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Investigating the Worst Forms of Child Labour No. 5 Nepal Bonded Labour Among Child Workers of the Kamaiya System: A Rapid Assessment
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The need to restrict and eradicate the most intolerable forms of child labour in Nepal has
become an essential element of a national development strategy to achieve sustainable growth and protect human rights. His Majesty’s Government of Nepal has repeatedly expressed its commitment to eliminating the worst forms of child labour, and is in the process of ratifying the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. This rapid assessment investigation set out to fill the gaps in knowledge of the incidence and nature of child bonded labour in Nepal. It has attempted to view this worst form of child labour in the wider context of child labour and debt-bondage among one of the largest ethnic groups of Nepal – the Kamaiya households in the far and mid western districts of the country. Child labour is pervasive in Nepal, and it is estimated that 33,000 children work under debt- bondage to pay off parental debts (Sharma, 1999). This study is based on the Rapid Assessment methodology developed by ILO/UNICEF (2000) to bring out an understanding of a particular social phenomenon and its context, usually for the purpose of designing an intervention strategy, in a relatively short period of time. The methodology is a combination of a broad range of qualitative and quantitative survey tools that can be adapted to local conditions. The Kamaiya system is commonly known as an agriculturally based bonded labour system in Nepal. Bondage among Kamaiya children working for an employer ensues from the debt incurred by the parents and also through the linkage in exploitative employment practices affecting the parents. Poor Kamaiya households either pledge children as collateral for loans, or children are sent to work in landowners’ houses to secure Kamaiya contracts or to secure the rights to sharecrop. Children of the Kamaiya are faced with aspects of debt-bondage, bondage resulting from their parents employment, and bondage due to land leasing. The Kamaiyas are obliged to provide underpaid and even unpaid farm labour for excessively long hours, under compulsion of the annual Kamaiya contract. The system can tie families into bondage for generations. There is an excessive incidence of wage child labour among Kamaiya families. Poverty and ensuing inter-linkage of contracts (labour, land, credit, and child labour) are probably the primal causal factors for Kamaiya children to be at work. Low pay, excessive hours of work and lack of opportunity for alternative income force the Kamaiya households to surrender their children for work, even if all they are receiving in return is the food offered at the masters’ house. Child labour under the Kamaiya system differs from other forms of child labour in Nepal as it is generally linked to the labour relationships of the child’s parents.



Publisher:
IPEC/ILO ,   (2001 )
Type / Script:
Progress Report in English
Keywords:
CHILD LABOUR, CHILDREN, BONDED LABOUR, LABOUR LAW, RIGHTS OF THE CHILD, SALE OF CHILDREN, DEBT BONDAGE, PARENT-CHILD RELATIONS, ABANDONED CHILDREN, STREET CHILDREN, CHILD ABUSE, CHILD HEALTH, CHILD SAFETY, PARENTS, SLAVERY, FORCED LABOUR, CHILD ABUSE, HUMAN RIGHTS, WORKING CONDITIONS, HOURS OF WORK, LABOUR EXPLOITATION
Thematic Group:
 ILO : International Labor & Labor
Thesaurus:
12.06.00  -  Special Categories Of Workers
Reference Link:
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