6 bonded labourers rescued after raid on sericulture units

As many as six bonded labourers have been rescued from two sericulture units in Chikkaballapur, officials said Friday.

The case came to light when two labourers escaped from one of the units and managed to get in touch with a non-governmental organisation Janapriya, according to the International Justice Mission (IJM).

Janapriya claimed that the bonded labourers belonged to Bengaluru urban, Bengaluru rural and Ramanagara district, and some had spent five years to 10 years in confinement.

The NGO put the number of the labourers in the two units at 12.

However, the deputy commissioner of Chikkaballapur district P Anirudh Sravan told PTI that he has received a release order from the assistant commissioner for six people.

He added that the number may go up if the inquiry confirms that others, if any, were also bonded labourers.

Based on the complaints by the victims, the two sericulture units were raided and the bonded labourers were freed.

The Sidlaghatta police registered two cases under the Bonded LabourSystem (Abolition)Act, 1976 and section 370 (Trafficking in Persons) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Child Labour(Prohibition and Regulation)Act, 1986.

IJM director (branding and communication) Deena Rodrigues told PTI that these labourers were trapped by the agents and the owner in the vicious debt cycle.

"These bonded labourers had not idea that they were actually bonded labourers, such practice is prohibited under law and they have to dial 100 to seek police help, said Rodrigues.

Sharing the story of a rescued bonded labourer, the NGO director said that a 26-year-old worker spent 10 years in bondage working to pay off a debt of Rs 40,000 given to his parents 10 years ago.

His parents also worked at the factory for four years till his father died and his mother was allowed to leave because she was diagnosed with cancer, she added.

Another bonded labourer from Magadi and her four- year-old son spent six months in bondage after she had taken an advance of Rs 60,000.

She told the NGO that she was not given any wages but was given two meals a day.

She complained that she was given water to bathe only once a month and said that her son and her developed a skin disease from working in the sericulture unit and for not being able to bathe.

Source: https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/6-bonded-labourers-rescued-after-raid-on-sericulture-units-119022201154_1.html