Selling Oneself into Slavery
The above document is called a Jamae Mungi, which was a contract used in Joseon Korea to sell oneself and/or one’s family members into slavery. It was an option available to Koreans in dire circumstances. You can find the above document on large scale here.
The documents included the date of sale, the names of the buyer and seller, the reason for the sale, the selling price, the name of a witness, and a signature. If the seller could not write, he or she could draw an outline of his or her hand.
The document also had to be stamped by a local official.
In the above document, which was made in 1832, the man was selling himself, his pregnant wife, the unborn baby, and their 2-year-old child because “life was difficult.”
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