There are many thoughts that come to mind when voicing an opinion on the equating of indentured servitude and slavery. My personal opinion was determined though observation of the movie Amistad. However, being indentured servitude was not an option for all.
The indentured servitude made agreements with someone that was considered a person to pay for their passage. In return they would work for seven years to pay off the dept of transportation back to the one who could afford the passage for them. After the seven years they would receive citizenships of Northern European Status. .
There was a chance of these people not even making it to their promised citizenship. Of course this was no first class trip for these people. The passage was over crowed, bodies lay side by side, in layers like a pack of cookies. Some of the people were so crowed that they where dieing from hyperventilation. .
To prepare for the supply shortage that was to come, the old and priceless looking people where chained together and thrown overboard with a large net of stones, like trash. The women where raped and fondled. The crewmen would toss the indentured servitude around like a basketball. Those people that decided to become citizens had no ideal that they had to endure all of these exigencies. .
However, slaves were not even considered "real". They where treated like property. Instead of the indentured servitude change of status they worked seven hard years for. They never realized the change of slavery status would never change. .
The slaves where treated like cattle they where branded, shackled, and beaten to death. They did not have a choice of what to eat. Some ate what they where able to those that did not eat where considered priceless and excess luggage. When supplies started running low the slaves that did not eat where the first to go. The slave's main purpose of being was nothing more than to make a profit.