One of the recurring points on Dollhouse
is that many people assert that the Actives are slaves. Even if they volunteered for it, they say no one can sign a contract that makes them a slave.
I would disagree that the Actives are slaves at all, at least not in principle. (There is evidence in "Echoes" that at least some Actives were extorted into joining. It seems that if the Rossum Corporation catches someone snooping too close to one of their secret projects, they offer them a choice of a 5 year contract with the Dollhouse or bringing them up on criminal charges.) But lets assume that, aside from a few unsavory exceptions, most Actives joined the Dollhouse willingly. Are they slaves?
I would argue that they're no more slaves than any other working person. All they are doing is leasing the use of their body to the Dollhouse for a substantial monetary fee. Are the Actives made to do things they would not otherwise do? Sure, but so does pretty much everyone. I'm sure a cashier would rather be doing something else but they do it because they are paid to and they prefer working over starving.
So why the consistent references to slavery? A slave is someone who is owned by someone else and does not benefit from the fruits of their own labor. If the Actives volunteer, are paid well, and get their bodies back after the contract expires, how can they be slaves?