Bonded labour in South Asia is considered the problem in modern slavery affecting the most people. The UN believes 20 million people are enslaved worldwide, the majority of whom are in South Asia.
Gerry Northam visits Pakistan where he meets Laxmi, a woman who was told that she and her husband were bonded to their master until they paid off a supposed debt of 200,000 rupees. When she asked to see proof of that debt, she was beaten.
Another woman, Shanti, tells how her master raped after she threatened to run away, even though she was pregnant.
Twelve years after the government made bonded labour illegal, it is estimated that there are still five million labourers in Pakistan bonded to their employees by debt. There is a central fund to rehabilitate workers like Laxmi but, so far, not one rupee has been spent.
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