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In the jargon
Jargon is terminology which is especially defined in relationship to a specific activity, profession, group, or event. The philosophe Condillac observed in 1782 that "Every science requires a special language because every science has its own ideas." As a rationalist member of the Enlightenment he...
of law enforcement
In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...
An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to information gathering for purposes of national security and defence. Means of information gathering may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public...
agencies, a safe house
is a secure location, suitable for hiding witnesses, agents or other persons perceived as being in danger. It may also refer to:
- a place where people may go to avoid prosecution of their activities by authorities
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...
- a place where undercover operatives
SPY is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* SPY , ticker symbol for Standard & Poor's Depositary Receipts* SPY , a satirical monthly, trademarked all-caps* SPY , airport code for San Pédro, Côte d'Ivoire...
may conduct clandestine observations or meet other operatives surreptitiously
- a location where a trusted adult or family or charity organization provides a safe haven
The term safe harbor has several special usages, in an analogy with its literal meaning, that of a harbor or haven which provides safety from weather or attack.-Legal definition:...
for victims of domestic abuse (see also: women's shelter
A women's shelter is a place of temporary refuge and support for women escaping violent or abusive situations, such as rape, and domestic violence....
- a home of a trusted person, family or organization where victims of war and/or persecution may take refuge, receive protection and/or live in secret
- sanctuary in medieval law
- sanctuary in modern times
- right of asylum
Right of asylum is an ancient juridical notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority, a foreign country, or church sanctuaries...
Typically, the significance of safe houses is kept secret from all but a limited number of people, for the safety of those hidden within them.
Many religious institutions will allow one to obtain sanctuary within one's place of worship, and some governments respect and do not violate such sanctuary.
Safe houses were an integral part of the Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was an informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century black slaves in the United States to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. The term is also applied to the abolitionists,...
, the network of safe house locations that were used to assist slaves in escaping to the primarily northern free states in the 19th century United States. Some houses were marked with a statue of an African-American man holding a lantern, called "the Lantern Holder".
Safe houses also provided a refuge for victims of Nazi persecution and for escaping prisoners of war. Victims, such as Anne Frank
Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.Born in the city of Frankfurt...
and her family, were harbored clandestinely for extended periods of time.