Debate: Use of the Term ‘Bonded Labour’ is a Must in the Context of India


  • Kiran Kamal Prasad



There is no question that we should distinguish between forced labour, trafficking and slavery. But, we should also include in the debate another concept, ‘bonded labour,’ as it describes a distinct and widespread form of forced labour in India that does not fully accord with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) definition of forced labour. The sociopolitical reality in India and bonded labour’s intimate link with the Indian caste system demand that the term ‘bonded labour’ be retained in the discourse on forced labour and trafficking in persons. Addressing bonded labour enables two interconnected areas of exploitation and discrimination to be addressed, namely working towards emancipation of the minority Dalit community and of the Moolnivasi indigenous communities.


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Author Biography

Kiran Kamal Prasad

Kiran Kamal Prasad is the Coordinator of JEEVIKA—Bonded Labour Liberation Front in Karnataka, India. He has been working with Dalits since 1985 and took up research on bonded labour in 1988 in a taluk (sub-district) of Bangalore. He used the data from the research, which identified nearly 700 bonded labourers, to lobby at the state legislature in 1990 and simultaneously started conscientising and unionising bonded labourers in that taluk. JEEVIKA was launched in 1993 to extend the movement to the entire state. Before working against bonded labour, from 1983 Prasad worked with Siddis and Bantu groups from Africa in Karnataka, India, and was instrumental in achieving Indian Parlaiment recognition of the groups as a Scheduled Tribe in 2003.





How to Cite

Prasad, K. K. (2015). Debate: Use of the Term ‘Bonded Labour’ is a Must in the Context of India. Anti-Trafficking Review, (5).