‘Pakistan third in human slavery ranking’

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Modern slavery includes practices such as debt bondage, forced marriage and the sale or exploitation of children, as well as human trafficking. -File/AFP
Modern slavery includes practices such as debt bondage, forced marriage and the sale or exploitation of children, as well as human trafficking. -File/AFP

MULTAN: Pakistan ranks third in a list of 167 countries where human slavery is most severe.

This was stated by Justice and Peace Commission Executive Secretary Hyacinth Peter here on Saturday during a consultation session on ‘Existing Laws to Stop Bonded Labour: Gaps and Recommendations’. He said Pakistan stood third position in the Global Slavery Index (GSI).

Read: Nearly 36m people living as slaves across the globe, survey report

“Any kind of slavery is illegal and inhuman. High ratio of slavery in the country is a huge matter of concern and failure of state institutions to protect the rights of labourers. Proper implementation of minimum wages, provision of social security and access to other facilities could stop bonded labour,” he said.

Peter said according to the GSI over two million people were enslaved in Pakistan. Punjab and Sindh especially were “hotspots of bonded labour” in sectors like brick making.

“The sale and purchase of brick kiln labour has become a profitable job. Pakistan got freedom in 1947 but brick kiln labourers could not get freedom from bonded labour till today,” he added.

Also read| India, Pakistan have highest population of slaves in the world: report

He further said bonded labour was common in the brick kiln sector and majority of kilns were in Punjab. Labour laws especially Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1992 were not being implemented in the kiln industry and kiln owners were more powerful as compared to the state.

District Officer (Labour) Nusrat Kamal, Nadeem Parwaz, former MPA Amir Naveed Jewa, Altaf Mehmood Qurashi, former MPA Babu Nafees Ansari, Farhan Bhatti, Naeem Haroon and Sohail Javaid were among the participants who urged the government to enforce the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1992 as well as take all necessary steps to end the practice.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2015

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