In the time of the Buddha it was common for both men and women to enter into services in rich households due to their extreme poverty. In fact this traffic in human slaves was very common at the time, even though it was contra indicated for a follower of the Buddha. The state of slavery that existed at the time is well illustrated by the story of the slave girl Rajjumala who worked for a very wicked mistress who treated her without any mercy even for the slightest fault. Here the Buddha admonished both servant and mistress and teaching them the Doctrine, bestows permanent peace on both of them.
Rajjumálá: The Slave Girl [Translated from Youtube by Dr.Sastri]
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha came out from his meditation and wished to help a slave girl to get out of her misery. He went to the forest sitting under a tree waiting for her.
A slave girl lived in the village of Gayá. Her mistress disliked her and had ill treated her in every which way she could, e.g. whipping her, cursing at her, and pulling her hair! The poor girl had thought of ways to escape from being abused by her mistress. So she had her head shaved off so that the boss would be unable to pull her hair. But the mistress just outsmarted her by using a rope tied around the girl's head to pull her around. Other people then called her Rajjumala --meaning "a girl who has rope around her head". One day being unable to bear her suffering any longer, Rajjumala went into the forest near by to commit suicide. There she saw the Buddha sitting under a tree; the Buddha kindly called her name and taught her a 'Rajjumala Sutta'. After having listened to the Buddha's teaching, Rajjumálá became a sotápanna. She then returned to her mistress, who was surprised to see Rajjumala looked so happy and contented. Having heard her story that she met the Buddha and listened to his dhamma, the wicked mistress decided to visit the Buddha herself. After listening to his teaching, her personality changed: she became Buddha's follower and gave Rajjumala her freedom.
The Buddha explained that the two women had had their positions reversed in a previous birth (during the time of Kassapa Buddha), the then slave, who was the mistress in the present birth, had vowed vengeance for the cruelty inflicted upon her by her mistress.
Rajjumálá was freed and performed many meritorious deeds all through her life. After death she was reborn in the Távatimsa deva world.
***************** Love Buddha's dhamma, yawares/sirikanya