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Debt bondage (also known as debt slavery or bonded labor) is a person's pledge of their labor or services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation. The services required to repay the debt may be undefined, and the services' duration may be undefined. Debt bondage can be passed on from generation to generation.

Debt bondage has been described by the United Nations as a form of "modern day slavery" and the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery seeks to abolish the practice.<ref name="Bales2004">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref>Article 1(a) of the United Nations' 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery defines debt bondage as "the status or condition arising from a pledge by a debtor of his personal services or of those of a person under his control as security for a debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied towards the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined".</ref><ref name=Gupta>The Bondage of Debt: A Photo Essay, by Shilpi Gupta</ref> Most countries are parties to the Convention, but the practice is still prevalent in South Asia.<ref name="Bales2004"/> Debt bondage in India was legally abolished in 1976 but remains prevalent.

Debt bondage was very common in Ancient Greece. In ancient Athens, Solon forbade taking out loans using oneself as a security and ended such debts.


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