India

Traffickers awarded life imprisonment for heinous crime

26 Dec 2016 | By Supriya
Traffickers being meted out severe punishments

Eight human traffickers have been sentenced to life for the heinous crime of chopping off hands of two labourers in 2013.

According to Prosecutor Dhirendra Patra of Bhubhaneshwar court, the traffickers will also be liable to pay hefty fines as part of their punishment.

Prosecutor Patra hoped the severe punishment would deter other traffickers and said, "This is a lesson for all."

In context: Traffickers being meted out severe punishments

AboutDebt bondage in India

Debt bondage is understood as a 'contemporary form of slavery'.

It's an exploitative form of recovering debt from someone by making them work very long hours, every day for little to no pay.

Debt bondage is most prevalent in the agricultural sector.

Although India abolished the practice of bonded-labour in 1976, millions continue to repay loans to employers, land-owners or debts inherited from relatives.

Debt-bondage rampant in South Asia

It is estimated that there are 18.5-22.5 million people in debt-bondage worldwide: 90% of these bonded-labourers are in South Asia.
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2013A gruesome incident

Two labourers, Dhangdamajhi and Nial, in Odisha had borrowed money from a labour agent Parvesh Duni and had agreed to work in a brick kiln in AP to repay loans.

However, instead of AP they were forcibly being taken to Chattisgarh.

They tried to escape but were put under house arrest: the labour agent chopped-off their right hands for refusing to work in Chattisgarh.

Supreme Court steps in

News of traffickers chopping-off hands led to an uproar. Supreme Court instructed Odisha government to fast-track charges against traffickers and rehabilitate the two men. After years of illness, Dhangdamajhi died on September 21, 2016 before justice was served.

26 Dec 2016Traffickers awarded life imprisonment for heinous crime

Long roadGovernment's crackdown continues

Since 1978, according to government data, 282,000 bonded labourers have been rescued from 18 states.

NGOs question these numbers as real extent of debt bondage is far more pervasive.

Activists believe most trapped in bonded labour who often receive no wages are unaware that they've repaid initial loan 10 times over.

According to International Labour Organization, there are still 11.7 million bonded-labourers in India.