EFP and ILO collaborate to end forced labour in the agricultural sector

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The Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) underscores the importance of eliminating forced labor from the informal sector to ensure sustainable business practices. Secretary General Syed Nazar Ali highlighted this imperative during a capacity-building session organised by the EFP in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) under the BRIDGE Project in Hyderabad.

Mr Nazar Ali also briefed the participants on the Employers Federation of Pakistan’s (EFP) ongoing efforts to underscore the importance of eradicating forced labour from the agriculture sector. This initiative aims to protect workers’ rights, enhance business sustainability, and foster sustainable economic development. He emphasised the necessity for businesses to adopt clear and transparent policies encompassing all stakeholders in their product and supply chains to eliminate forced labour effectively.

Furthermore, the EFP Secretary-General highlighted that the long-term prevention of forced labour in the informal sector relies on unified advocacy efforts through employer associations, targeted poverty-reduction programs, and the establishment of robust legislation. He underscored these associations’ pivotal role in combating forced and bonded labour, particularly within sectors such as agriculture.

In addition to advocating for clear policies, he outlined the EFP’s commitment to safeguarding workers’ rights and advancing sustainable economic development through responsible business practices. These efforts ensure fair and humane working conditions across various industries.

Qazi Wajid Mahesar, President of the Mehar Agriculture Employers (Landlords) Association (MAEA) expressed gratitude for the session organised by EFP and ILO. The event addressed forced labor issues among small-scale agriculture landlords in Sindh, aiming to enhance understanding and develop viable solutions.

Mr. Mahesar acknowledged the challenges faced by agriculture, including water scarcity, seed availability, and soil degradation, which exacerbate vulnerabilities among farmers and small landlords. He urged governmental support for robust policies to mitigate forced labour and improve working conditions within the sector.

Ghulam Sarwar Uttero, Regional Director of the Labour Directorate in Hyderabad, commended the EFP’s initiatives in combating child and forced labour. He highlighted the importance of the Sindh Bonded Labour System Act of 2015 and emphasised the role of vigilance committees in enforcing labor laws at the district level.

Participants at the session shared insights into the hardships confronting small landlords and proposed measures to enhance crop productivity and ensure social protection for agriculture workers. They called upon the EFP and ILO to support initiatives such as social security hospitals and legislative reforms to address these challenges effectively.

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