Experts Worry That the Post-Lockdown World Could See a Surge of Exploitation and ‘Modern Slavery’
More work hours, less breaks, less wages—predictions about the new work culture for those in the unorganised sector make for a chilling picture.
The most jarring visual of a crisis in any part of the world is always its human face. And the bigger the scale of a disaster, the more devastating the image. Over the last couple of months, as the coronavirus pandemic swept across Asia, it revealed consequences of not just the pandemic, but also how a virus can instantly change life as we know it.
In India, the world’s harshest lockdown manifested in the loss of livelihood and displacement of hundreds of thousands of informal labourers and migrants—which some say saw an exodus bigger than the one during the India-Pakistan partition (which saw the displacement of 15 million people). Now, as we approach the end of the lockdown (May 3—though this is tentative in many parts of the country which are seeing high numbers of positive cases), analysts and researchers are predicting the same demographic will possibly face even more exploitation as workplaces rush to meet the rising demands and make up for lost time and money.