A majority of bonded labour cases are reported in brick kilns, especially in western UP, according to the state government's estimates.
Many of the labourers in the state are from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Assam, Orissa and West Bengal. Conversely, bonded labourers from UP are found in Delhi, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, as per the findings of the state's labour department. In 2011-12 alone, about 265 bonded labourers of UP were rescued from Haryana.
Such facts were revealed at a sensitisation workshop on elimination of bonded and child labour for state and district officials at Hotel Clarks Avadh on Friday. The programme was organised jointly by the labour department and the National Human Rights Commission. There have been several initiatives to rescue bonded labourers from brick kilns, dhabas and mines and domestic help. However, many of them have re-entered the profession.
The international labour organisation (ILO) conducted a vulnerability assessment in coordination with the labour department to study the conditions of local and migrant workers and their children. The assessment was conducted in Budaun, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Gautam Budha Nagar, Ghaziabad and Aligarh. "The objective of the project is to achieve increased access to government welfare schemes by the target group in collaboration with employers," said Harsharan Das, labour commissioner, UP. Through continued dialogue, the project would help increase the awareness of the target group on labour rights, collective bargaining and achieve significant improvements in workplace facilities and transparent recordkeeping at brick kiln level. As part of the preventive approach to curb the practice, a committee comprising labour department officials and representatives of brick kilns owners has been constituted. A code of conduct has also been prepared to ensure the rights of workers and their children.