Pakistan Faces Significant Challenge Of Forced Labour: ILO


Pakistan faces significant challenge of forced labour: ILO

LAHORE, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 11th Jun, 2024) Pakistan faces a significant challenge of forced labour, with over 3 million people affected, placing the country among those with the highest numbers globally.

According to the latest data from the International Labour Organization (ILO), global profits from forced labor amount to approximately $236 billion, with Europe being the top beneficiary.

In 2023, over 860,000 Pakistanis embarked on journeys abroad in search of employment opportunities, marking the highest number recorded since 2015. The majority went to Gulf countries, with Saudi Arabia being the largest destination for migrant workers from Pakistan. In 2022, migrant Pakistanis sent about $30 billion in remittances, constituting 10 percent of Pakistan’s total GDP.

These issues were discussed at a two-day training workshop for journalists on forced labor and fair recruitment, organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the US Department of Labour (USDOL). The workshop held, at a local hotel in Lahore, under the auspices of the BRIDGE project, an initiative focused on eliminating forced labour and promoting fair labour practices. The training is aimed to equip journalists with the knowledge and skills to report effectively on forced labor and fair recruitment issues, highlighting the vital role of media in covering these topics.

In his opening remarks, National Project Coordinator for the ILO, Faisal Iqbal, emphasized the aim and role of “The Bridge Project” and the importance of accurate reporting on forced labor.

He outlined key indicators of forced labor, including abuse of authority, deception, movement restrictions, isolation, physical and sexual violence, wage retention, debt bondage, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime. Faisal provided an overview of forced labor and fair recruitment, detailing the ILO’s Bridge Project, its areas of intervention, and the roles of key actors in addressing forced labor in Pakistan.

Faisal also highlighted the prevalence of child and forced labor in brick kilns and mines, calling on civil society to play its part in combating these issues.

Senior journalist and trainer Aoun Sahi underscored the media’s role in reporting on forced labor. He discussed the importance of understanding the story, common terminology, and the roles of various stakeholders, including trade unions, civil society, academia, and the media, in promoting fair recruitment.

The media shapes public opinion and influences perceptions, prioritizing certain issues and shaping public opinion through framing and storytelling. It can also hold governments and institutions accountable, ensuring transparency and critically evaluating information, he added.

The workshop aimed to empower journalists to better cover these crucial issues, recognizing the media’s pivotal role in addressing forced labor and promoting fair recruitment practices.