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Bonded labor and migration, United States

Migration A–Z

B

  1. Stacy Warner Maddern

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm070

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Maddern, S. W. 2013. Bonded labor and migration, United States. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

Abstract

Bonded labor is one of the oldest and most pervasive institutional systems of economic exploitation in the history of humankind and can be found in many parts of the world even today. Interestingly, while it is drastically exploitative, the choice to enter an agreement of bonded labor is, in many cases, voluntary. As a form of debt bondage, bonded labor is not a form of slavery, but a form of contract labor that is highly exploitative. While voluntary by agreement, bonded labor is often ex-ante voluntary because it preys on workers in areas that lack suitable alternatives. In these cases, workers enter debt bondage agreements hoping that they will lead to more opportunities and a chance for a better life.

Keywords:

  • class;
  • citizenship;
  • immigration;
  • social justice;
  • labor supply;
  • poverty;
  • rights