Tamil Nadu Government Commits to Uphold Dignity of Exploited Labourers
The Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu stated, “We will free Tamil Nadu of bonded labour.” This landmark commitment was made at an event that celebrated the freedom of former bonded labourers from all across Tamil Nadu. Over 1000 released bonded labourers were present for this event, the 19th of September 2018.This assurance given by the Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu marks a turning point in history. It indicates the beginning of the end of bonded labour in Tamil Nadu.
Merlin Freeda, Director of IJM in her address commended the Tamil Nadu government for their proactive work towards ending bonded labour in the State. She mentioned that the policies – State Action Plan and Uniform Procedure – are revolutionary steps taken by the government to address bonded labour in Tamil Nadu.
In response, the Deputy Chief Minister said that surveys will be rolled out and that budget should not be a hurdle for victims to access rehabilitation. He stated that there is adequate budget for the same.
The Deputy Chief Minister honoured bonded labour survivors who have grown from being victims to victors – survivors who have led other bonded labourers to freedom, helped others in their community to access government benefits and have worked with the government, and NGOs to help build their communities.