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Krishna Kumar Singh, also known among friend circles KK and among close relative Krishna; Matriculation from Mithila High School Balour, Darbhanga in 1959, Graduated in Political Science Honours from C M College, Darbhanga, Bihar University in 1963; Joined post-graduate in Political Science the same year but dropped; joined Naxal movement under Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Satya Narayan Singh and Umadhar Singh in between but circumstances compelled to join literary work, clerk, proof readers etc in different publishing houses for livelihood; Finally joined journalism as career in different English newspapers and before my retirement from active journalism, I worked in The Times of India for about 19 years and retired as Chief Reporter  a few years back; continuing in journalism-reading more and more, writing more and more and praying to Almighty more and more-currently writing for different national English and Hindi dailies and magazines..

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

INDIA RANKED FIRST IN PREVALENCE OF SLAVERY AND FORCED LABOUR IN THE WORLD; SURVEY !



       One can never change his or her mind-set in the feudal-minded  society in  India ! Discrimination of dalits and poor in India is order of the day. Untouchablity  Act  is rarely implemented hardly in the country. Untouchablity prevails everywhere in India. Cases of untouchablity  are again order of the day in Tamil Nadu by Orthodox Tamilians, especially Brahimins.(Essays on discrimination in India on my link-www.kksingh1.blogspot.com).Notwithstanding, the India has abolished three decades back the bonded labour system under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, the system "continues  to be prevalent"  in the country.. This year also, amendments were, enacted to the Penal Code, in the wake of Delhi gang rape uproar in the Indian Parliament , which Act  now criminalises most forms of human trafficking and forced labour !
     
      India has the largest number of  people in the  world, who are living in conditions of  slavery caused by poverty, handed-down social customs and weak  enforcement of anti-slavery laws. Of the 30 million people world-wide, living in slavery-like conditions,14 million are Indians. The west African nation of  Mauritania ranked highest in the index in terms of percentage of population living in slavery-like conditions ( with about 150,000 out of a population of 3.8 million)..But in absolute numbers, India ranked the highest; While India leads in forced labour, the Communist China has some 2.9 million and Pakistan just above two million. bonded persons, Nigeria, Ethiopia,Russia, Thailand,the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma and Bangladesh round out the top ten, measured in absolute numbers. With about 4,000 slaves each, the UK, Ireland and Iceland claim the bottom spot. There are many faces of modern slavery ; according to a global survey report, published recently  by the Australia-based rights group-Walk Free Foundation at  Chatham House.

        The global survey index, compiled by the Walk Free Foundation, is the first global survey cataloguing forced labour on a country-to-country basis. "modern slavery is a  hidden crime,"notes Walk Free Foundation CEO Nick Grono. "it is forced labour, bounded labour. And everyone is tainted by it. The clothes we wear might be made from cotton picked by forced labour in Uzbekistan. The electronic games we play with might contain minerals extracted by forced labour in the Congo," Says Grono. Uzbekistan cotton pickers are not like U S's cotton-picking slaves of past generations; no body owns them. But they are in servitude nonetheless, children and adults forced by the government to work in cotton fields.. The co-founder of the organisation' Free The Slaves' and the index's author Prof. Kevin Bales says, " slavery takes place at the bottom of the ladder with small mom-and-pop criminal enterprises.. But some of these concerns grow. For example, fish and shrimp  processing in Bangladesh and India can get very big and these companies are supplying the European and North American frozen seafood market." .

       The report says , " today some people are still being born into hereditary slavery, a staggering but harsh reality, particularly in parts of West Africa  and South Asia. Other victims are captured  or kidnapped before being sold or kept for exploitation, whether through marriage, unpaid labour on fishing boats  or as domestic workers."The index ranked 162 countries based on human trafficking, forced labour, slavery or slavery-like  practices including debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, sale or exploitation of children including in armed conflict/ ( INDIA HAS BOOMING SEX TRADE-my essay on www.kksingh1.blogspot.com) The index says, " India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh together constitute 75 percent of the total estimate of 29.8 million people  in modern slavery. That estimates is higher than the INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION (ILO)'s estimate of 21 million victims of forced labour."

       As the story goes if you visit a Haitian home and see a child making coffee or washing dishes, do not assume it is one of the family's children going about their weekly chores. It is more likely that the child is a restavek, forced domestic labour. A Port-au- Prince-based social entrepreneur and presidential adviser Hans Tippeenhauer has explained, "there is supposed to be a social contract whereby the employees take care of their restaveks and send them to school. But most often that is not the case. these children are abused". Though Mauritania is worse than Haiti, restaveks make up the lion's share of the Caribbean nation's forced labour. Some 250,00 to 3000,000 children cook and clean for families in large cities. they have no choice because their own parents are unable to look after them. A Haitian construction executive Greg Figaro, has explained, " it is not even seen as abuse. It is also a bit of status symbol. If you have a restavek, it means you are better off than the child's parents

       With regards to India, the report (index) points out the failure of the Indian government to make use of its "power and resources" to eradicate slavery. "Until recently, the response to human trafficking focused almost exclusively on the sexual exploitation of women and children and other forms of human trafficking including those affecting men were barely recognised", the report says and adds," national leaders tend not to recognise the violent criminality of bonded labour and instead see it as a vestige of poverty."

      But the hidden crime by definition, is hard to tackle. Andrew Forrest, the Australian mining magnate and founder of the Walk Free Foundation, was not even aware of forced until his daughter unwittingly worked alongside African slaves labourers during gap year. And corporations often turn a blind eye. Nintendo, for example is accused of  remaining cavalier about the possibility of slave labour in its supply chain. The anti- slavery group Walk Free has launched a petition to make the electronics company take further steps to ensure slave-minded minerals are not used in their gaming consoles. As the grassroots campaign against blood diamonds has shown, consumers can be  a formidable power. : Slaves labour is becoming an increasing reputational problem" says Grono. "Even if companies do not want to end forced labour because its unethical, they will be forced to do so because being tainted by slave labour is bad for business."

         The Guardian  Professional essay, written by  Elisabeth Braw has disclosed that bowing to customer pressure, H&M and Machael Kors recently banned supplies that use Uzbek cotton. Now activists are pressing Nike to take similar action. While Nike has pledged not to buy Uzbek cotton, it still sources synthetics from Daewoo International, the largest processor of cotton in Uzbekistan. According to a recent report by the Enough Project, while Nintendo has made little efforts to eliminate conflict materials from its devices, manufacturers like Intel and HP have taken decisive action. But the consumer activism will not help the slaves whose toil never touches the global supply chain. In Haiti, no politician would dare tackle the restavek issue, reports Tippenhauer. " we need a law regulating how domestic work should be remunerated. The restaveks get food, board and nothing else.But parties do not win votes by having restaveks on their agendas,  and the parliamentarians have domestic workers themselves. Those domestic workers, in turn, often employ restaveks in their own homes. In Order to pay restaveks popular wages, you would have to pay your own employees better. So nothing happens."

REFERENCES :- Websites of The INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION;  The WALK FREE  FOUNDATION;  THE TIMES WEEKLY; THE GUARDIAN; THE INDIA GOVERNMENT; THE GLOBAL SURVEY INDEX; THE UZBEKISTAN GOVERNMENT; AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT;THE H&M; THE MICHAEL KORS; THE DAEWOO INTERNATIONAL;etc 

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