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Abolish modern slavery once and for all

On November 7 and November 10, this paper had published front-page accounts of 27-year-old Lokesh Sapaliga from Andheri and 22-year-old Narender Singh from Punjab. Both had narrated the horror they had encountered at the factory of CM Fibre Processing SDN BHD in Sibu, Sarawak, (Malaysia) where they had to toil for 18 hours a day, and were paid a pittance in return. They were fed rotten food and were beaten up regularly by the guards. Both had been conned into taking the job on the pretext of working on a ship.

It was a Malaysian human trafficking mafia that had forced Indian workers to slave in a fibre-processing factory.
While this story had a happy ending as there was action after the expose and other Indian workers or more aptly, slaves were rescued by authorities who swung into action with not every ‘employment turns to enslavement’ stories end this way. In most instances, the suspicious agent or agency paints a rosy picture of work overseas. He dangles the carrot in front of his bait. Unable to resist, the person falls for the job offer. First he has to part with a hefty sum, which he gives to the agent and then he is given the job or employed.

Yet, one has to be wary. When things look too good to be true, often they are. Check past records, talk to people and most importantly, however tempting the offer, when in doubt, opt out. One understands that these operators prey on the desperate, but, it is still logical to try and do at least some background check.

Authorities have to crack down on the common practice of employers confiscating workers’ passports, effectively trapping and enslaving workers. This is perhaps the biggest factor in ensuring that the employer has an iron hand, a chain really around the worker. Vigilant, skeptical people who do try and identify certain red flags in the claims made by those luring them with unrealistic job offers must alert, the authorities, who in turn must take aggressive action against this. This two-pronged approach is the way to ensure that this modern slavery is abolished once and for all.

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