Tamil Nadu Government commits to end bonded labour, commends IJM’s work

20 September 2018

“We will free Tamil Nadu of bonded labour...I wish every bonded labourer would spread their wings like a free bird and fly to a free life of happiness and prosperity.”
- Thiru. O. Paneerselvam, Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

This landmark statement was made by Thiru. O. Panneerselvam, the Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, at an event celebrating the freedom of over 1,000 released bonded labourers from across the state of Tamil Nadu on 19th September 2018. Commending IJM for their efforts in combating bonded labour, he said that IJM will find a place in Tamil Nadu’s history.

State Government’s response to bonded labour

The Deputy Chief Minister, representing the Tamil Nadu Government, addressed the survivors of bonded labour and assured them that the Tamil Nadu Government will free the State of bonded labour, rescue victims, provide adequate rehabilitation for survivors and roll out a survey to monitor the crime.

An excerpt from Thiru. O. Paneerselvam’s speech:

Protecting the individual’s liberty, nurturing social justice and caring for the welfare of labourers are fundamental elements of Amma’s government. Hence, in whichever form the exploitation of labour is, especially if it is in the form of bonded labour, proper action will be taken to stop that. Apart from this, I affirm strongly that this government of Amma is functioning with a firm belief that our prime duty is to make Tamil Nadu a bonder-labour free state.

In the year 2016, the then Union Minister for Labour and Employment declared in Parliament that 1 crore 48 lakh labourers are in forced or bonded labour across India for the loans they had taken. He also said that all of them will be rescued and rehabilitated by the year 2030.

Above all, this year, the Anti Human Trafficking Bill was placed before the Parliament. During the discussion on this bill, Central Minister, Ms. Menaka Gandhi in an appreciating tone said, “In fighting against exploitation of labour, we have learnt more lessons from Tamil Nadu.” This is the best example for how the work of our Tamil Nadu Government is creating an impact at the national level.

Thiru. O. Paneerselvam, Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu