In the Dragaeran Empire a press gang is essentially a group of tough sailors (predominantly Orcas) who wander through the streets and taverns collecting transients, criminals, Teckla, and pretty much anyone else they can find and present them to the captains of Imperial warships as conscripted troops.
Persons gathered in this manor are typically not talented sailors, so they usually end up taking the most hazardous and least desirable duties on board ship.
Since the activities of the press gangs are in the interest of protecting the Empire, it is not considered a violation of the civil rights of the conscriptees; and since the targets are invariably the poor and destitute, they would be unable to protest this treatment in most cases, anyway.
At the same time, the presence of press gangs is unpopular (to say the least) with the lower classes, and so they are not generally used by the Empire unless there is great need; lest their presence start a riot.
- See also Meta:Press Gangs.