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19 Mar 2023

Staff Correspondent, Dawn (Pakistan)

Pakistan: Exponential increase in bonded labour in Sindh following last year's floods and govt's failure to implement 2015 law


"Govt looks the other way as landlords trap flood-hit peasants in debt bondage", 19 March 2023

The Sindh government’s failure to implement the Sindh Bonded Labour System Abolition Act, 2015, in letter and spirit has led to an exponential increase in bonded labour in the wake of last year’s devastating floods making homeless and penniless peasants an easy prey for landlords and farm input dealers.


...Bonded labour had increased poverty and malnutrition among the poor. As many as 190 bonded labourers had been liberated on courts’ orders, including 56 children and 63 women, so far since the calamity struck the province.


...In the absence of government support enforcement of the law most of the peasants and farm workers had started working landlords for under informal terms and conditions, which were mostly beneficial to their employers.


The Sindh government must ensure that Rs25,000 wage was paid to all workers and punishment was awarded to violators of the minimum wage law. The government should strengthen monitoring mechanisms by increasing number of labour inspectors and labour courts so that workers could approach them for protection of their rights.