In the constitution of Bangladesh it is clearly written that all forms of forced labor are prohibited however it has not been effective yet-illustrate and explain.
The constitution of Bangladesh prohibits forced and child labor. There are inspection mechanism against forced and child labor in our country but this law and rules are not followed properly because of scarce enforcement. Laws regarding low wages, huge work load and occupational safety are not maintained properly.
The statistics might show a little use of forced labor but the reality is different. There are lots of women and children who are being used as domestic servants and prostitutes. In a poor society like ours, the extra income of children has huge importance in their families. Thus poor parents helplessly force their children to engage in unhealthy and dangerous works. This works may cause the children suffering from very bad diseases and some might through them towards death.
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in the “National Sample Survey of Child Labor in Bangladesh: 1995-96” defined child laborers as children in the age group of 5-14 years who were found to be working during the survey reference period (preceding 12 months of the day of survey). A child would be said to be a worker if he or she was working one or more hours for pay or working without pay in a family farm during the period. According to BBS the number of child laborers was 6.6 million in 1995-96. 19 percent of the total child population (5-14 years) was found to be economically active.
Other than child labor, there are many other forms of forced labor as well. Bonded labor is basically the least known form of forced labor. A person might have to work for another person for taking loan. If the person is unable to repay the loan then he or she would have to work for the loan giver.
Sex trafficking victims are generally found in dire circumstances and easily targeted by traffickers. In most of the cases people from very low demographic back ground, run away teens, refugees and drug addicts are the victims of sex trafficking.
What it forced labor?
Force labor means the enforcement of a person or an institution on another person to do certain works without his or her will. The person may or may not get paid for the work he or she is doing. According to Kevin Bales, one of the world’s leading experts on contemporary slavery, “people are enslaved by violence and held against their wills for purposes of exploitation.” While people today most likely believe that slavery is a thing of the past, the practice is still thriving wherever poverty, social conditions, and gullibility can be exploited. Bale estimates that there are 27 million slaves in the world today. (Kevin Bales, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, University of California Press, 1999).
Types of forced labor
There are many types of forced labor. Some of the main types of slavery include:
1. Debt bondage
3. Servile forms of marriage
4.Exploitation of children and adolescents
1. Debt bondage:
The practice of debt bondage is an ancient phenomenon in our country. From ancient times the land owners and debtors have been practicing this type of enforcement of labor. The debtor gives loan to a poor person and that person is bound to be controlled by the debtor. The debtor makes that person do his personal chores until he gets his liquid back.
A tenant, by law, custom or agreement is bound to live and labor on land belonging to another person, whether for reward or not, and is not free to change his status. This scenario is very common with our poor farmers. They don’t have any land, so they have to borrow land from the land lords and are bound to work for them.
3. Servile forms of marriage:
Awoman, without any right to refuse, is given in marriage on payment of a consideration in money to her parents, guardian or the husband of a woman, his family, or his clan, has the right to transfer her to another person for value received or otherwise; or a woman on the death of her husband is liable to be inherited by another person.
4. Exploitation of children and adolescents:
Children, under eighteen years of age, delivered by the natural parents or by the guardians to another person in exchange of money or any other value are another form of exploitation and enforcement. That child may get sexually exploited or can be forced for labor.
Forced slavery has become a part of each and every person’s life in the society. The products we use, the service we get, every single thing is related to enforced labor. The domestic servants that we have at home, the service we get in a hotel by a little waiter, everything is a reflection of forced slavery.
Constitution of Bangladesh on forced labor
The laws about forced labor is under the human rights section in part III of the constitution. According to the constitution, part III, number 34;
1. All forms of forced labor are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
2. Nothing in this article shall apply to compulsory laor.
a. by persons undergoing lawful punishment for criminal offence; or
b. required by any law for public purpose.
Under the fundamental rights section, part III in the constitution, number thirty two says about protection of life and personal liberty. The society of our country believes in individual freedom. That is why it is mentioned in the constitution aswell. And in number thirty four it is clearly written that any kind of forced labor is prohibited and if any kind of occurrence takes place then the authority has the right to punish the accused person for enforcing labor.
Human trafficking and enforcement of labor in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a very good source for trafficking men, women and children, specifically for forced labor and prostitution. Men are victims of fake employers in the overseas. The human traffickers take full advantage of uneducated men and ultimately they become the victim of fraudulent employment and debt bondage. Children, both boys and girls are taken to foreign countries for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Some children are sold by their own parents. Women are trafficked to India for sexual exploitation.
Many of the Bangladeshis go to Middle East, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India for work. Most of them go through agencies, and many of the agencies are fake. Somehow the agencies send the people abroad and then the poor people find out that there is no work for them and all those promises of the agencies were illusions. At this point they are bound to do illegal works though they don’t intend to do so. Some of the agencies take high commission from the workers. Recent report on Malaysia indicated that Bangladeshi migrants pay more than three times the other migrants from other countries.
Bangladeshi women are trafficked basically for sexual exploitation. Also in our country children are forced to take steroids with extreme bad side effects by the pimps and brothel owners. Most of the children are in the age group of 15-18. Also women aged to 35 are forced to take steroids and other harmful drugs to look more attractive to the customers.
Bangladesh government does not allow the trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation or involuntary servitude under the Women and Children Act of 2000 (amended in 2003), and prohibits the selling and buying of a child under the age of 18 for prostitution in Articles 372 and 373 of its penal code. Ordered penalties under sex trafficking statute range from 10 years’ imprisonment to the death sentence. The most common sentence imposed on convicted sex traffickers is life imprisonment. Article 374 of Bangladesh’s penal code prohibits forced labor, but the penalties of imprisonment for one year or fine are not sufficient.
The Bangladesh government made limited efforts to stop human trafficking and forced labor till now. This problem has always been a threat to any government till time. Adult male victims of trafficking sexually exploited female and children are the main concerns. In the previous years, law enforcement officials rescued many victims but the government did not provide any shelter or other services to the victims.
NGOs provided legal, medical, and psychiatric services. In the recent years, many victims were served by government and NGO care facilities in Bangladesh. The Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment continued to operate shelters for female Bangladeshi victims of trafficking and exploitation in Riyadh and Jeddah. Law enforcement workers encouraged victims of trafficking, when recognized, to partake in investigations of their traffickers, but there were no evidences of the figure of sufferers who assisted in investigations of traffickers in the reporting period. The system did not punish victims for illegal acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
The Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), which is charged with management recruitment agencies and monitoring the condition of Bangladeshi workers abroad, regularly steers workers with criticism to BAIRA for decision. Workers are drawn to the BAIRA complaint device because it offers quick cash payouts and requires significantly less proof of paid fees – most fees charged were illegal and thus had no equivalent receipts. If there are “major” disputes, recruitment agencies may lose their licenses; however, NGOs report that friends and family members of agency heads successfully file for new licenses. Recruitment agencies may also acquire criminal charges.
The Bangladeshi government failed to stop human trafficking, enforced labor at abroad and at home. BMET collected about $830,000 in fines from employment agencies for fake recruitment practices. The government continued to allow BAIRA to set fees, license individual agencies, verify workers for overseas labor, and tackle most protest of emigrant laborers, while not exercising adequate mistake over this association of labor recruiters to ensure their practices do not ease debt bondage of Bangladeshi workers abroad.
The government made some other efforts to stop these problems. They tried many kinds of promotional activities like songs, drama and other promotional campaign in the government television and also in the radio. They tried to give the message through this sort of entertainment vehicles so that they could attract the uneducated mass people. But still they were not so successful.
There was a time when slavery, trade of slaves and forceful labor was very normal. But now human being has evolved more into a sensible species. We know the value of a life, we know about our rights. We cannot impose anything forcefully over anyone. We definitely do need each other’s help but we cannot force to make somebody do what we want without the person’s will. Thus we should be careful about our actions. The government, the laws and the constitution is for our betterment, the mass people’s betterment. We should be aware of the rules and laws and also obey them. The government should be more cautious about forced labor, human trafficking and exploitation. In the constitution of Bangladesh it is clearly written that all forms of forced labor are prohibited and there are punishments for not following the rules. The government must make people follow this law by any means.
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