Bonded Labor or Debt Bondage

Bonded labor or debt bondage is a form of human trafficking that most closely parallels slavery, in which a person takes or is tricked into taking a loan. The person must then work to repay the loan; however, the nature of the work and the amount of time necessary to repay the loan are undefined and often remain that way. Individuals in debt bondage may receive food and shelter as “payment” for work, and in some cases victims will not be paid monetarily at all and their debt may increase to account for costs associated with food and shelter. A debt can be passed down for generations, which means that the child or grandchild of the person originally taking the loan is left to pay off the debt. It is important to note that not all instances of work-based debt are human trafficking, as someone may willingly enter into this type of arrangement and actually be fairly compensated for her or his labor.

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