The Global Slavery Index 2014, released by the Walk Free Foundation, singles out India as the country in the world with the most slaves and sees caste at the root of slavery in India. Caste-affected Mauritania tops the Index on percentage of the population in slavery.
A new report following up on modern slavery in Indian spinning mills, finds that despite initiatives launched to end conditions of forced labour, the situation remains alarming. Efforts of clothing brands and retailers to end this, lack scale and conviction. Due to their marginalised status and lack of alternative opportunities, the majority of girls working in these factories are Dalits.
Caste discrimination is a key factor behind child labour in India, home to the highest number of child labourers in the world. This is the message coming from experts on child labour. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi, also explains how witnessing caste discrimination as a child spurred on his engagement with fighting for the rights of the most marginalised.
Important new report, Cleaning Human Waste: "Manual Scavenging," Caste, and Discrimination in India, released by Human Rights Watch. Press Release from Human Rights Watch: India: Caste Forced to Clean Human Waste
Indian Minister says that manual scavenging persisists and the implementation of the manual scavenging act is being monitored
In a written reply to the Indian House of Parliament (Lok Sabha), the Indian Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, said that the practice of manual scavenging still persists in various parts of the country. He added that because previous laws banning the practice had proved inadequate, parliament had enacted the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, the implementation of which is now be monitored.
A new report finds that Dalit girls in India's garment industry live in hostels, with little freedom of movement, are underpaid for long working-days and working under hazardous conditions.
The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that the continuance of manual scavenging in the country is in blatant violation of Article 17 of the Constitution of India by which, “untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden”. The court was emphatic about the duty cast on all states and union territories “to fully implement the law and to take action against the violators”.
India is introducing new manual scavenging legislation meant to eradicate the humiliating practice of manual scavenging, which perseveres despite being outlawed for decades. Indian civil society are welcoming the initiative to introduce new legislation, but are flagging that the proposed draft legislation is missing critical necessary aspects that must be included before legislation is introduced on the 6th December.
Caste systems are present in four out of five countries ranked the worst slavery offenders, in the 2013 Global Slavery Index. India alone accounts for half of the people on the planet regarded as ’modern slaves’.
A long awaited bill prohibiting manual scavenging was passed by the Indian parliament on 7 September. But two leading campaign organisations say that much needs to be done before the total eradication of this inhuman practice is achieved.