What determines the use of labor coercion? This paper studies the impact of trade on corvée labor – the payment of taxation in labor – in colonial Indonesia. To do so, I construct a unique database on corvée usage and exports at the residency-product-year level from 1900 to 1940. The results show that trade booms, especially of labor-intensive exports, reduced corvée usage. The effect ran through laborers buying themselves out of corvée. The buy-out option enabled high-productivity laborers to self-select out of corvée without requiring stronger information-collection capabilities of the state. Through such buyouts, the fall in in-kind taxation was mirrored by a rise in monetary taxation. The opposite took place during the trade collapse of the Great Depression. While some studies find a positive relationship between trade and private labor coercion, I argue public labor coercion follows a different logic due to the state's encompassing interest. The nature of the relationship between coercer and coerced is thus key in understanding labor coercion.