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Participatory statistics to measure prevalence in bonded labour hotspots in Nepal

July 1, 2017

The report Participatory statistics to measure prevalence in bonded labour hotspots in Nepal: Report on findings of the baseline study presents a baseline study on bonded labour in three districts of Southeast Nepal, focusing on Harwa-Charwa agricultural bondage. This report was produced by the Institute for Development Studies, Action Aid Nepal, and the Praxis Institute for Participatory Practices (India) for the Freedom Fund.

Data from 572 respondents across 1,660 households in 52 wards, serviced by NGOs, was analysed at both village and hotspot levels. Key findings reveal significant variations in bonded labour prevalence, ranging from 15% to 72% across different NGO intervention areas, with nearly a third of households (29%) affected. Bondage rates correlate with community remoteness, suggesting higher prevalence in rural, less accessible areas.

Among the main results, child labour was notably low despite narratives suggesting widespread child involvement. Land ownership significantly reduces bondage risk, with fewer bonded individuals owning land or holding bank accounts, reflecting limited financial access in remote areas. Loans are more prevalent among households with bonded labour, often sourced from high-interest lenders including employers. Healthcare access is reported but deemed inadequate, prompting health-related borrowing. Migration loans are more common among non-bonded individuals, indicating potential shifts post-liberation.

Click here or on the image below to access the report.

Written by
The Freedom Fund