Unfree and Unfair
Author : The India Committee of the Netherlands | 2016
Published By: The India Committee of the Netherlands
A lot of things happen, but we cannot talk about it. These are the words of a young North Indian migrant worker in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, one of many working in the city’s flourishing garment industry. The industry manufactures apparel for some of the world’s leading clothing brands. Yet the conditions under which these young migrant women work are appalling, sometimes even amounting to modern day slavery. Wages in the industry largely meet the official minimum wage standard, but are too low to add up to a decent living wage. Migrant women are often housed in hostels run by their companies and guarded by male security personnel at night. Their movement is severely restricted and they are herded to the factory and back to the hostel as a daily routine. Most workers are allowed to leave the hostel for only two hours a week. Returning late invites rebuke and sometimes punishment in the form of being made to wait outside the gate for hours till the warden allows them in. Young workers hint at abuse but refuse to speak directly about it for fear of repercussions. The young women have been made to believe that these hostels, the restrictions on their freedom of movement and the presence of male security guards are necessary for their own security in an alien city where they are isolated from the local people.
URL : http://www.indianet.nl/pdf/UnfreeAndUnfair.pdf