The lower Michigan peninsula (like many areas) has a problem with Slavers. However, they do not identify themselves as “slavers” and will claim to be Agents of the Michigan Emergency Prisoner Workfare System, or MEPWS.
History of the Michigan Emergency Prisoner Workfare System
The MEPWS dates back to the beginning of Maxwell’s Militia. When the Militia seized power, it had to make decisions about the fate of prisoners held in Michigan’s jails. Many (mostly old, sick and non-white) were killed, but some inmates were incorporated into a “Prisoner Workfare” system where they were given the choice of working or starving.
The system was always corrupt (especially with the female prisoners) but – in general – the prisoners were a useful asset. They were used on farms, road repair and in the more dangerous salvage operations. Also, the Militia found that some prisoners had useful skills such as mechanics and welders. The MEPWS was so useful to the Militia that it “became necessary” to keep prisoners for life. Propaganda stated that the Prisoners were incapable of life “outside” and needed to be kept under supervision. In other words, there would be no chance of parole, or even release. Children born to female prisoners were given the status of “inmate by birth”.
The MEPWS operated for decades and partially survived the collapse of Maxwell’s Militia. It now operates out of pre-war Prison facilities in Ionia and Jackson. Naturally, it is on very good terms with the Steel Crusaders.
Raiding and kidnapping are very rare tactics (if only because the “Agents” tend to be cowards) . The MEPWS prefers to either bribe or bully a community into giving up a regular supply of young people.
Treatment of Slaves
There are 3 informal classifications: Strong, Smart and Pretty.
“Strong” slaves are those most likely to be exported to the Kentucky Free State. They are destined for some unpleasant/dangerous job such as miner, jannissary soldier, or firefighter.
“Smart” slaves are most likely to end up as servants to the Steel Crusaders Bikers. They will be trained as mechanics and skilled workers.
“Pretty” slaves will be used as sex workers and suffer frequent rapes. Many will become addicted to opiates or alcohol. The lucky ones will attract the attention of the Breeders (the breeders have many faults, but they are not sadistic)
The Slave Trade
They operate mostly in South Michigan and therefore most business is with the Steel Crusaders, but some slaves are “exported” to the Kentucky Free State and the Breeders (who supply drugs in exchange)
Note: the MEPWS also trades with the Imps of Camp Grayling (see Liberation at Riverton). A convoy from Ionia arrives every 2 months and brings female slaves for the entertainment of the Imps. The Imps pay with crude oil and whatever they have “requisitioned”.