Thursday July 18, 2024

Steps to end forced labour discussed

By Our Correspondent
June 13, 2024
A child labourer is busy preparing raw bricks at a local kiln. — APP/File
A child labourer is busy preparing raw bricks at a local kiln. — APP/File

LAHORE : Forced labour, a crime under Pakistani law and a grave violation of human rights according to ILO, continues to plague approximately 3.4 million individuals in Pakistan, constituting more than 10 percent of the global total of 28 million victims. 

Particularly concerning is the vulnerability of migrant workers, who are three times more likely to fall into forced labour compared to non-migrants. With over 6.5 million Pakistanis seeking employment abroad through legal channels in the last decade, predominantly in Gulf countries, the issue demands urgent attention.

Addressing this pressing concern, the ILO, in collaboration with the US Department of Labour (USDOL), organised a two-day training workshop here under the auspices of the BRIDGE project—an initiative aimed at eradicating forced labour and promoting equitable labour practices—focused on equipping journalists with the requisite knowledge and skills to effectively report on forced labour and fair recruitment issues.

A diverse cohort of 35 journalists representing various media platforms participated in the workshop.

Dr Faisal Iqbal, the national project coordinator at ILO, emphasised the pivotal role of media in raising public awareness regarding forced labour and advocating for fair recruitment practices. 

‘Media can be key influencers in shaping public perceptions about forced labour and labour migration,’ Dr Iqbal remarked, expressing concern over the prevalence of forced labour in Pakistan affecting an estimated 3.4 million individuals.

Dr Iqbal further elucidated the objectives and significance of ‘The Bridge Project,’ emphasising the importance of accurate reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment.

He delineated the 11 indicators recognised by the ILO globally to identify forced labour, including power abuse, deception, movement restrictions, isolation, physical and sexual violence, wage retention, debt bondage, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime.