Call to eliminate modern slavery and forced labour

Subject : Working Conditions | Source(s) : The Hindu | Date : 21-Sep-2017

On the same day that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) released new global estimates of modern slavery, a group of over 40 activists and academics from different parts of the world have released a 25-point signed statement urging India to ensure a more effective implementation of labour law protections to eliminate modern slavery and forced labour in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Noting that “dominant international discourses on modern slavery do not adequately reflect the extreme exploitation and precarious nature of employment in India today”, the statement said “an undue emphasis on sensationalist accounts of modern slavery deny the widespread prevalence of economic exploitation, even now based on social customs, cultural traditions and hereditary obligations, and obfuscate the continuum between extreme and ‘everyday’ forms of such exploitation.” “A multi-pronged strategy that responds to the needs of all affected constituencies, including bonded labourers, contract workers, domestic workers, intra- and inter-state as well as international migrant workers, and sex workers is necessary in order to achieve SDG 8.7,” the statement said. Observing that “the current targets and indicators proposed by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation as of March 8, 2017 for the realisation of SDG 8.7 are wholly inadequate,” the statement noted that “a more robust labour governance system in the form of increased inspections and better resources for the labour inspectorate is essential for the realisation of SDG 8.7. The SDG 8.7 calls for “immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.” Collective bargaining The most effective and durable way to prevent all forms of extreme exploitation lies in the self-organisation of workers and in their efforts at collective bargaining, especially through trade unions and workers’ collectives,” the statement said Expressing concerns over the proposed anti-trafficking law, the academics pointed out that “the problem of trafficking can only be addressed through a multi-faceted legal and economic strategy that strengthens the implementation of labour protections such as those guaranteed by the Constitution”. Among the signatories to the statement were activists from organisations such as Aid et Action, The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, Open Democracy, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), and National Network of Sex Workers.

Link : http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/scholars-activists-urge-india-to-act-against-forced-labour/article19722160.ece

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