Trend Watch

Servitude

When:

Lookups spiked on July 11, 2012.

Why:

In a widely reported case, a family in Britain was found guilty of holding people "in servitude."

The family forced homeless men to work in conditions resembling slavery – with no pay, brutally hard work, threats of violence, and a starvation diet.

Servitude means "the condition of being a slave or of having to obey another person." It comes from the Latin word servus, meaning "slave."

The headline on The Telegraph site read, "Traveller family guilty of forcing homeless men into 'slavery'." Traveller is a British term for groups of people that move from place to place to work. Sometimes called Irish travellers, their independent and itinerant way of life resembles that of Gypsies.

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