A labor camp (or labour, see spelling differences) or work camp is a detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor as a form of punishment. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons (especially prison farms). Conditions at labor camps vary widely depending on the operators.
In the 20th century, a new category of labor camps developed for the imprisonment of millions of people who were not criminals per se, but political opponents (real or imagined) and various so-called undesirables under communist and fascist regimes, both totalitarian. Some of those camps were dubbed "reeducation facilities" for political coercion, but most others served as backbones of industry and agriculture for the benefit of the state, especially in times of war. Convention no. 105 of the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO), adopted internationally on 27 June 1957, abolished camps of forced labor.
Early-modern states could exploit condemned dissidents and those of suspect political or religious ideology by combining prison and useful work in manning their galleys. This became the sentence of many Christian captives in the Ottoman Empire and of recalcitrant Calvinists (Huguenots) in pre-Revolutionary France.
A second early modern form of punishment, the galleys, constituted a more direct precedent to the earliest hard labour camps. [...] Galley rowing offered no promise of rehabilitation and, in fact, often led to disease and death. However, it shared with the prison workhouses of northern Europe a new aspiration to integrate hard labour into punishment for the eeconomic benefit of the state.
And what happened to the captives from Ukraine [...]? The slaves functioned at all levels of Ottoman society [...]. At the lowest end of the social scale were galley slaves conscripted into the imperial naval fleet and field hands who labored on Ottoman landed estates.
Andre Zysberg's study shows that [...] nearly 1,500 Huguenots were sentenced to the galleys between 1680 and 1716 [...].