (especially mutants and dynahosts) crops up from time to time in various forms. In particular, a major Story Arc set in late 2007 begins when a group of heroes (and one retired villain) rescue a kidnapped Whateley student, and in the process uncover a group called The Triangle; they are a splinter off of Humanity First! who claim to be seeking peaceful co-existence with mutants, but are covertly enslaving mutants with useful powers 'for the common good'. Other instances include the Loose Cannons getting sold to the operator of an illegal Blood Sport ring, from which they then try to escape. It also seems to be de rigeur for some Mad Scientists to kidnap superhumans for test subjects. At least one instance of a low-level shapeshifter being held exploited for prostitution has been mentioned, as well.

    Western Animation 
  • Magical creatures in general are frequently hunted or killed by the Huntsclan on American Dragon: Jake Long.
  • Danny Phantom: Ghost hunting is a common occupation, although only Skulker and the Guys in White are even remotely competent. Freakshow, who uses and controls ghosts for his circus acts, is another example.
  • In The Fairly OddParents!, fairies are often hunted to obtain their magical power, almost always Mr. Crocker going after Timmy's fairies. In The Movie, Abra-Catastrophe!, he succeeds. Later on another, far more dangerous and competent fairy hunter shows up in the form of Ms. Doombringer.
  • Justice League: Roulette turns up with this M.O.
  • The Legend of Korra: A Season 3 plotline involves new airbenders created by the recent Harmonic Convergence (most of them citizens of the Earth Kingdom) being forcibly abducted and conscripted into the Earth Kingdom army.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Because of their enhanced abilities, Clone Force 99 has been on the run from Imperial scientists ever since they defected at the start of the show. Towards the end of the second season, it's revealed that an Imperial scientist has been holding clones prisoner and using them as lab rats in his experiments, with Crosshair being his latest victim.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Children of the Force", Darth Sidious hires Cad Bane to kidnap Force-sensitive babies (potential future Jedi) and bring them to Mustafar so he can experiment on them and raise them to be agents for the Sith.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In addition to killing fugitive Jedi, the Inquisitors are tasked with taking in Force-sensitive children, often by kidnapping, so they can be raised as future Inquisitors. As Ahsoka points out, this is exactly what the Sith tried to do in the TCW episode above, except this time, the kidnappings are state-sanctioned by The Empire, and there's no Republic or Jedi Order to stop it.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: Norman Osborn's Evil Plan in season 1 is to kidnap Spider-Man, find out what gave him his powers (a process that will likely kill him), and then create an army of Super Soldiers to sell to the highest bidder. Thankfully, Osborn ending his partnership with Octopus meant that this plan was abandoned.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • The "genomorphs" of Project Cadmus are genetically-engineered/cloned super-beings that are kept under mental control until ordered with a task. In fact, the events of the pilot episode were a carefully-crafted revolt by the genomorphs to supplant the control of the Light (the Nebulous Evil Organisation which created them), and allow the most human-looking of them (Superboy) to escape and act as their advocate to the outside world. Unfortunately, the Light is still in control, just more subtly, and Superboy has trouble even advocating for himself. Also, they left the same guy who was brainwashed into being head of security for the evil version of Project Cadmus as head of the reformed version, instead of getting him some damn therapy. As of Season 2, both of them have been cured of this.
    • In Season 2, The Light have started making deals with evil alien forces, such as the Reach (and later, Darkseid of Apokolips) after advertising humanity's potential for superpowers, which means lots of homeless people getting kidnapped and shipped off for human experimentation to have their metahuman abilities activated. This subplot leads to a group of teenagers escaping the Reach's captivity, using their newfound superpowers to survive.
    • In Season 3, the main story arc begins with our heroes trying to investigate and take down an international "metahuman trafficking" operation where countless people, mostly children and teenagers, are being kidnapped and turned into living weapons for sale to various governments and warlords not just on Earth, but also across the universe (including to the aforementioned Darkseid). It turns out that the child trafficking conspiracy is based primarily out of a secret laboratory beneath a children's hospital in Markovia.