Fight Against Modern Slavery By Discovering the Domestic Workers Today

If you insist that slavery is a bygone saga of brutality, think again. 45.6 million people live their lives in some or the other form of modern slavery, thereby rejecting our claims of a free and just world. Whether it is forced begging, or bonded labor, not to forget prostitution and criminal intoxication, slavery continues to be a cruel reality of our society. Slavery affects us all in some ways, but it is children (age 5–12) and women who have been the historical and socio-economic targets of modern slavery.

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North Korea, China, Bangladesh, and India provide low-cost labor and that is essential for the production of consumer goods to be sold in the European and American markets. That being said, we can get a hint about the uneven distribution of international wealth. Besides ruining 45 million lives, slavery is also a reason (and product) of internal conflicts and low economic wealth in a country like ours. With close to 18 millions of Indians surviving under modern slavery, the trend is only increasing. Whilst the media speaks voraciously about the country’s economic growth, it remains an open question how to eradicate modern slavery and also includes the victims in the mainstream.

The Masters of Indian Slaves
Coming of age, India has made a reputation of being an inclusive society in the world. The largest democracy that we are, some 270 millions of Indians live in conditions of modern slavery. The social structure, despite various reforms, is yet to do away with perverse structures like caste system, gender inequality, and feudalism. Surviving on less than $2 a day, these forced labors have no say in approaching the law and administration. And this has to do with commercial sexual exploitation that is so often shown in marital abuses.

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It’s hard to analyze modern slavery, let alone of quantifying it. The problem becomes worse for a diverse and ill-connected system like India where data assimilation hasn’t been easy. Even then, looking at sectors of agriculture, domestic work, fishing, manual labor, manufacturing and commercial exploitation in forced begging and prostitution, we can estimate how grossly modern slavery affects our national integrity.

Domestic Workers And the slavery they endure
Perhaps taken as normal occupation by many, domestic servants including cooks, gardeners, cleaners, and maids are perennial slaves of the society. Working overtime, insufficient remuneration, withholding wages, and emotional/sexual violence, you get the idea what this section of the society faces on a day-to-day basis.

Evil is A Crime unnoticed by Law
There is a high rate of instability to address the concerns of domestic workers, some of which are:
a) recognition of domestic workers as workers.

b) decent working conditions, including specified working hours, leave, paid holidays, protection against harassment, social security and access to benefits

c) regulation of recruitment and placement agencies.

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Government is hindered to access the multi-level complexities of the problem. What’s shocking is that our society, including the Legal setup, fails to identify paid domestic work under the central list of scheduled employments under the Minimum Wages Act of 1948. And believe me when I say, modern slavery is so common in our society, especially urban because domestic labors find no provision for them in Workmen’s Compensation Act (1923) nor the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act (1970) nor the Maternity Benefit Act (1961).

What makes them sufficiently a slave is the lack of formal contract or clear definition of their work. As common as anything, domestic workers are subjected to biases relating to social status, thus denying them the esteem every human must possess.