Bonded Labour in India: its Incidence and Pattern

Extensive research from the recent literature on bonded labour, compiling evidence from academic sources, the Government of India, the National Human Rights Commission, other NGOs and press reports.

The review provides compelling evidence of the persistence of bonded labour in a wide range of economic sectors and in many different States. Although the more traditional forms of agrarian labour attachment in India have declined substantially, new forms of bondage have emerged in more modern agricultural as well as in the informal economy. Migrant labourers appear particularly vulnerable to bonded labour exploitation today, through recruitment systems where labour contractors and intermediaries lure ill-informed workers from their home communities with advance payments and false promises of well-paid, decent work.
The paper also addresses some of the proactive measures taken by the Government of India, its civil society partners and the ILO to address the prevention and rehabilitation of bonded labour.