Bonded labour or debt bondage (or debt slavery) is a term used to refer to a situation where someone (a debtor) has to work for the person who lent him money. Generally, the conditions of this form of forced labour are close to slavery. Bonded labour is one of the most common forms of modern-day slavery-like conditions. Usually, the person working gets paid very little money in return for very hard work. Very often, the exact amount to be re-paid is not defined clearly. The person doing the bonded labour will never be able to pay off the debt through work.
A regular work contract usually gives rights to the person being employed, and the amount of work. In a normal working contract, difficult, dangerous or exhausting work will usually get paid better. This is not the case with debt bondage.
- Sopplementary Convention on Abolition of Slavery, Article 1 (a)