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Oct 07 2013

Age of Kali – Our Own Enemy

In India there is a problem that often goes unreported. Mainly because people don’t realise it’s a crime.

Human Traffic worldwide is irrevocably associated with the sex trade, but the fact remains that the main target of the traffic industry is to supply cheap labour.

In the USA this may be the various Mexican day labourers and cleaning staff who came from illicit crossings, but in India there is an internal economy of it’s own to supply the demand for workers in the city.

Where Does Your Maid/Cook come from?

India does not treat such workers well. Many are sold into the traffic industry as a “blessing”. To these people this is the only way out. They are not selling their son to slavery, they are giving him a chance at a better life. And in some ways it is a “better” life. But it’s exchanging one set of problems for another.

And one of the problems is that the system is exploitative.

The way I explain it to colleagues is this. The early salary for an Indian doctor is roughly 12 to 16,000 rupees a month.

What if I offered you to come to my country to work? What if I offered you 100,000 Rupees a month?

Anyone would snap that up, but I know how the game is played. 100,000 Rupees a month in the UK is £1000. Below the minimum wage. (£14,500 a year). In many parts of the Middle East and indeed in the rural parts of India this little scam takes place using conversion rate and a lack of understanding of different prices in different parts of the country.

This has lead to a massive market of workers who sign on to such deals and get stuck working in frankly awful conditions.

And this was seen in Delhi last week where a teenager working as a servant is recovering in hospital after being rescued from her employer’s home where she was (allegedly) beaten and attacked with a sharp implement. As of now here employer has been arrested.

Anti-trafficking campaigners who rescued the victim said she was 15 years old, but police said she was 18.

It is believed that this is a case of such “Bonded Labour”, a scheme where a worker agrees to work off a debt at rather atrocious rates.

I prefer to call it by it’s old name. Indebtured Labour. Also known as “Debt Slavery” and one of the most common forms of slavery in the world today. And slavery today? There are more slaves today than have ever been at any other point in human history.

Something to keep in mind when you wonder about where your workers come from, or how the hidden parts of your nation function. Lest we forget? Such debt slavery happens EVEN in the UK and the USA.

Just far from our eyes.

1 comment

  1. 1
    Ani J. Sharmin

    It’s easy to talk about slavery as though it’s a thing of the past, even though it still exists today. There are so many people who are horribly treated, working for very little in really bad workign conditions. This is also one of the reaons why it always bothers me when people talk about [insert group here] “stealing” their jobs, when really the people supposedly “stealing” them are being exploited.

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