Millions of people in India and Pakistan are victims of a modern form of slavery known as bonded labor or peshgi. As Dawood Ahmed writes in The Express Tribune, Pakistan and India remain amazingly ineffective at cracking down on bonded labor. Despite over a million laborers being enslaved in Pakistan’s brick kiln industry alone,
As at 2009, the Pakistani government had not convicted a single person of using bonded labour, even though a law was passed in 1992 that criminalised holding bonded labour; additionally, between 1989 and 2006 only 8,530 bonded labourers were freed in Pakistan. The Indian government’s record is equally dismal: In the five year period between 2001 and 2006, even the heavily affected state of Tamil Nadu reported a mere 1,679 cases of bonded labour.
Former Team Mead associate Ben Skinner has worked on global slavery issues for years, and has written an excellent book on the subject. Publicizing this evil is an important part of fighting it; countries that tolerate widespread, flagrant slavery should feel the shame.