“One of the most common forms of restraining from freedom comes through forced labor. Forced labor is an exercise of obligatory labor demanded by a state or by state agents, other than as a penalty for a criminal offence”-Explain.

INTRODUCTION

Man is a social being living in a society with his free will. He/she has an absolute freedom of speech and action. This freedom must be appreciated by the constitution of that country and shouldn’t be forbidden or forced by the law of that country or anyone else. There are various kinds of civil and human rights obligated towards for every single citizen by the nation, which can be differentiated by intellectual, political, economic, judicial, to the freedom of expression, equity and justice.

There are many different ways to take away this freedom from men. One of the most common forms of restraining from freedom comes through forced labor. Forced labor is an exercise of obligatory labor demanded by a state or by state agents, other than as a penalty for a criminal offence.  It was pretty common in the French, Belgian, German, Portuguese and Spanish colonies in Africa, and, to a slighter degree, in the British colonies where the natives did such labor in lieu of taxation. It is also highly prevalent in Bangladesh due to its poor socio-economic stature. Forced labor goes head to head with slavery, as they both take away the freedom from the victim.

Just like every citizen has his/her right to freedom of speech, expression and actions, every nation has a duty and responsibility to ensure that the rights of its citizens are protected. In order to protect its people, every nation has its own set of rules. These set of rules is known as constitution. The constitution of Bangladesh is divided into 11 parts, which are subdivided into 153 articles. Moreover, it has 4 schedules. The main purpose of the constitution is to lay down the framework that defines the fundamental principles of the country’s politics and to spell out the fundamental rights of the citizens of Bangladesh. In Part III of the Constitution of Bangladesh, the fundamental rights of the citizens are clearly defined.  Part III is the backbone of protecting the fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression, of the citizens of Bangladesh.

 WHAT IS FORCED LABOR?

Forced labor is any kind of works or services which individuals are enforced to carry on in contradiction to their willingness under the warning of some kind of retribution. Nearly every servitude practices, comprising of trafficking in people and bonded labor, cover some components of forced labor. Forced labor is basically to be exacted by another person or persons so that a one’s actions does not define his/her life’s progression, and rewards for his/her labor and sacrifices are not his/her to privilege. Kevin Bales, one of the world’s top experts on present-day slavery said, “People are enslaved by violence and held against their wills for purposes of exploitation.” Though general public today presumably believe that forced labor is non-existent at present, the practice is still prevalent wherever poverty, social state of affairs, and gullibility can be oppressed.

Forced Labor includes:

1) The practices and establishments of debt bondage: the position or situation ascending from a pledge by a borrower of his private services or of those of an individual under his governance as collateral for a debt, if the worth of those services as realistically measured, is something not applied to the liquidation of the debt or the span and characteristics of those services are not respectively distinct and defined.

2) The practices and establishments of serfdom: the situation or status of an occupant who is by law, bound by tradition or contract to live and serve on property which belongs to someone else and to extract some determinate service to such other person, may or may not be for incentive, and is not unrestricted to change his status.

3) Submissive forms of marriage: a female, deprived of the right to decline, is sworn or offered in marriage on payment of a consideration in money or in kind to her parents, family, guardian or some other person or group; or the woman’s husband, his family, friends, or his tribe, has the right to handover her to another person for price obtained or otherwise; or a woman on the demise of her spouse is predisposed to be bequeathed to another person.

4) The mistreatment of children and adolescents: any establishment or exercise whereby a person under the age of 18 years, is provided by either or both of his parents or by his custodian to another person, whether for compensation or not, with a vision to exploit that person of his/her labor.

According to the estimation of The International Labor Organization (ILO) there are no less than 12.3 million people in forced labor worldwide.  Children are believed to be between 40 and 50 percent among all these forced laborers.

Of this total, around 2.4 million people are in forced labor as a consequence of human trafficking. Women and girls cover nearly all those trafficked into sexual manipulation and the majority of people trafficked into labor exploitation.  This suggests that around 80 percent of all people who are illegally trafficked for both economic and sexual exploitation are women and girls.

Forced labor is a worldwide problem, while some areas have superior records of individuals affected than others.  The regional distribution of forced labor is:

 According to the definition given by ILO: “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of a penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”.

This definition was introduced in the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29).  This Convention has been approved by over 170 countries and assists governments to “suppress the use of forced or compulsory labor in all its forms within the shortest possible period”. In 1972, Bangladesh ratified ILO Convention No. 29 (1930), the Forced Labour Convention. They also ratified ILO Convention No. 105 (1957), the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention.

The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also forbids the use of forced labor (Article 8) and has been approved by states more than 160.

CONSTITUTION OF BANGLADESH ON FORCED LABOR

Bangladesh has addressed issues of forced labor in specific terms in its Constitution. In the Part III: Fundamental Rights, Article 34 of the Constitution of Bangladesh, it is written:

“34. Prohibition of forced labour.

(1)   All forms of forced labour 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 labour.

(a) by persons undergoing lawful punishment for a criminal offence; or

(b) required by any law for public purpose.”

This article talks about two forms of forced labor- labor and commercial sexual exploitation. In Article 34(1) all forms of forced labor are outlawed, therefore, the forced labor is dealt with in the Constitution. Moreover, Article 31 of the Constitution promises every inhabitant that right to enjoy the safeguard of law wherever they may be. The inference of this provision is that to enjoy the protection of law it is not vital for a citizen to be on the land of Bangladesh. In other words, the government is indebted to guarantee the safety of law internally and extraterritorially. So, the commitment of Bangladesh state of repatriation of trafficked victims is highly implicit in this fundamental right section of the Constitution of Bangladesh.

 FORCED LABOR SCENARIO IN BANGLADESH

Bangladesh is a base and a transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and profit-making sexual manipulation. A substantial portion of Bangladesh’s trafficking fatalities are men hired for work abroad with deceitful work propositions who are consequently abused under circumstances of forced labor or debt bondage. Children, both boys and girls, are traded inside Bangladesh for commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, and bonded labor. A number of children are traded into servitude by their parents, while others are persuaded into labor or commercial sexual exploitation through deception and bodily intimidation. Women and children from Bangladesh are also traded to India and Pakistan for sexual exploitation.

According to activists, more than ten thousand individuals are used as bonded laborers in rural Bangladesh. Although it is unlawful, whole families, even children, are made obligated to their employers while they find it really difficult to repay loans. Thousands of children are being forced into bonded labor every day because of poverty and their parents’ joblessness. The major misfortune is that it all appears to go overlooked.

While uncommon in urban Bangladesh, bonded labor can often be seen in rural areas. Unlike in cities where labors are rewarded a regular wage, the rural labor force typically has to go for unwritten arrangements for payments, which are frequently manipulated by crooked landowners and loan sharks, known as Mahajan. Still another way to become bonded is being forced to ask for a loan due to a momentary monetary emergency, frequently initiated or aggravated by a low harvest or family emergency. When bonded, the laborer is at that point forced to work extended periods for almost no pay, sometimes seven days a week. Many, mostly women and children, end up as home servants, working in circumstances that are similar to enslavement. Many undergo bodily abuse, occasionally causing in death.

There is widespread trafficking in women and children, mainly to India, Pakistan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and inside the country, mostly for prostitution and in some occurrences for labor serfdom. The precise figure of women and children trafficked is unidentified.

Moreover, Bangladeshi men and women traveling to the Middle East and elsewhere for jobs, regularly confront bonded labor as a consequence of fake or illegitimate charges claimed by hiring representatives.

 EVALUATION AND RECOMMENDATION

Bangladesh does not completely fulfill the minimum criterions for the removal of forced labors; however, it is making noteworthy efforts to do so. Regardless of these important efforts, counting some advancement in addressing sex trafficking, the government did not exhibit enough development in taking legal action and convicting labor trafficking criminals, mainly those accountable for the hiring of Bangladeshi labors for the purpose of labor trafficking.

Incorporate anti-labor trafficking aims into nationwide anti-trafficking strategies and programs; considerably increase criminal trials and sentences for all methods of labor trafficking, including those containing deceitful labor hiring and forced child labor; carry on investigating and prosecuting government officers who may be alleged of involvement in trafficking; significantly progress oversight of Bangladesh’s 700 global recruiting agencies to make sure they are not upholding practices that add to labor trafficking; and offer safety services for grownup male trafficking victims and sufferers of forced labor.

Prosecution: The Government of Bangladesh made insufficient general anti-trafficking law application efforts over the last year. Bangladesh bars the trafficking of women and children for the reason of commercial sexual exploitation or forceful serfdom under the Repression of Women and Children Act of 2000 (amended in 2003), and forbids the selling and purchasing of a child under the age of 18 for prostitution in Articles 372 and 373 of its penal code. Recommended penalties under these sex trafficking laws vary from 10 years’ captivity to the death penalties; the most frequent verdict executed on sentenced sex traffickers is life sentence. These punishments are very rigorous and proportionate with those given for other severe crimes, such as rape. Article 374 from the penal codes of Bangladesh bans forced labor, but the given punishments of imprisonment for up to a year or a fine are inadequately stringent to prevent the offense. The government recently got the verdicts of 37 sex trafficking criminals, with 26 of them condemned to life imprisonment and 11 to reduced prison terms; this is a rise from the 20 verdicts got in 2007. The government also started 134 sex trafficking inquiries and sued 90 alleged sex trafficking cases. The Bangladeshi court system’s handling of sex trafficking incidents continued to be weighed down by a large accumulation and interruptions caused by bureaucratic ambiguities. Majority of the sex trafficking cases are put on trial by the 42 special courts for the prosecution of crimes of violence against women and children found all over 32 districts of the nation, which are usually well-organized than ordinary trial courts. Recently, the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) allegedly shut nine recruiting agencies, suspended seven agencies, cancelled the licenses of 25 agencies, fined six others and opened three fresh cases for their contribution in false recruitment practices that possibly aided human trafficking. Regardless of these governmental actions taken against labor recruitment agencies mixed up in duplicitous staffing and probable human trafficking, the government did not report any criminal trials or sentences for forced labor crimes. There were no stated trials or verdicts for forced child labor crimes. In mid-2008, the government formed a 12-member police anti-trafficking investigative division that pairs with a present police anti-trafficking observing cell. 2,827 police officers during the year were provided with anti-trafficking training by the country’s National Police Academy.

Protection: The Government of Bangladesh made inadequate efforts, inside the scope of its funds, to defend sufferers of trafficking over the last year. Though the government did not offer accommodation or other facilities devoted to trafficking sufferers, it kept running six homes for females and adolescent victims of violence, plus trafficking, as well as a “one-stop crisis center” for women and children in the Dhaka general hospital. Throughout the last year, Bangladeshi law prosecution officials recognized 251 trafficking victims, thought to be fatalities of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, and mentioned 204 trafficking sufferers to care services administered by the government itself or NGOs. The Overseas Employments and the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare continued to provide accommodations for female Bangladeshi sufferers of trafficking and exploitation in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, and Dubai. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs formed and dispersed among Bangladeshi diplomatic missions overseas a new announcement called “Guidelines for Bangladesh Missions Abroad to Combat Trafficking in Persons.” Law implementation workers encouraged sufferers of trafficking, when recognized, to contribute in inquiries and trials of their traffickers and normally did not punish sufferers for illegal actions committed as a straight outcome of their being trafficked. The government’s lack of hard work to safeguard sufferers of forced labor – who set up a large share of victims in the nation, on top of adult male sufferers of trafficking is an ongoing concern.

Prevention: The Bangladeshi government made decent efforts to stop forced labor. The government’s inter-ministerial team on human trafficking, presided by the Home Minister, continued to hold meetings monthly, although its work was mainly limited to addressing sex trafficking. All through the year, the government distributed anti-trafficking messages in numerous methods, with public service declarations, public discussions, dramas, and songs, on the government-run TV channel and radio network. The government was unsuccessful, nevertheless, to take measures to stop deceitful recruitment that could end up in debt bondage. The government has permitted BAIRA to set charges, certify individual agencies, and confirm workers for abroad labor, while not exercising satisfactory inaccuracy over this group of labor recruiters to make sure that their practices do not aid the debt bondage of foreign workers. During the year, the government did not show actions to decrease the demand for commercial sex acts or for forced labor. The Bangladeshi government delivered anti-trafficking exercises to its troops being positioned for peacekeeping operations overseas.

 CONCLUSION

Freedom of speech, action and expression are fundamental rights of every human being. But protecting these rights is not at all times easy. Forced labor is a new form of slavery. In the constitution of Bangladesh it is highly prohibited. But, absence of implementation of appropriate law practice is substantiating to be an immense hindrance in inhibiting this worldwide problem. To protect the verses of the constitution and to protect the people, the government needs to step up and take supplementary actions to prevent these criminalities.

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