Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia

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Columbia University Press, 2012 M09 25 - 320 pages

Siddharth Kara's Sex Trafficking has become a critical resource for its revelations into an unconscionable business, and its detailed analysis of the trade's immense economic benefits and human cost. This volume is Kara's second, explosive study of slavery, this time focusing on the deeply entrenched and wholly unjust system of bonded labor.

Drawing on eleven years of research in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, Kara delves into an ancient and ever-evolving mode of slavery that ensnares roughly six out of every ten slaves in the world and generates profits that exceeded $17.6 billion in 2011. In addition to providing a thorough economic, historical, and legal overview of bonded labor, Kara travels to the far reaches of South Asia, from cyclone-wracked southwestern Bangladesh to the Thar desert on the India-Pakistan border, to uncover the brutish realities of such industries as hand-woven-carpet making, tea and rice farming, construction, brick manufacture, and frozen-shrimp production. He describes the violent enslavement of millions of impoverished men, women, and children who toil in the production of numerous products at minimal cost to the global market. He also follows supply chains directly to Western consumers, vividly connecting regional bonded labor practices to the appetites of the world. Kara's pioneering analysis encompasses human trafficking, child labor, and global security, and he concludes with specific initiatives to eliminate the system of bonded labor from South Asia once and for all.


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An Overview
Kamaiya and Hari
3 Bricks and Bidis
4 Shrimp and Tea
5 Construction and Stone Breaking
6 Carpets and Other Sectors
7 Bonded Labor and the Law
8 Tackling Bonded Labor
Select Bonded Labor Economics
Select Bonded Labor Supply Chains
Bonded Labor as Defined by Indias Bonded Labour System Abolition Act 1976
Bonded Labor Law and Cases Pakistan Nepal Bangladesh India
Select Economic and Human Development Statistics
Works Cited

Global Slavery Metrics 2011

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About the author (2012)

Siddharth Kara is Director of the Carr Center Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and Fellow on Forced Labor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Kara speaks and consults extensively on contemporary slavery worldwide and advises several governments on antitrafficking policy and law. His first book, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, received Yale University's prestigious Frederick Douglass Book Prize.

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