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our projects on slavery IN INDIA

Anti-Slavery International’s work in India focuses on bonded labour, labour exploitation and trafficking. Recognising that external and internal migration poses a heightened threat to vulnerable workers across sectors, Anti-Slavery International works to ensure that migrant workers – naturally seeking a better life for their families—are protected against exploitation and human rights abuses.

Our primary focus is on bonded labour in India’s brick kilns, but we also tackle domestic servitude and ensure safe migration from India to the Gulf, where construction workers are often put to work in conditions amounting to slavery.

Anti-Slavery International is unique in that it is the only organisation that works in both destination and source states, educating workers on their rights before they leave and helping them once they arrive at their destinations. Unlike any other charity working in India, we work not just in villages, but in the brick kilns themselves.

OUR WORK oN BONDED LABOUR

Anti-Slavery International has fought against bonded labour in India’s brick kilns for a quarter century. Although it is illegal, bonded labour is endemic within India’s brick industry.  The seasonal nature of the work and the fact that a great many workers are migrants from other states, to which they return in the off-season, means that the cycle of debt and bondage continues.

We focus on the source state of Chattisgarh and the destination state of Punjab, working with local partners Volunteers for Social Justice (VSJ) in the Punjab, Centre for Education and Communication (CEC) in Delhi and Jan Jagriti Kendra (JJK) in Chattisgarh. Our work includes:
  • Regular sessions on labour rights for tens of thousands of workers
  • Regular site visits to over 150 brick kilns, monitoring workers’ conditions and advocacy with kiln owners
  • Emergency hotline and rehabilitation centre
  • Securing the issuance of bonded labour release certificates
  • Taking up legal cases and complaints to authorities about bonded labour, supporting workers to obtain unpaid wages and compensation
  • Supporting workers to find alternative employment
  • Facilitating access to government entitlements, bank accounts and ID cards to ensure workers don’t fall back into debt bondage
  • Training and community meetings about safe migration, labour rights and bonded labour in in 200 villages across Chattisgarth, the key source state where the workers migrate from
  • Facilitation of creating workers’ groups to tackle issues together, and selecting leaders
  • Lobbying local, district, state and the national government in India to implement existing laws on bonded labour, as well as placing pressure through international mechanisms, such as the United Nations and the International Labour Organization.
Our work also focuses on women and children, ensuring women can access equal pay to counter the practice of men receiving pay for the whole family, and facilitating children’s access to education.

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Man laying bricks down to dry Whole families can be forced to work at a brick kiln.
©Bishnu Sarangi / pixabay.com/en/users/sarangib