A one-day workshop on ‘Elimination of Bonded Labour System including Child Labour, Inter-State Migrant Workers and Human Trafficking’on 02/08/2019 (Friday) at, Aizawl Mizoram (02.08.2019)

The National Human Rights Commission organized a one-day workshop on ‘Elimination of Bonded Labour System including Child Labour, Inter-State Migrant Workers and Human Trafficking’ on 02/08/2019 (Friday) in collaboration with the State of Mizoram at Administrative Training Institute Auditorium, Aizawl under the Chairmanship of Justice Shri P.C. Pant, Former Judge of Supreme Court and Hon’ble Member, NHRC.

The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness among the various stakeholders to eliminate the persisting menace of Bonded labour, Child Labour and Human Trafficking along with addressing the issues of Inter-State Migrant Workers. It was observed that modern forms of bonded labour like employment in mines, road constructions, constructions of malls/multi story buildings and agriculture forms may increase in the times to come ahead. The concern was to sensitize DMs/SDMs to minimize this menace from our society.

The Seminar was attended by the Senior Officers from the Govt. of Mizoram, Central Government, representative of NGOs and academicians, Principle Secretaries/ Secretaries and Senior Police Officers, Selected DM/SDMs from the State of Mizoram and representative of National Human Rights Commission.

The Inaugural session began with the speech of Shri Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Mizoram. In his speech, he described the society of Mizoram which is largely an egalitarian society with no prevalence of class stratification, therefore, there is negligible presence of Bonded labour in Mizoram. The Society of Mizoram is so well knit that people here take care of each other’s well-being. As a result of which no poor family are susceptible to fall prey to the bonded labour system. The report on the presence of bonded labour received from the Vigilance Committee in the state has always been ‘nil’. Mr. Chuaungo, hopes that the status will remain the same in upcoming years.

As far as child labour is concerned, he further stated that since Mizoram does not have big industrial and commercial establishments, there is no presence of child labour as well. The children in Mizoram do harbour the habit of helping their family in household chores. The people of this society consider it as a good practice which inculcates the sense of responsibility in kids from the very tender age.

The Chief Secretary further touched upon the issue of human trafficking and migrant labour which is prevalent in the state. As far as human trafficking is concerned, it is a new phenomenon that started brewing since 2001 as young girls looking for good opportunity fall prey to this threat. Very recently, Mizoram Administration was successful in rescuing Rohingya girls from getting trafficked. He also commended the presence of strong Vigilance Committee and Border Security Forces that looks after the proliferation of such threats in the state of Mizoram and hopes that the issue of human trafficking will seize to exist in the state.

The welcome speech of the Chief Secretary of Mizoram was followed by the inaugural statement by Justice Shri P.C Pant, Hon’ble Member. In his speech he reiterated the objective of the Workshop and also stated how it will help us to gain holistic view of the problem of human trafficking, bonded and child labour and what efforts must be taken to prevent these malpractices and subsequent rehabilitation of victims. He shed light upon the provisions of the constitution regarding safeguarding the rights of Bonded, child and migrants labourers and victims of human trafficking.

Shri Surajit Dey, Registrar (Law), NHRC in his speech gave an introduction to the subject of Bonded labour related issues under which he emphasized the beginning of the bonded labor system and its elements of exploitation, patronage and protection at least in some regions. Also, issues related to labour trafficking, child labour and exploitation of marginalized section of the society were discussed where international legislation on forced labour convention 1930 international convention on civil and political rights 1966, International convention on Economic, Social and cultural rights 1966 and Convention on the rights of child 1989 were elaborated upon. He also shed light upon the rehabilitation of bonded labour scheme and role played by the Commission in eradication of Bonded Labour System and further stated why and how to eliminate the system of Bonded Labour.

Mr. Dey’s speech was followed by the Vote of Thanks by Shri Lalbiakzama, Secretary of the Government of Mizoram, Home Department he appreciated NHRC’s efforts for organizing the conference with the purpose of spreading awareness regarding safeguarding the rights of the citizens by spreading awareness and sensitization through organizing workshops, conferences and publications.