“Laborers are deprived of all kind of rights, all over the world”. Explain and illustrate the provision protecting the rights of laborers.
Labor means to do hard physical work.1The constitution is a whole system of a country; it is the collection of rules which establish and regulate or govern the Government. All these rules together determine the entity of a country. Like the other countries, Bangladesh also has a constitution which is written down in the form of legal document. Here our focus is one of the important consideration which is mentioned in the fundamental rights portion (part III) of the constitution is “All forms of Forced labor are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.”
Although, it has been pledged in the constitution that it shall be the fundamental responsibility of the state to secure the fundamental rights and freedom of all citizens in the country but the government has failed to enforce this prohibition effectively. Although there are mechanisms to fight against the forced labor but due to the lack of resources and potential effort the forced labor is still a problem in Bangladesh and numerous cases can be found in this regard.
Forced labor refers to unfree labor, or slave labor that is a collective term for a variety of work relations in which people are employed against their will, often under threat of destitution, detention, violence (including death), or other extreme hardship to themselves or family members. Forced labor includes the serfdom, debt bondage, prisoners of war, and convict labor, as well as all forms of slavery.
Child labors below the accepted age can also be considered as forced labor. In Bangladesh a significant portion of the forced labor is consist of the child labors. The other portion of this segment consists of the domestic servants whose conditions resemble servitude and the trafficked women and children who works as prostitutes or compelled to work against their will in different places of the world.
Forced labor was a common phenomenon in the late eighteenth century and in the early nineteenth century. At that time people were bound to do work. Their consent had no value and employers also did not pay heed regarding their matter. 1926 Slavery Convention was the first attempts from any world organization which banned the slavery activities. It is said that, “The parties agreed to prevent and suppress the slave trade and to progressively bring about the complete elimination of slavery in all its forms”.
Forced labor condition in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a densely populated third world country. Although it poses a very little area but the population compared to the area is extremely high that is 160 million. As a result, poverty goes hand in hand with the people of Bangladesh that have not only reduce the people’s standard of life but also made them to involve in different kind of legal or illegal activities only for the sake of livelihood. There are the laws but the law is not working to save the citizen. Some critical factors of forced labors are given below.For this very same reason the Forced labor takes place in Bangladesh and it becomes difficult for the government to take proper action to address this issue.
In 2009 human rights report US department of state claims that the situation of forced labor in the country has been deteriorating from the last couple of years. Due to the large population with a poor economic condition, Bangladesh has become a hub of men, women and children for the purpose of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Prostitution is one of the prime reasons for this trafficking. Children both male and female are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation, bonded labor and other forms of forced labor. Statistics of different sources suggests that since 2004, between10,000 to 29,000 children have exploited in prostitution in Bangladesh. Some of them are sold due the financial bondage of their poor parents and others are coerced into labor or commercial sexual exploitation through fraud and physical coercion. According to the Center of Women and child studies report the age of the trafficked boys are usually bellow 10 years while the age of the girls are between 11 to 16 years. Women and children are also trafficked to abroad for sexual exploitation. Bangladeshi men and women who migrate willingly to abroad to work mostly in Middle East like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE work as domestic servants and some find themselves in situations of forced labor when faced with restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Besides, Bangladeshi workers migrate to Malaysia, Jordan, Finland work in the construction sector sometimes induced to Forced labor by the fraudulent job offers and often the arrival of the destination country. Some Bangladeshi adults are also trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and bonded labor.
Government’s action towards the forced labor prohibition
Among the forced labor problem of Bangladesh the trafficking is the most acute one as the government has taken some notable steps to reduce illegal trafficking. By the repression of Women and Children Act 2000 (amended in 2003) the government prohibits the buying and selling of a minor under age 18 for prostitute in Articles 372 and 373 under the penal code 1860. However, the prescribed penalties of imprisonment up to one year or the fixed fine inadequate todeter the offense.
The government’s effort of addressing the labor forms of trafficking has improved in some areas but it remains poor in bonded labor and forced child labor. So far, the government of Bangladesh has shut down five recruiting agencies and initiated four labor prosecutions against the recruiting firms. Besides, there has been 76 arrests,19 investigations and 34 prosecutions for the recruitment fraud. However, the government of Bangladesh has not reported any specific information regarding any arrests, prosecution, convictions and punishments of forced labor and child labor.
Besides these human trafficking is one of the main problems for Bangladesh in labor sector. This trafficking occurs because of commercial sexual exploitation, bonded labor, and forced labor in different countries.
With a view to address the sex trafficking offense the government of Bangladesh has conducted 123 investigations and made 106 arrests and have initiated 101 prosecutions of sex trafficking offenses. However, due to the length of the court cases, many of the cases has resolved illegally out the of the court settlements in between the victims and the traffickers. About 18 of the convicted traffickers received imprisonment sentences and the two of the convicted traffickers received 10 to 14 years imprisonment. Besides, 20 investigations have also conducted to determine the government complicity in the trafficking. However, no government officials were prosecuted, punished or convicted due to the lack of evidence.
Human Rights versus Forced Labor:
Employee and employer both have the right to choose where they are going to work and whom they are going to recruit. Employee is free to quit at any time and the employer can adjust its workforce as it sees fit.This is known as employment at will. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that, “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment,… and to protection against unemployment”. It is the moral norms that one should not punish other without any reason. One cannot do any immoral behavior. International Covenant on Civil Rights and Political rights says that “No one shall be held in slavery, Slavery and the slave trade in all their forms shall be prohibited” If employee do not make pressure or give threaten to its lazy workers then the productivity will decrease on the other hand this process is punishable offence in term of the constitution of Bangladesh. So there is a huge dilemma in terms of human rights and forced labor. To get the proper productivity employers or managers need to cajole their workers by luring or threatening. An employer knows best by how he can manage his subordinates. So forcing or showing threaten in some perspective is healthy in the organizational benefit.
Findings and Analysis:
· Although the prohibition of all kind of forced labor and punishment based on the violation of this issues is pledged is pledged in the fundamental rights of the constitution of Bangladesh that must be secured; but the efforts taken by the government is not up to expectation and it has failed to ensure this fundamental right to all the citizens of Bangladesh.
· The existing laws and punishments are inadequate to address this forced labor problem properly.
· The government did not provide any evidence of increasing effort to fight with the forced labor problem in terms of labor trafficking, sexual off.
· Improve criminal law enforcement efforts and punishment of government complicity in trafficking.
· Provide protection services for adult male trafficking victims of forced labor.
The existing labor and industrial laws are in favor of the employers while not in favor of the workers in Bangladesh. In this country, the existing laws regarding laborers are primitive in nature. Lack of a proper execution system of the laws is the main cause in the ignorance of labor rights. Laborers are deprived of all kind of rights, all over the world. This deprivation puts the labor class in an extreme position, which requires them to reinforce their rights. Labor rights in Bangladesh are not justifiable under the existing labor laws and lack of proper execution system of those existing laws is the main course for not ensuring labor rights. Forced labor is prevalent in Bangladesh because of poor economic condition and lack of education. These two are the main reasons for all. There will be no forced labor if people are aware of their rights. It means if people are educated then they will be conscious about the fundamental and moral rights. Employer cannot suppress employee on the other hand employee will know their right so they will not compromise with the employer at all.
1. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Seventeenth edition, Editor Sally Wehmeier, Oxford University Press 2005, New York, Page 605 ISBN 0-19-431665-3.
2. CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH, Part Three Fundamental rights P.10
3. C29 Forced Labour Convention, 1930, retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C029, retrieved on 16-10-2011.
4. Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum, Emerging economic scenarios. Retrieved from http://human-rights.unglobalcompact.org/dilemmas/forced-labour/ retrieved on 16-10-2011.
5. Human trafficking in Bangladesh – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Bangladesh retrieved on 16-10-2011
6. Barnes A. J. Dworkin T. M., Richard E. L.(2000) Law for Business Craig S Beytien. ISBN- 0-07-365917-7
7. Malik T. (2000) Human Rights Law: A Manual on Human Rights Training Programme for Lawyers. Part twelve-Right to Work., P. 513 and 509
8. A.K.Sen (2001). Commercial Law and Industrial Law. Kolkata: The World Press Private Limited.
 Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Seventeenth edition, Editor Sally Wehmeier, Oxford University Press 2005, New York, Page 857 ISBN 0-19-431665-3.
 Const. of the People’s Republic of Bangl., art. 34, § 1 (1972), available at http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/pdf_part.php?act_name=&vol=XV&id=367 (select “34. Prohibition of forced labour” hyperlink).
4 C29 Forced Labour Convention, 1930, retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C029, retrieved on 16-10-2011
 Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum, Emerging economic scenarios. Retrieved from http://human-rights.unglobalcompact.org/dilemmas/forced-labour/ retrieved on 16-10-2011,
 Human trafficking in Bangladesh – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Bangladesh retrieved on 16-10-2011
 Barnes A. J. Dworkin T. M., Richard E. L.(2000) Law for Business Craig S Beytien. ISBN- 0-07-365917-7
 Malik T. (2000) Human Rights Law: A Manual on Human Rights Training Programme for Lawyers. Part twelve-Right to Work. P.509
 Malik T. (2000) Human Rights Law: A Manual on Human Rights Training Programme for Lawyers. Part twelve-Right to Work., P. 513.