State Conference on Bonded Labour in Contemporary Karnataka

The State Conference was a 2-day discussion held between 21st-22nd September, 2018 organized by International Justice Mission (IJM) in collaboration with the Rural Development and Panchayath Raj (RDPR), Government of Karnataka. St. Joseph’s College (Autonomous) served as the hosting partner and National Law School of India (NLSIU) as the knowledge partner for this event.

The overarching objective of the Conference was to create a platform for insightful, meaningful and action-driven discussion from a diverse trajectory of players pertinent to deconstructing the complexities of the Bonded Labour system in India.

The core objectives of the Conference were -

  • To examine the Neo/Contemporary Bonded Labour and its varied manifestations in Karnataka
  • To attempt a meaningful re-visiting of the laws and policies related to the Bonded Labour system especially the BLSA Act, 1976 and the challenges in implementation
  • To engage in a broader discussion on convergent approaches to tackle labour, migration, and trafficking issues
  • To collectively draw and learn from assorted preventive, interventionist and rehabilitation experiences
  • To actively include Bonded Labour System in the mainstream Social, Economic and Criminal discourses of the State.

The State Conference included various panel discussions and thematic sessions to bring out innovative solutions in tackling the scourge of bonded labour in Karnataka like ‘Transformations in the Bonded Labour system today’, ‘The Role of the State/Government in effectively combating Bonded Labour’, ‘The Role of the Judiciary and the Law in combating Bonded Labour’, ‘Convergent Approaches’ in combating Bonded Labour and Trafficking’, ‘Role of Corporates, Media and Civil Society’, ‘Best Practices on Rehabilitation and Reintegration (NGO's and Government)’ and ‘Building Conversations and Partnerships on Bonded Labour’.


One of the key highlights of the Event was the official launch of the Prevalence Study that captures the prevalence of bonded labour and migrant labourers’ experiences in three districts – Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural and Ramanagara - in the State of Karnataka by the Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Honorable Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah who also directed the gathering to make a commitment to address the crime of bonded labour.



Key dignitaries at the Event included Justice M. N. Venkatachalaiah, Former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India; Mr. D. V. Prasad, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka; Justice D. H. Waghela, Chairperson, Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC); Dr. Laxmidhar Mishra IAS (Retd), Former Union Labour Secretary, Government of India; Mr. D.B. Kasar, Principal Chief Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force (RPF), South-Western Railway; Ms. Debasmita Chattopadhyay, Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force (RPF), South-Western Railway; Mr. Krishnappa N. Kodipalya, Director, Rural Development and Panchayth Raj (RDPR); representatives from Karnataka Judicial Academy, NGO leaders, Corporates, Academia, Media amongst others.


A significant outcome of the 2-day State Conference is that an effective Multi-Stakeholder Action Plan or a Way Forward Vision Document to combat Bonded Labour System in Karnataka consolidating the insights, inputs, observations, deliberations and policy recommendations from the various key stakeholders will soon be submitted to the Government of Karnataka, State Human Rights Institutions and other departments.