Delia’s Story, Chapter 25 : Legal Steps

John sat in his lawyer’s office, explaining the enslavement of Delia and mentioning what the slaver had suggested — a trust ownership. “Yes, John, we can do that. The trust would be a legal corporation, so she could be a corporate asset. The rules for her treatment would be whatever you set up at the beginning of the trust, and we can let you change the rules as trustee. As a trust, it can’t go bankrupt so her status is well-preserved. The only problem would be the imposition of rules by a proposed law.”

“I won’t mistreat her, so any anti-cruelty laws won’t affect it. In fact, I’d welcome such laws.”

“So would I, but that’s not what is proposed. One would require that slaves be easily identifiable and be publicly punished at least every 90 days. Some people love it, but it threatens the ability of owners to manage their assets. The other proposed law won’t affect Delia now, but it would make it almost certain that all females would end up as slaves.”

“Well, I hope it doesn’t pass.”

“Then you’d better inform your state representatives. In any case, we can set up a trust that has as its main goal the preservation of the trust assets, namely Delia. As a corporation, it needs a discipline code. The initial rules for the trust should specify the passing of control of the trust in the case of your passing or incapacitation, any limits on the authority of subsequent trustees, and provisions for you to change the rules, but not letting others change the core rules after you relinquish control of the trust. One thing that we can’t do is give Delia any actual control. She isn’t really a person anymore, but the corporation is like a person. There have been a few other trusts like this set up, and some have stretched the boundaries to make the slave own herself. There are ways to limit the controls on her, but not to let her own herself outright. The case law in this area is a mess, but it seems to be tipping away from seeing a slave as an entity that can exercise control.”

“Could such a trust own more than one slave?”

“Yes, but if the management goals on the slaves are different it would be best to have a different trust for each category of slave. I expect that you are considering this for your company’s asset slaves?”

“Yes.”

“That could be more difficult. As corporate assets, they would have to be transferred, and transfer without compensation could get complicated. I’ll look into it.”

“OK, thanks. When can we get this set up for Delia?”

“A few weeks. I’d like to study the case law and get it right the first time.”

“Another question: does enslavement automatically end a marriage? The country club crowd seems to be leaning towards husbands enslaving and keeping their wives, and several people I know have done so. They refer to the enslaved women as their wives, but other in cases enslavement and sale seems to be an automatic divorce.”

“Are you planning on doing that to Mona?”

“No. But Delia would like to marry sometime, although marriage after enslavement might be different.”

“It is. The situation, like most surrounding slavery, is murky. The general drift seems to be toward considering them wives until they are sold or publicly renounced as wives. Slaves that marry are considered wives, until sold or publicly renounced. Slave wives that are freed are wives, but a quick re-enslavement can take care of that.”

“If that second law passes, I’ll probably have to do the same thing to Mona that I did to Delia.”

“That would be in your best interest, and hers, if the law passes.”