26 bonded labourers rescued from Bagalur brick kiln

26 bonded labourers rescued from Bagalur brick kiln

 In the second such incident in a fortnight in the City, 26 bonded labourers from Odisha, including eight children, were rescued by the anti-human trafficking unit of the Criminal Investigation Department from a brick kiln in Bagalur, Bengaluru North.

The owner of the kiln has been arrested. According to the police, 18 labourers from five families from a village in Odisha were brought to the City four months ago by a middleman, while eight other workers arrived about one-and-a-half months ago. The victims were promised a weekly wage of Rs 1,500 each, and day’s rest.

However, once they began work, each family reportedly got a paltry Rs 300 a week.
A 40-year-old man, the first to be contacted by the middleman, was a rickshaw puller in Odisha. “I did not want to come to Bengaluru; we were cheated into coming here. I am not given enough wages to buy sufficient food for my family. We usually eat only rice and chutney. When I was in Odisha, I earned enough to even buy snacks for my children for Rs 60 to Rs 70 daily,” he claimed.

According to the labourer, they had to work from 3 am to 7 pm on all seven days of the week with only a break for meals. The owner used to take the men to market on Tuesdays to buy groceries, while the families remained in the kiln, said a volunteer from International Justice Mission, an NGO which was part of the rescue operation.

Sent back to Odisha

On February 18, as many as 25 bonded labourers from Odisha were rescued from a brick kiln in Yelahanka. They have been sent back to Odisha after the Karnataka government issued them release certificates.

The release certificate is an official document which declares that the person was a bonded labourer and now he/she has been absolved of all his/her debts and obligations to the owner.
DH News Service

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