Slavery is an important part of Imperial Society, providing labour for the Empire and a safety net for its citizens. Many Imperials will choose to sell themselves into a fixed period of slavery than face the embarrassment and dishonour of living with a debt.
— In-Game Description
Note: Imperial Slaves are illegal in most systems outside of the Empire.
In practice, Imperial slavery is a regulated form of indentured servitude. Imperial slaves voluntarily contract themselves out for a predetermined amount of time to earn money to pay off debts that they could not otherwise clear or support their families. Imperial slaves are guaranteed basic human rights and may exercise free will and self-determination, but still have substantially less freedom than regular Imperial citizens. The typical Imperial slave will willingly return to servitude in the event they are forcibly freed before their contract ends. Becoming an Imperial slave is viewed as substantially more honourable than allowing oneself to languish in debt, and upon concluding their contract, Imperial slaves are given new employment and temporary welfare assistance by a registered organization to help them re-acclimatize to citizenship.
Unregulated slavery, in which enslaved individuals are treated as chattel property, is illegal in the Empire. Prominent Imperials such as Senator Zemina Torval have been known to hold campaigns to purchase or otherwise acquire conventional slaves on humanitarian grounds, so that they can be registered as Imperial slaves and given superior care as well as the opportunity to earn freedom and citizenship.
Imperial slavery is opposed by Unchain, a non-government charitable organization run by Princess Aisling Duval, as well as activist networks such as Autonomy. These and other critics argue that despite the protections mandated by Imperial law, Imperial slavery is nonetheless dehumanizing and beneath the dignity of the Empire.
- As with other parallels between the Empire and ancient Rome, Imperial slavery appears to be based on slavery in ancient Rome, including debt slavery.