Bonded and Forced Labour in Pakistan
What is Bonded Labour?
Bonded labour, also known as debt bondage, is probably one of the least known forms of slavery today but responsible for enslaving millions of people around the world. A labourer becomes bonded when his or her labour is demanded in repayment for a loan. This advance is known as `peshgi’ in Pakistan. The person is then tricked or trapped into working for very little or no pay, often for seven days a week. The value of their work is invariably greater than the original sum borrowed. A child is considered bonded labour when he/she inherits debt; when the child is used as collateral for a loan; and when the child takes an advance on expected future wages.
The bonded labourer essentially forfeits his/her right to employment, right to move freely, and right to appropriate and sell his or a family members’ property or product of his labour at market value. These are a range of violations of internationally recognized human rights and further include the right not to be held in slavery, the right not to be imprisoned arbitrarily and the right to freedom of association as in trade unions.