25 traf­ficked In­di­ans saved

The Citizen (KZN) - - WORLD - Mumbai–

Nearly 25 work­ers, in­clud­ing chil­dren, who worked 15 hour days for seven years, were res­cued at the week­end at Baran in the western In­dian state of Ra­jasthan in a rare crack­down on farms where forced labour is ram­pant.

Cam­paign­ers said the work­ers were from a tribe in the cen­tral In­dian state of Mad­hya Pradesh and were given loans rang­ing from 500 to 20 000 ru­pees (R112 to R4 342) be­fore be­ing taken to Ra­jasthan to work in the fields.

“Th­ese peo­ple were traf­ficked from their home state with the lure of good work, but kept bonded on the fields.

“They be­lieved they were re­pay­ing the loans,” said Nir­mal Go­rana, con­vener of the Na­tional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee for Erad­i­ca­tion of Bonded Labour, that took part in the res­cue.

Res­cued work­ers said while they worked in the fields, their chil­dren worked at the em­ployer’s house for no money. “The em­ploy­ers did not give them wages, but only pack­ets of wheat. This, too, was to en­sure they stayed alive to con­tinue work­ing on their fields,” Go­rana said.

There are no na­tional fig­ures on the num­ber of peo­ple in slav­ery in India, but the min­istry of labour and em­ploy­ment re­cently an­nounced plans to iden­tify, res­cue and help over 18 mil­lion bonded labour­ers by 2030. –

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