Haliya and kamaiya bonded child labourers in Nepal

Birendra Raj Giri

in Child slavery now

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9781847426109
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301714 | DOI:
Haliya and kamaiya bonded child labourers in Nepal

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In Nepal, there are between 300,000 and two million bonded labourers under the so-called haliya and kamaiya systems. A bonded-labour system has existed for hundreds of years in Nepal, where children are used by parents to pay off debts incurred to landlords by offering their own children's labour to the landlords. While away from their home, children – particularly girls – are open to a variety of forms of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and struggle to maintain their work responsibilities alongside their desire to stay in education and improve their lot. Again, laws exist in Nepal to ban this system of kamaiya, yet the forms of child abuse are so extensive that they fall within the International Labour Organisation's definition of the worst forms of child labour. What had been an adult form of debt bondage has shifted, as a result of pressures of poverty, into a system based now as much on children as adults, with the political system turning a blind eye to the practice.

Keywords: Nepal; haliya; kamaiya; child abuse; child labour; debt bondage; poverty; landlords; children

Chapter.  6591 words. 

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