I'm building a world based in a mid-future dystopia, where the government has consolidated all sovereign power under its control but has imploded under debt and now basically exists to funnel wealth to its bondholders (most of whom are running it). One of the ways it will do so is to sell people into slavery who have committed (or plead guilty to) crimes, or who have declared bankruptcy or been ajudged to be unable to pay debts (being bankrupt is a crime in this universe so it's all really the same thing).
I need a logical reason for the "Government" to be able to actively participate in this process, without a simple hand-wave that all present-day laws forbidding slavery simply no longer exist or are being ignored. Something where a privileged lawyer-type character in the book would be able to logically defend what the government's done so far (however appalling the state of affairs being described is to the reader), up until a specific line is crossed that is so blatantly wrong it makes that character question the whole thing.
The closest I have is some fictional landmark case from a stacked Court, that essentially de-fangs existing anti-slavery laws through an interpretation that reads their original meaning out of existence. Something like what the Slaughterhouse Cases did to the 14th Amendment's "Privileges or Immunities" clause. Such things have obviously happened before, and the Slaughterhouse interpretation of that clause still stands as the law of the land in the real-world United States, outlasting many other decisions attempting to mitigate the effect of the Reconstruction Amendments.
Does anyone else have a good idea for a mechanism by which the "Government" can condone and participate in slavery in a universe where the laws are still ostensibly on the books and the legal system is not completely ignoring them?