From Captain Pike, to Captain Kirk to Captain Archer a span of centuries, we see examples of green slave girls.

The Federation's own charter says:

"We the lifeforms of the United Federation of Planets determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and to reaffirm faith in the fundamental rights of sentient beings, in the dignity and worth of all lifeforms, in the equal rights of members of planetary systems large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of interstellar law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of living on all worlds..."

So why does the Federation captains (et al. one would assume) tolerate, indeed partake, in the enjoyment/subjugation of said slave girls?

I don't buy the Prime Directive argument, they all broke it when they deemed it was for the greater good.

  • 16
    Orion wasn't part of the federation. afaik
    – Himarm
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 3:48
  • 10
    There wasn't even a Federation during Captain Archer's time. And the Orions were antagonists in both ST:ENT and (briefly) ST:DS9. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 3:51
  • 6
    When you justify things with "for the greater good", you necessarily end up with Gulag and Great Leap Forward (or, more ontopic, Gellert Grindewald). Perhaps the Federation ended up figuring that out. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 4:50
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    While there are many examples of the Federation attempting to police the actions of other polities (Kirk frequently ignored other worlds' sovereignty), it's hardly normal for a polity to do so. Historically only a minority of entities, such as the modern-day USA and the major powers of imperial-age Europe, saw it as both their right and responsibility to impose their own codes of behaviour on others. Even when such a group does exist, it usually only imposes its views when it has enough political and millitary power to discourage or avoid retribution and objections.
    – user867
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 6:02
  • 5
    Depends on how they became slaves, doesn't it? A truly free society would not try to prevent individuals from selling themselves into slavery if that's what they want to do.
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 8:15

4 Answers 4


In "The Cage" one of the men watching the Orion dancer with Captain Pike marveled that Orion women actually wanted to be taken advantage of. According to Memory Alpha this was because Orion women were Sirens rather than slaves, luring unwary males into a life of subjugation via potent pheromones. So the women were not in fact slaves, and the behavior of men around them was the direct result of their hindbrains being tickled by Orion sex hormones.

As for why Starfleet officers would partake of the sexual bounty, consider that these people seemed to live in sexually liberated times. In the TNG era we had the pleasure planet Risa, where the inhabitants seemed happy to give pleasure to visitors as part of their tourism industry. There was the civilization in the TNG episode "Justice" that "made love at the drop of a hat." On DS9 we had Quark and his (to us) depraved holosuite programs, offered alongside the other traditional vices of strong drink and gambling. It wasn't unreasonable that an officer faced with an amorous green dancing girl might believe that she was happy with her life until presented with evidence to the contrary.

  • 2
    Exactly right. And I'd forgotten that Justice episode. Thx! Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 13:20
  • 1
    It is pre-Federation, but I feel this is well covered in the Enterprise episode Bound.
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 20:01
  • 1
    +1 a little late but this is spot on, the impression I got is they are called slave girls because they turn YOU into the slave
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 14:54
  • "As for why Starfleet officers would partake of the sexual bounty". We've got Riker! He makes our Jim look like a Trappist monk
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 15:46
  • 1
    This is a pretty severe retcon of the Cage with stuff from Enterprise. The Cage scene was pure 1960s and earlier Arab slave market pulp magazine motifs...just in space. Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 16:14

Why do human rights abuses exist in real life? I mean, can't the Western European nations just invade every country where human rights abuses occur and vanquish all human rights abuses?

Sure, it's possible militarily, but as we can see with the current spread of terrorism and the hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties and millions of civilians displaced due to war, it's not exactly a desirable option from a human rights perspective.

Also, Pike's encounter with Orion slave girls was in a forced telepathic "fantasy"—one which he was clearly disturbed by—meaning, there was no actual Orion slave girl.

Similarly, Archer did not "partake" in slavery. If you actually watch that episode, he repeatedly tries to break the slave mentality of his guests.

Likewise, Kirk was a captive of the escaped prisoners, which happened to include an Orion woman. In the episode, she manipulates and seduces him (after he'd been tortured using the rehabilitation chair) and then tries to kill him. He was hardly exploiting the Orion woman.

  • 2
    The first two paragraphs of this answer are pretty much a rant and don't add anything to the last three paragraphs which are a solid, well thought-out answer
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 19:44
  • 4
    A key part of the question is why human rights abuses exist in the galaxy if the Federation values human rights, as stated in its charter. I used a very current real-life example of why it's impractical for the Federation to govern the entire galaxy. Just because you don't share my view doesn't make it a rant. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 22:56
  • 3
    @Richard This is the gist of the question I'm trying to answer: "So why does the [sic.] Federation captains (et al. one would assume) tolerate, indeed partake, in the enjoyment/subjugation of said slave girls?" The second half of my answer disputes that Starfleet captains "partake" in the slavery. The first half of my answer explains why they must "tolerate" such abuses in the galaxy outside of the Federation. If you can suggest an alternative wording of my answer that is less objectionable, please submit an edit. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 23:03
  • 1
    I'll have a think about it. I can see some room for improvement but I'd want to give it proper attention
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 23:14
  • 1
    Still seems preachy
    – Lighthart
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 19:49

Watch it to the very end. In the end the "alpha male" captain admitted that he is a slave to the females. The females actually are were fully in charge because the males cannot resist their pheromones. Calling the females "slaves" was just a ploy so they could use their wiles to control the human males. This episode portrayed an exaggerated version of human culture where the males appear to be in charge but really they are slaves to the females.


An important point not mentioned by others: The Orions were not part of the Federation, so the Federation had no legal basis for eradicating their slavery system. And any other intervention would be an act of war - not something the Federation would like to get into.

  • This was already mentioned in some comments, yet not in an answer. Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 4:31

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