All people have a right to work at a job where they are physically free and safe, earn fair pay and enjoy equitable working conditions. As supply chains grew more complex, Target partnered with IJM to help combat labour trafficking in India to ensure worker well-being throughout their supply chains.
Vulnerable populations are targets for forced labour
Harsh environmental and economic conditions in northern India have spurred a migration of manual labourers to the southern part of the country. When individuals do not know their rights or how to identify trafficking schemes, they can be recruited and trapped in debt bondage and forced labour slavery.
As Target sought to root out forced labour from supply chains, they entered a multi-year partnership with IJM to develop two programs to combat labour trafficking in India. The ultimate goal was to create an enabling environment for effective justice system responses to the crime, through the empowerment of workers and creation of strong policy frameworks.
In northern India, IJM equipped survivors of labour trafficking and community members with safe migration practices, policies, and opportunities. This program also included initiatives that promoted enhanced strategies and procedures to ensure safe migration for labourers.
In southern India, IJM built a grassroots anti-labour trafficking program that focused on prevention, equipping non-governmental organizations with tools to address trafficking, and empowering survivors to become advocates with government leaders.
The program also aimed to engage the media to broadly share about the prevalence of bonded labour. These efforts were designed to build bridges between the local community and government and to increase public confidence in reporting cases of bonded labour. Finally, at the government level, IJM engaged with state government officials to advocate for stronger policies and procedures that promoted safe migration.
Key Findings and Results
The partnership with Target gave IJM the opportunity to deepen the Southern India Grassroots Prevention Program that is committed to supporting the government of the state of Karnataka in their fight against human trafficking and bonded labour.
Target is committed to supporting the rights of workers in their supply chains around the world and has made a commitment to refuse to work with suppliers who violate those rights. The monumental gains of the Southern India Grassroots Prevention Program and the Northern India Safe Migration program, in partnership with the Target Corporation, have set the stage for IJM to achieve this vision and eventually see the decline of slavery in India. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Target to see an end to labour trafficking in India.