Labor Trafficking

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Children work at a hand rolled cigarette (locally called a bidi) factory in Haragach, Bangladesh. Workers have to labor from dawn to dusk making bidis filled with tobacco flakes, earning very little money and in hazardous conditions which can damage their health. Children who work at the factory work from 9am to 8pm everyday and are only paid 50 Taka ($0.64) for making 5000 bidis.

There are no holidays or breaks for those who endure human trafficking.

In the US, many labor trafficking victims are people forced to work in homes as domestic servants, as farmers (working with eggs, animals, agricultural work, etc), and factory workers.  They suffer in poor working conditions and deal with dangerous equipment.  According to Polaris Project, “labor trafficking has also been reported in door-to-door sales crews, restaurants, construction work, carnivals, and even health and beauty services.”

There are 14-21 million people suffering in labor trafficking around the world.

See a large list of 136 goods from 74 countries that involve child trafficking labor.  These goods include cotton picking, brick work, garment work, fruit and vegetable picking, mining of gems and stones, tobacco and cocoa picking, cattle farming, toy making, rug weaving, firework handling, jewelry making, the fishing industry, coffee and tea picking, and more.

According to International Labour Organization in an updated study (last estimates most people quote were in 2008, these estimates are from 2014), “Forced labor in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.”
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Those who are most vulnerable to forced labor trafficking are poor families often put into bonded labor, children who come out of orphanages (or are living on the streets), migrant workers, and indigenous peoples.

There are more women in forced labor then men.  “ILO collected more than 8,000 reported cases of forced labor which provide a wealth of information on the profile of victims and the causes of their vulnerability.  According to our new estimate, women and girls are slightly more at risk than men and boys, and they account for the vast majority of victims of forced sexual exploitation. Children account for a quarter of all victims. Nearly half of all victims have migrated within their country or across borders before ending up in forced labor, confirming that movement is an important vulnerability factor.”

There are more people trapped in forced labor trafficking than there are in forced sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, however many who are in forced labor are often sexually trafficked as well.

5.5 million put in labor trafficking are children, indicating that there are certainly more adults suffering in labor trafficking, but it is still too high of a number as no child should be doing hard labor.

All photographs & descriptions in this post are from Gmb Akash, an NGO photographer.  Most of these show child labor.

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The textile factory machines produce an intolerable degree of uproarious noise and piercing echoes at the working place of Sobuj (13 years old). Further suffering is endured from the excessive heat; a daily and miserable factor. Textile factory workers start their day at 8 AM and finish at 8 PM. During these working hours these children try to heal the pain of the noise and the heat by knowing that they will be rewarded with earnings of 1’200 taka per month (about US $15). Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Children are among the workers carrying bricks on their heads at a brick factory. In the brick fields the work starts at 6 AM every day. Small children carry head-loads of eight heavy bricks from the furnace to the supply pile. Each trip back and forth is allotted a little over a minute. For a 12-hour workday for each 1’000 bricks that a child will carry from the brick furnace, he will earn 80 taka (less than a US $1) after paying his expenses. Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Fourteen-year old Shakil’s left leg is chained to an abandoned motor of the door handle making factory. It was not the owner but Shakil’s father who tied him up in the factory so that he cannot be with his drug using friends and can be able to concentrate on work. Teenager Shakil was arrogant in the beginning but now he has accepted the fact that there is no future forward except learning the boring job for his family’s livelihood. Dhaka, Bangladesh

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A very young boy, protected from the sun by only an umbrella, crushes bricks into chippings at a brick making factory. He earns 80 taka (US $1) daily for his 12-hour job. Then he spends the end of his day by collecting charcoal for cooking purposes for his family. Dhaka, Bangladesh

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A boy stands next to a dye vat at a tannery. Almost all of Bangladesh’s 200 plus tanneries are concentrated in Hazaribagh, a densely populated, odious neighborhood on the banks of the Buriganga River. Residents of Hazaribagh’s slums complain of illnesses such as fevers, skin diseases, respiratory problems and diarrhea. They blame the tanneries for polluting the air, water, and soil and therefore causing their afflictions. The lives of the tannery industry’s estimated 20,000 workers are harsh with many dying before they turn 50. Everyday these factories discharge thousands of liters of foul-smelling liquid waste into the river. However, with almost one billion USD a year in export sales, the leather industry is one of Bangladesh’s most profitable sectors and there has been limited progress in cleaning it up.

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A laborer of stone industry is collecting stone by separating sands from stone. At least 10,000 people, including 2,500 women and more than 1,000 children, are engaged in stone and sand collection from the Bhollar Ghat. Building materials such as stone and sand, and the cement which is made from it, are in short supply in Bangladesh and therefore command a high price from building contractors. The average income for these workers is around 150 taka (less than $1.91) a day. Bangladesh, Jaflong, Sylhet

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