Walter Rodney argues that the term Arab Slave Trade is a historical misnomer since bilateral trade agreements between a myriad of ethnic groups across the proposed 'Zanj trade network' characterized much of the acquisition process of chattel, and more often than not indentured servants. According to Robert Davis, between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured between the 16th and 19th centuries by Barbary corsairs, who were vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and sold as slaves.
Zanj also worked the salt mines of Mesopotamia, especially around Basra.
Their jobs were to clear away the nitrous topsoil that made the land arable.
The working conditions were also considered to be extremely harsh and miserable. Shaban has argued that rebellion was not a slave revolt, but a revolt of blacks (zanj).
In 641 during the Baqt, a treaty between the Christian state of Makuria and the Muslim rulers of Egypt, the Nubians agreed to give Arab traders more privileges of trade in addition to a share in their slave trading.
In Somalia, the Bantu minorities are descended from Bantu groups that had settled in Southeast Africa after the initial expansion from Nigeria/Cameroon, and whose members were later captured and sold into the Arab slave trade.