Force means to make somebody do something that they do not want to do. Labor means to do hard physical work. So the meaning of forced labor is to compel somebody to do some hard physical work. Generally employer forcefully gets the work done by the employee. Employee has no response in this regard. Employee must follow the instructions of employer no matter whether the employee likes the work or not. History shows that slavery has killed millions of people around the world. Forced labor is a kind of modern slavery. This modern slavery is mostly based on economic perspective. While the economic context is changing and evolving, it is apparent that poverty and social exclusion contribute to forced labor. Evidence found that the existence of forced labor is sector and sometimes country specific. Poverty, social exclusion and denial of human rights may be necessary conditions, but they are not sufficient conditions to lead to forced labor. The government, environment, social and moral behavior, cultural facts, education are very much correlated with forced labor in a country.
Eradication of Forced Labor:
In 1919, International Labor Organization (ILO) was founded with a mandate to develop international labor standards and promote their ratification and implementation. It has been concerned with forced labor from its earliest years and in 1930 in the fourteenth session all members agreed upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to force or compulsory labor. This international convention is known as ‘Forced Labor Convention 1930’. In this convention on Article 2 it says that, ‘the term “forced or compulsory labor shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”. 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 attempt 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”. So it is quite understandable that people have the right to choose their own work and no one can compel anyone to do certain work.
Forced Labor in the Constitution of Bangladesh:
In our country forced labor is also prohibited by the constitution. It says on article 34 (1) that, “All forms of forced labor are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law”. It is the fundamental right for any Bangladeshi citizen that no one can be forced to give his or her labor. But it also says on article 34 (2) that Nothing in this article shall apply to compulsory labor. (a) By persons undergoing lawful punishment for a criminal offence; or (b) required by any law for public purpose. Forced labor is a kind of slavery where people have no right to express their opinion and are forced to work. In the constitution the fundamental right has enshrined and protected people from forced labor by proclaiming punishable law. So if a person forces to make work done by someone then he must get punishment according to law.
The Current Scenario of Forced Labor in Bangladesh:
Bangladesh is a poor country with huge population. More than 150 million people live in this country. 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. Some children are forced to work in the fishing industry, moreover large numbers of Bangladeshi women and men voluntarily migrate for work to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, some find that illegal fees imposed by employment agencies subject them to bonded labor situations. The government does not effectively enforce prohibitions against forced labor. There are the laws but the law is not working to save the citizen. Some critical factors of forced labors are given below
- Garments worker do not get payment of the day if they start working after the time is over. If the person cannot enter into the factory within the time he will not get the payment of that day. Moreover he has to work the whole working hour.
- In Shrimp processing factories leaving laborers extremely vulnerable to the threat of dismissal with any reason. People are frequently get out of the job for very trivial matter.
- In the steel furniture making factories most working people are apprentice and are unpaid. Apprenticeship is about 3-5 years. Within this time period laborer will get just food and accommodation facility.
- In the brick production child labor are mostly popular as they are given less payment than adult. Majority of the temporary laborers come from distant places and are allowed to live cost free in makeshift houses at the work sites.
- Tannery workers work in a hazardous situation where a lot of child workers are also working with poor facilities. Sometimes they are threatened by the employers for work hard.
- In Gul making (Chew dust of tobacco) factories child labors have the right to quit the job whenever they wish. According to their parents and the labors, in such cases, do not become subject to any tortures
- In Plastic products factories no one is physically forced to work. It is poverty compels even children to desperately look for works. Employers prefer child laborers as cheap labor for light activities such as packaging, loading products into cartons, and carrying packages from one place to another
- Wooden Furniture Manpower is available in Bangladesh in abundance at a very low rate. Skilled carpenters at low costs are available in Bangladesh. Specialized wood craftsmen working in urban furniture factories produce designs to satisfy various types of customers. They are not forcefully work in the carp