By Simrin Singh, Senior Specialist on Child Labour, ILO DWT for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific, 29 April 2015
The leather tanneries of northern India, and the workers were Muslim. The fishing boats and shrimp peeling sheds of Thailand, and the workers were Burmese. The agricultural lands of Nepal, and the workers were Kamaiyas (a caste of landless bonded agricultural labourers). What do these workers have in common? Sadly, a lot. The world of work for these men and women, and their children is a world where child labour and forced labour are part of the inter-generational reality, where alternative options are seemingly none, where the work is “3D” (dirty, dangerous, and demeaning), and where a centuries old culture of exploitation of minority or underprivileged segments of society is deeply rooted. The fact that child labour and forced labour are illegal unfortunately carries little weight.
Creating choices out of the wretchedness of this world of work is a key part ...