Human branding or stigmatizing is the process in which a mark, usually a symbol or ornamental pattern, is burned into the skin of a living person, with the intention that the resulting scar makes it permanent. this is performed using a hot or very cold branding iron. it therefore uses the physical techniques of livestock branding on a human, either with consent as a form of body modification; or under coercion, as a punishment or to identify an enslaved or otherwise oppressed person. it may also be practiced as a "rite of passage", e.g. within a tribe, or to signify membership of or acceptance into an organization.