Modern slavery; bounding generations

Human trafficking is an organized crime as well as it’s a billion-dollar industry, human trafficking is when someone irrespective of their gender and age is forcefully or by deception transported from one place to another for ulterior motives like labor, organ harvesting, prostitution, beggary and bonded labor that may comprise of debt bondage and peonage. This happens when people give themselves into slavery as security against a loan or when they inherit a debt from a relative. Unfortunately, while the worker labors to repay the debt, more debt is added and he can’t possibly break this cycle.

Pakistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically in the context of forced labor and prostitution. Estimates of bonded labor victims including men, women, and children, vary widely but are likely well over one million.

Human trafficking in general is a national as well as a global issue. Pakistan has ratified 36 conventions, including the two fundamental Conventions on Forced Labor (No. 29 and 105). A national legal and policy framework that protects and promotes the rights of bonded laborers has been in place since 1992. A National Policy and Plan of Action on Bonded Labor was formulated in 2001. The ILO has been providing technical assistance through the government, employees’ and workers’ organizations to implement the existing framework.

According to the Global Slavery Index (2018), Pakistan ranks as 8/167 countries for modern slavery. One of those forms, considered as modern slavery, is Bonded Labor. Per ILO global estimates of 2016, 25 million people were in forced labor out of which 54.9% were concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S Department of Labor's 2020 list of goods produced under forced labor or bonded labor in Pakistan included: Cotton, Sugarcane, Wheat (Agriculture) Bricks, Carpets, Glass Bangles (Manufacturing) and Coal (Mining).

Bonded Labor; which is a special type of Forced Labor, exists mainly in Asian and agricultural societies. Actually, this type of labor mostly crops up in cases where monetary/financial deals occur such as loans.

According to the research, reason of this many bonded labor cases is due to poverty, poor living condition, and unorganized and weak governmental system, many people in rural areas are given loan and when they can’t pay back, the lender kidnaps the borrowers loved ones to force them to work for free on their fields, or take them to city to work in their industrial areas without any pay for hours and this cycle never seems to end as more debt is added and the generations continue to work in such bad