Slaves played a very important role in the Egyptian Empire. Slaves were owned by the rich and the poor. They were used in many various ways from domestic housework, to care of the master and household, to work in quarries and construction of pyramids. Some slaves were even purchased to be playmates for sons of wealthier buyers. They were acquired from the Army as prisoners of war, or from slave traders in slave hunts. They then they were sold on private markets at a range on prices depending on their gender, race, age, mannerisms, and skill level.
The practice of slave hunts, or gazzus was one method of importing slaves to Egypt. Kidnapping was the primary way of acquiring these slaves. The chief sources of this were in the great oasis of Darfour, the shilook country, and the district south of the Bashet Gazel, the Sobat and the Upper White Nile. These slave traders, called Gellabs were from Upper Egypt and Nubia. The Gellabs brought the slaves down the Nile, partly across the desert and partly down the river. These sections were where the cruelest of slave hunting took place. They were transported down the Nile until they reached a section called the Nile Police. Here, care was taken that slaves were not unduly packed in noggurs, or cargo boats, and that there was a sufficient supply of food and water. Some slaves were sold along the voyage down the Nile, the rest were sent to various dealers, called Gellabs, in the city. Most of the black slave girls were often times violated by these slave traders. There were very few who did not suffer abuse from the traders, and the ones who do often times drowned themselves in the Nile to end this abuse. Although police were supposed to be inspecting these routes to prevent unlawful slave imports, the trades still transpired with little intervention from authorities. Slaves subsequently were banned from being imported by law; hence slaves were encouraged to bear children.