BRICK KILN WORKERS: MUCH CRY BUT THE MISERY CONTINUES

A report by the International Labour Organization (Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour-ILO) on profits earned by the industries exploiting the forced labour coming from the poorest sections of the Indian ‘populations’.

The report says: “The annual revenue generated by a bonded labourer working in the brick kilns of India amounts to US$4,355. This value, when multiplied by the percentage of bonded labourers in the brick kilns, puts the annual revenue contribution of a brick-kiln bonded labourer to the total revenues generated by bonded labourers in South Asia at US$653.”

The report identifies some sectors including the brick kilns as such industries earning profits from the ‘bonded labour’. The other industries that it mentions are carpet weaving, rice and sugar cane industries.

In economically poorer regions with high unemployment, the standalone or small brick kiln operations do not operate on bonded labour but the condition is different for the larger players operating a number of kilns over a large geographical area requiring the manpower on absolutely low or almost non-existential wages or for the brick kilns operating in areas with short supply of manpower.

The forced migration of the labour due to poverty helps them in keeping their manpower in a consistent supply mode, in the ‘bonded labour’ conditions, where they extract the output mercilessly, even from the children.

Just a quick Google search with tags ‘bonded labour + brick kilns + India’ returns with a number of reports from credible research works and media outfits, right from the page-1, supporting the findings in the ILO report:

Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour – ILO – May 20, 2014 (The one that pushed to do this exercise.)

17 bonded labourers, their kids rescued from brick kiln – TNN Times News Network – May 9, 2014

Bonded labourers rescued from brick kiln – Times News Network – February 12, 2014

Why India’s brick kiln workers ‘live like slaves’ – BBC – January 2, 2014

Slave labour in Indian brick kilns – Union Solidarity International – October 9, 2013

No Bonded Labour anymore? Really? – ActionAid – May 16, 2013

A smart way to prevent bonded labour – ILO – May 3, 2013

Toddlers freed from brick kiln bondage – CNN – March 20, 2013

Bonded labour: Brick kilns biggest culprits, says report – Hindustan Times – September 8, 2012

Bonded Labour in India: Its Incidence and Pattern – ILO – 2005

And there are really too many, crying out loud, but not able to make much difference. The misery continues.

The brick kiln workers in ‘bonded conditions’ are taken in as faceless identities and they never know when they would get out. And most of them never realize the meaning of words or phrases like ‘freedom’, ‘bonded labour’, ‘slavery’, ‘labour laws’ or for that matter, ‘human rights’.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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