Labor camp

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A labour camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are engaged in penal labor. Labour camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons. Conditions at labour camps vary widely depending on the operators.

During Stalinism, labour camps in the Soviet Union were officially called "Corrective labour camps." The term Labour colony; more exactly, "Corrective labour colony", (исправительно-трудовая колония, ИТК), was also in use and referred to camps that housed prisoners with shorter average sentences.

The labour camp was a way for the Soviet Union to stop the population from rebelling, and it was a tool of fear. For example, insulting the KGB was considered an act of treason, and that alone could end up with working in a labour camp for a few years.


[edit] Notable labour camps

  • Imperial Russia operated a system of remote Siberian forced labour camps as part of its regular judicial system, called katorga. Though conditions were difficult, they were mild compared to the later Stalinist camps.
  • Soviet Russia took over the already extensive katorga system and expanded it immensely, eventually organizing the Gulag to run the camps. These camps were notorious for their extremely rough conditions; new prisoner death rate was as high as 80% at some camps. During and after the Great Purges, the Gulag camps housed millions of prisoners. Stalin used them both as a source of cheap labor, and as indirect extermination camps. In 1954, a year after Stalin's death, the new Soviet government of Nikita Khrushchev began to release political prisoners and close down the camps. By the end of the 1950s, virtually all "corrective labor camps" were dissolved. Officially, the Gulag was terminated by the MVD order 20 of January 25, 1960.
The Nazis also operated concentration camps , some of which provided free forced labour for industrial and other jobs while others existed purely for the extermination of their inmates. A notable example is Mittelbau-Dora labour camp complex that serviced the production of the V-2 rocket. See List of German concentration camps for more.
  • The Communist Party of China has operated many labour camps for some kinds of crimes. Many leaders of China were put into labor camps after purges, including Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi. As a matter of fact, hundreds - if not thousands - of labor camps still exist in modern day China, housing political prisoners and dissidents along side dangerous criminals.
  • The Khmer Rouge operated labor camps in Cambodia following their seizure of power, for the "rehabilitation" of the (loosely defined) bourgeois classes. The death toll was astonishing, numbering up to three million in that small, sparsely populated nation.
  • In Communist Romania, labor camps were operated for projects such as the building of the Danube-Black Sea Canal and the desiccation of the Great Brăila Island, on which enemies of the regime were "re-educated" by forced labour. Most of the people that worked on such projects never got out alive.
  • In North Korea, labor camps are widespread. The conditions in these camps are probably just as bad as the Gulags that existed during Stalin's reign in the Soviet Union. In North Korea there is no freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, or petition. Citizens do not have the right to bear arms, nor the right for protection from the military or from unreasonable searches and seizures. When trials take place, they are not run by a citizen jury, but by state officials. If any law is declared by the government to be violated, no matter how minimal, the convicted violator will most likely have two fates: execution or a lengthy sentence to penal labor. According to several defectors, the government will also send the families of the offenders to labor camps as well.
  • In former North Vietnam, labor camps were widespread. During North Vietnam's war with the United States labor camps were used extensively by the communist government for its war effort. After the war and reunification in 1975, the victorious North sent thousands of South Vietnamese citizens and military officers into labor camps. This act served three purposes: (1) To punish the Western collaborators. (2) To help rebuild the nation. (3) To reeducate them with communist ideals (See also: Reeducation camp.). These camps, however, appear to be vanquished in present day Vietnam. Due to the economic, political, and social reforms the country has been experiencing, political prisoners are far less common.

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[edit] See also

[edit] External links

ro:Lagăr de muncă sl:Delovno taborišče sv:Arbetsläger

Labor camp

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