Whenever in history, there is a mention of imperial Empires - slavery is by default taken into consideration. However, what was the most striking form of slavery in the Ottoman Empire was the inclusion of women as slaves in palaces and homes.
Women as Slaves
Slavery in the Ottoman Empire prevailed as late as the 19th century till the early 20th century! Slavery in the modern world was widely condemned by other nations and it was not before a long fight that the Ottoman took decisive steps in combating orthodox practices that led women to be treated as slaves. However, it was not only the women who were kept as slaves but young men from the lower rungs of the society were exploited in similar fashion as well.
The idea behind keeping women as slaves was to treat them as objects of pleasure rather than keeping them to do all the work. The hard work was reserved for the male slaves. The sultanate had a belief system working that only young men would qualify as slaves for the palace and were kept for their sheer strength and energy that could any day beat the 'old' slaves.
Religion backing Slavery
It was difficult for the Ottoman Empire to come out of its view on slaves as it was exploited and backed by religious beliefs on the same. And interestingly enough, not even the slaves would question the interpretation of such laws. However late in the history of the Ottoman civilization, due to rampant exploitation of the slaves special laws were allowed to check the 'exploitation level' on the slaves!
The beautiful women were often subject to sexual exploitation as in the case that prevailed in the early 19th century - they were trafficked across seas to different countries. It is not difficult to see as why slavery became one of the highlighting points in the history of the Empire - it was the low level of literacy amongst the people and almost no education that led the people believe the diktat of the Islamist policy makers blindly.
Europe was the main region where the Ottoman Empire women were much in demand. The modern world with backing of several important countries condemned these state-sponsored actions and after international sanctions were imposed on the region, the government had to stop the antics! Servants were kept at the elite homes as well who would tend to their family members and also do all the menial work.