What Is Coerced Labor AP World History?

Coerced labor is a term used to describe the forceful use of labor, without the consent of the laborer. This practice has been prevalent throughout history and continues to exist in some parts of the world today.

In AP World History, coerced labor is an important topic that is often studied. In this article, we will explore what coerced labor is and its impact on history.

What Is Coerced Labor?

Coerced labor refers to any situation where a person is forced to work against their will. This can include slavery, indentured servitude, debt bondage, and forced labor. Historically, coerced labor was used as a means of maintaining power and control over people who were considered inferior or subordinate.

Types of Coerced Labor

  • Slavery: Slavery is perhaps the most well-known form of coerced labor. It involves the ownership of one person by another, with the slave being forced to work without pay.
  • Indentured Servitude: Indentured servitude was a system where people would agree to work for a set period in exchange for passage to a new country or other benefits.
  • Debt Bondage: Debt bondage occurs when a person becomes indebted to someone else and is unable to repay their debt. They are then forced to work until their debt is paid off.
  • Forced Labor: Forced labor can take many forms, including prison labor, child soldiers, and human trafficking.

The Impact of Coerced Labor on History

Throughout history, coerced labor has had a significant impact on societies around the world. Slavery was an integral part of many societies in ancient times, and the transatlantic slave trade played a critical role in the development of the modern world. Indentured servitude was used extensively in colonial America and other parts of the world, while debt bondage continues to be a major issue in some developing countries.

The use of coerced labor has often been justified by those in power as necessary for economic or social stability. However, it has also led to widespread exploitation, abuse, and violence against those who are forced to work. In many cases, coerced labor has contributed to the perpetuation of poverty and inequality.


In conclusion, coerced labor is a complex issue that has had a significant impact on history. While some forms of coerced labor have been abolished or reduced over time, others still exist today. It is crucial that we continue to explore this topic and work towards ending all forms of forced labor around the world.