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Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Siddharth Kara's Sex Trafficking has become a critical resource for its revelations into an unconscionable business, and its detailed analysis of the trade's immense economic benefits and human cost. This volume is Kara's second, explosive study of slavery, this time focusing on the deeply entrenched and wholly unjust system of bonded labor.

Drawing on eleven years of resea
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Columbia University Press
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Neil Cochrane
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
This book makes me want to buy only Fair Trade things forever. It's very academic in style and not very well geared toward casual readers, but it's comprehensive and explicit. ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The value of this book lies not only in its adroit exposure of bonded labor in South Asia but in the way in which Kara explains the nature of bonded labor with both simplicity and sophistication so that, as a reader coming to the book with no knowledge of the subject matter, I was able to walk away feeling informed and enlightened. Kara also offers a model to scholars on how to introduce a moral ingredient into writings about atrocities such as slavery. Further, he demonstrates skill in investig ...more
Kira Gillett
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Its so informed and well written. I appreciate how many different aspects he looks at while also stating inconsistencies and holes in research. Mad appreciation for this book. It has inspired me to develop an interest in possibly researching more on the gendered aspects of forced migration and trafficking, specifically in regards to refugee crisis and climate change in Western and South Asia. If I end up going for a masters in advanced migration studies, I feel like this would ...more
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Like his first book, Bonded Labor is incredibly well researched, documented and written. Kara certainly knows what he's talking about, and goes into such rich detail, presenting the lives of the many people he talked to who were forced into bonded labor. Like his first book, it's hopelessly unsettling. I can't believe this still goes in in this day and age (says the girl of privilege from a prosperous nation). Kara presents the real life situation in such sectors as agriculture, bricks, construc ...more
Feb 19, 2015 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
"The persistence of bonded labor in South Asia is driven by the ability to generate substantial profits at almost no real risk, through the the exploitation of an immense underclass of systemically impoverished and vulnerable people."

"Perhaps the most important argument in this book is that the lack of a reasonable alternative to the exploitative debt bondage agreement directly negates the voluntary nature of the decision to make it. The decision may still be construed as voluntary from a classi
Clay Stafford
“Brings new meaning to owing your soul to the company store. A study of debt bondage and violent enslavement of men, women, and children in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Eighteen million bonded laborers owe their souls to the “man” generating over $17.6 billion in profits every year. Their life is not their own, but the products they make are ones that we purchase everyday: hand-woven carpets, tea, rice, frozen shrimp, more. For individuals, this is a study of the commerce chain and a ...more
Kumaran G
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are moments in life, when you see the things around but feel terribly helpless. This book will evoke such a moment.

This is a neatly well written book, which goes in depth on the subject without boring the reader. It touches the causes, caste system equation, vicious cycle of the system and possible solutions. Living in India, where one could easily perceive this Bonded Labor system, I find that Siddharth Kara has touched all the aspects, without preaching nor sugarcoating.

I wish this book
Paige Billman
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was meticulously researched, beautifully written, and emotionally moving. Kara does a great job of combining rigorous academic research on the system of bonded labor in South Asia with compelling first hand accounts from bonded laborers. In addition to his excellent documentation of the current state and history of bonded labor in the region, he provides well-reasoned ideas about ways to tackle and change the system. I knew nothing about bonded labor before reading this book and think ...more
Elijah Oyekunle
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, politics
Bonded Labour simply means slavery in the 20th & 21st century, and an amazingly large number of people are currently bonded labourers, with a large concentration of them in South Asia.
MJ Brummitt
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Intense. Shocking to learn about the evil bonded slave labor behind so many things we buy and use everyday, from jewelry to rugs.
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