Slavery is a lucrative business in the post-War world. Although many of the larger pockets of civilization have outlawed slavery, the practice yet persists throughout the wasteland.
Slavery is a controlled business in the post-nuclear world. Nearly all the slave trade in the New California Republic is done under the auspices of the Slaver's Guild, a group of older slavers who decide prices and organize capture hunts in the wastelands. Anyone caught capturing or selling slaves in New California without their blessing may be forced to undergo a series of trials until either deemed worthy to join the Guild or be killed. The Guild often controls smaller towns in which it operates, although quietly—preferring to remain behind the scenes. Guild members wear a distinctive tattoo covering most of their face, making them readily identifiable and allowing the Guild to make fast judgments when someone without "the tat" has a tribal up on the auction block.
Slavers in the Fallout games do not discriminate between people based upon their race, species, or ideology; anyone who can be easily cowed into submission, captured, and fitted with a slave collar is perfectly acceptable "meat" for them to use. Similarly, slavers themselves may be of any ethnic background.
Fallout 2 is peppered with slavers, most notably in the Den. The Chosen One is able to join the slavers for extra cash, but their Karma will take a beating, and they will be branded permanently as a member of the Slaver's Guild, which may negatively impact the reactions of certain NPCs.
There is also a large slave-holding pen on the NCR/Northern California border run by a slaver named Vortis. Although there is frequent conflict between the slavers and the NCR Rangers, Vortis probably profits off of all the caravans who are known to purchase slaves as porters and sell them off at the end of their journeys. Some random encounters feature slavers as well as slaves, often together. If the player is a member of the NCR Rangers or killed Metzger, slavers will act more aggressively towards the Chosen One.
The slavers of the Capital Wasteland are headquartered at the compound of Paradise Falls and led by the charismatic and ruthless Eulogy Jones. Slavery has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with the subjugation of the weak for profit. The slavers have a pretty limited clientele, and sell mostly to their return customers, the Raiders. Other customers are residents of the wasteland, including Allistair Tenpenny.
Several quests feature slavery as either major or minor elements, most notably Head of State and its association to slavery and Abraham Lincoln's role as the 'Great Emancipator.' Additionally, the Lone Wanderer can capture people to sell them to slavers. The Lone Wanderer can even buy a slave, Clover, who will then serve the player as a bodyguard. The player does not have the option of activating or removing Clover's explosive collar. The number of slaves present compared to the number of slavers is remarkably low, showing that the slaves are being shipped off somewhere. It is revealed by Wernher that many of these slaves are shipped off to work at the Pitt, a brutal and heavily irradiated town located in the ruins of the pre-War city of Pittsburgh, run by the slaving Pitt raiders.
In the Capital Wasteland, the Abolitionists are led by Hannibal Hamlin, an ex-slave. Residing in the Temple of the Union, they aim to abolish slavery everywhere, though they are having trouble making a dent in the business of Paradise Falls.
In Fallout: New Vegas, Caesar's Legion is the massive primary slaving "company" that enslaves any survivors of their raids that aren't deemed "worthy" of death. Many Legion slaves can be found at The Fort carrying heavy loads on their backs as well as working to keep the Legionaries fed and healthy. It is also implied that sexual abuse at the hands of the legionaries happens to the slaves on a regular basis. Occasionally, if a slave gets mouthy or refuses orders, they are sent to the arena where they fight challengers to the death.
Additionally in the quest Bye Bye Love it is revealed that some prostitutes in the Gomorrah are being held against their will and could be considered slaves.
Slavery is rare and unseen by the Sole Survivor in The Commonwealth, though it's still practiced by some individuals and groups.The Gunners possibly delve into the business, as the Gunner Bullet expresses an interest in purchasing the ghoul child Billy Peabody. Also, potential companion Cait mentions being sold into slavery by her parents. Moreover, the use of synths as slaves by The Institute could be considered slavery, and The Railroad, which help synths that escape The Institute, also occasionally help human slaves.
Slavery is commonly practiced by Nuka-Town USA raider gangs in Nuka-World. Most of the slaves are former traders who inhabited Nuka-Town before its conquest by the gangs. Some were also settlers kidnapped from minor local settlements, while others are unfortunate wasteland travelers lured to Nuka-Town. Most of the slaves are used as laborers and merchants by their overlords, working in and around the Nuka-Town market. Some are kept in cages and forced to fight animals by the Pack for amusement, while others are tortured and mutilated by the Disciples as a part of their twisted habits. All the slaves are kept in check using shock collars, making them easily identifiable.
- In Fallout the only direct mention of slavery is by the Khans' hostages.
- Slavery appears in Fallout 2, Fallout 3, and Fallout: New Vegas.
- Caesar's Legion is the major slaver faction in the Mojave Wasteland. They were to have a major role in the canceled Van Buren.
Concept art by Adam Adamowicz