Kids among trafficked bonded labourers rescued in Reasi, Samba

TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/31/2017 2:37:48 PM

Jammu, Dec 31 : A team of National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour (NCCEBL) has rescued bonded labourers, including kids, from Reasi and Samba districts in Jammu.

NCCEBL, a part of Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC), Human Rights Network (HRLN) New Delhi, in coordination with the district authorities, raided illegal brick kilns operating in Reasi and Samba districts and rescued illegally trafficked bonded labourers, said a statement.

“These bonded labourers were trafficked from Chhattisgarh by an agent who promised them work and later made them do forced work for contractors operating brick kilns in Anantnag district in south Kashmir,” it said.
The statement said that these labourers were made to work for 18 hours altogether without proper meals and any wages.

“Even small children were not spared and were made to do work at brick kiln in Reasi and some of them contracted diseases due to lack of any basic amenity. Earlier many of them suffered chest related ailments as they couldn’t bear shivering cold in Kashmir,” it said.

The labourers, it said, were beaten to pulp by the goons of the agent and transported from Anantnag to Reasi and Samba districts after they protested.

“Many of the women bonded labourers were in family ways giving birth braving death as medical avenues were next to impossible and they had not a single penny to spend on themselves,” said the statement.

It added that their rehabilitation was a challenge due to lack of proper mechanisms in India to provide rehabilitation to rescued bonded labourers.
“Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 does assure same but implementation remains a tough challenge,” it said.

Convener NCCEBL, Nirmal Gorana said: “Thousands of bonded labourers are still doing forced labour in Jammu & Kashmir and there is no mechanism in place for their repatriation and rehabilitation.”

“There is a need to bust this illegal trafficking racket of bonded labourers which includes women and to break this vicious cycle of trafficking and forced labour where agents on allurement of promising work carry these labourers from State to State,” he added.

Pertinently, the United Nations, in a recent report on slavery, highlighted the stark reality of 40 million slaves in India. Twenty five million among these include forced labour.

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