Journey from brick kiln to Bihar

Bonded labour is modern India's dark secret. In India, only a minuscule fraction of the workforce is organised, most of which is in urban areas, leaving the rest of the working class vulnerable to blatant exploitation. As a result, closures and job losses, sub-minimum wages, bonded and slave labour, contract labour, discrimination against women and the siphoning away of money from the workers’ funds characterize Indian labour. Although Indian labour laws are among the best in the world, their implementation is slow and obstructed by corruption. Over the last 15 years, under the impact of globalization, privatization and structural adjustment policies the situation is further deteriorating. Despite stiff opposition from trade unions, the government has succeeded in making major inroads into workers’ rights.