For slave women, while the prospects of upward social mobility on such a scale were minimal at best, marriage could lead to freedom for themselves and the resultant offspring, as well as a certain degree of economic empowerment and social prestige. The female slaves were mostly used as domestic help and as farm workers, primarily helping with sowing and weeding, but in a lot of cases sexual access to the female slaves was considered a right by their owners in the context of their reproductive faculties. Given their condition, any relationship that provided for better social prospects was a welcome one. (Guvenc, 2005)
In towns, women traders also used female slave workers as domestic help and to aid them in the running of their business, but they also treated them as a commodity that could be traded in, often preferring to trade exclusively in slaves. While these female slaves were often better treated than their male counterparts, the relationship they enjoyed with their female owners was still exploitative – if not sexual, then economical – in nature. (Jones, 1995).
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