Mukti, an alliance to combat bonded labour

  1. Over 60 Non-governmental organisations (NGO) from across Karnataka, has formed an alliance called ‘Mukti’. The alliance seeks to work towards ending bonded labour and human trafficking.
  2. Bonded labour is generally described as a type of forced labour occurs when a person is forced to use their physical labour to pay off a debt. According to the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act (BLSAA), 1976, there are three elements that go into making a labour situation bonded: a) Being under an obligation such as repayment of loan, b) Meeting the obligation (that is, repaying the loan) through unpaid or underpaid labour or service and c) Having no freedom to escape the obligation.
  3. Article 23(1) of the Constitution prohibits “beggar” and other similar forms of forced labour and further provides that any contravention of the said prohibition shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
  4. The bonded labour system was abolished in India through the enactment of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act (BLSAA), 1976. The Act seeks to free all bonded labourers, cancel their debts, establish rehabilitative measures and punish the offender through imprisonment and fine.
  5. Further, The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 identifies trafficking for forced labour as an “aggravated” form of trafficking.
  6. The government of India has Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour Scheme, 2016 to facilitate rehabilitation of bonded labourers. Under the scheme, financial assistance of Rs. 1 lakh is provided for rehabilitation of a rescued adult male bonded labourer and 2 lakh for rescued for special category beneficiaries such as children including orphans or those rescued from organized & forced begging rings or other forms of forced child labour, and women.