Anti-Slavery International

Anti-Slavery International is the world's oldest international human rights organisation, founded in 1839. It is the only charity in the United Kingdom to work exclusively against slavery and related abuses. We work at local, national and international levels to eliminate the system of slavery around the world.

Anti-Slavery's work has produced real change. Throughout the last century, the organisation was involved in many successful campaigns, such as those to stop the abuse of rubber workers in the Belgian Congo and the use of child slaves -- Mui Tsai -- in Hong Kong. One of Anti-Slavery's recent successes demonstrates the strength of working in partnership with local organisations.

After years of pressure from Anti-Slavery and local organisations, including Backward Society Education and Informal Sector Service Centre, the Government of Nepal passed a law in February 2002, declaring kamaiya bonded labour illegal. This ruling outlawed one of the most widespread forms of slavery that affected tens of thousands of people throughout the country.

Following a seven-year campaign, in 2000 Anti-Slavery sent a high-level delegation to Nepal urging the need for legislation. Although the Government a few months later declared that bonded labour was illegal, no relevant law or assistance, such as land redistribution, was provided. Thousands of families were thrown off the land and were forced to live beside roads, in forests and in makeshift camps. They were subjected to violence from officials and were vulnerable to disease and hunger.

As a result of constant pressure from Anti-Slavery and our partners, the Government finally passed a law, which not only declares this form of slavery illegal, but also states the Government is responsible for managing housing, employment and income-generating activities for those freed and will punish anybody who uses kamaiya as bonded labour.

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Geography Keywords local, national and international

2006 - UNESCO