Our Northern India hotspot is reducing trafficking, bonded labour and harmful child labour in two of India’s poorest states.
Hotspot start date: January 2014
Despite India’s strong laws, high levels of bonded labour are still documented in a range of industries including brick kilns, stone quarries, agriculture, construction, domestic work and sexual exploitation. Debt bondage is the main mechanism, in which workers take out loans or they inherit inter-generational debts at extortionate rates from local landowners – and then they are forced to work for that same employer. The vast majority of bonded labourers face severe discrimination because they are dalits (castes that have been treated as “untouchables”).
Of the 28 states in India, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh rank among the poorest on a variety of human development indicators, and in addition, they have large populations of dalits and adivasi (India’s indigenous minority groups). Combined in some cases with poor enforcement of the relevant laws, these issues result in a concentration of bonded labour and trafficking affecting the poorest communities. In many places, there is a culture of fear and silence around bonded labour, sexual exploitation and trafficking that increases the vulnerability of each family, as they face these issues on their own.
Multiple evaluations have found that the Freedom Fund’s labour interventions stop abuses, protect workers and change structural conditions to keep families out of bonded labour in our 1,100 target villages in northern and southern India. Read our Evidence in Practice paper.
The considerable impact already achieved has been the result of the following strategies being implemented over the past five and a half years through the Freedom Fund’s hotspot program:
In 2020, the northern India hotspot will enter its third strategy phase. The new phase will build on the program’s achievements and the learning and evidence gathered so far to inform more intensive efforts to engage government systems for state-wide impact to address the exploitation of children in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. During this next phase of the program, the hotspot will focus on four key objectives:
Hotspot Annual Reports: