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Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia Hardcover – September 25, 2012


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Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia + Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery + The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today
Price for all three: $57.41

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231158483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231158480
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Kara's exploration is perhaps the most ambitious and reasoned treatment of this form of slavery in the modern era. By combining academic rigor and discipline alongside the narratives and voices of slaves, Kara offers a definitive analysis of the complexity of bonded labor as well as a reinvigoration of the movement to end this form of slavery globally. A must-read for all who want to better understand the trajectory of the global economy and its effect on labor.

(Randy Newcomb, president/CEO, Humanity United)

Kara's eye-opening view of bonded labor jolts the reader into acute awareness of one of the most insidious forms of modern-day slavery, inciting us to act to end this crime against humanity.

(Anne Archer, founder, Artists for Human Rights)

This book is a tool for a slave-free future. Incisive, relevant, and composite, it offers the latest data on bonded labor in South Asia, argues brilliantly that choice is irrelevant to bondage, and has new 'how-to' guides for activism.

(Ruchira Gupta, president/founder, Apne Aap Women Worldwide)

A beautifully lucid, compelling mixture of history, investigative journalism, personal testimony, and trenchant socioeconomic criticism.

(Jacqueline Bhabha, Harvard University)

An eloquent description of human misery and courage. The unique contribution of Kara's book is his in-depth economic analysis of industries where high profits are made on the expense of millions of poor and vulnerable people.

(Beate Andrees, International Labour Office)

Bonded Labor blends an historical account of the origins of slavery with meticulous research and first-hand testimonies from victims. The book enables the reader to fully grasp the extent of the problem and should move us all to act.

(Nina Smith, executive director, GoodWeave U.S.A.)

Beyond sobering, disturbing, yet so well and humanly written. The solutions proposed are the clearest in relegating this modern-day slavery, finally, to history.

(Erica Stone, president, American Himalayan Foundation)

Passionate...yet data-driven and absent of sensationalism, Kara's spotlight on debt bondage, "at once the most ancient and most contemporary face of human servitude," warrants profound attention.

(Publishers Weekly)

This book is a valuable resource for policy makers, human-rights activists, legal experts and academics, as well as for businesses with supply chains in developing countries. It deserves attention, and should inspire the eradication of the insidious crime of enslavement.

(Kathleen Hwang Asia Literary Review 1900-01-00)

Review

As a human rights activist who has combated bonded labor for over three decades, I find Siddharth Kara's brilliant academic research very moving and rich in insight. It is powered by a passion for a world free from exploitation and for all to enjoy dignity and fulfillment. I have great joy in commending this scholarly and soulful work to readers all over the world.

(Swami Agnivesh, chairperson, Bonded Labour Liberation Front)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Aidan J. McQuade on January 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Bonded labour is the most common form of slavery in the world and Siddarth Kara's book provides a useful survey, drawn from years of research and interviews with bonded labourers, of bonded labour as it is practiced today across a range of industries in South Asia.

It is in these descriptions and in some of the economic analysis of the bonded labour economy that the book is at its strongest. It is considerably weaker in proposing solutions to bonded labour. Some of his proposals, such as having a transnational police force in South Asia to deal with slavery are, to put it mildly, utopian, particularly given the current political tensions in the region, and problematic from the perspective of rule of law. For example how could the democratic accountability of such a force be assured? The governance structure that Kara proposes, of an oversight board composed of people from the Human Rights Commissions of the participating countries and some NGOs is far from convincing.

Other of his ideas, such as fast tracking of slavery cases through the courts display a limited understanding of the relationship between continuing slavery practices and poor standards of rule of law: many of the effective solutions to slavery in India for example, are dependent on raising the standards of rule of law across a range of issues, many of which, such as the Indian compulsory education law, are not, ostensibly, about slavery.

So while Kara is good on the economics of bonded labour and its practice in particular industries, he shows much more limited appreciation of the political, institutional and cultural factors necessary in slavery eradication. It is a pity that he did not work with co-authors on this book, to strengthen his talents and idealism with some hard headed appreciation of how political and social change actually occur.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Clay Stafford on March 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Brings new meaning to owing your soul to the company store. A study of debt bondage and violent enslavement of men, women, and children in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Eighteen million bonded laborers owe their souls to the "man" generating over $17.6 billion in profits every year. Their life is not their own, but the products they make are ones that we purchase everyday: hand-woven carpets, tea, rice, frozen shrimp, more. For individuals, this is a study of the commerce chain and a questioning of who really made this product? What was the true human cost for my convenience? For writers setting anything in South Asia, this is a great resource for the human plotline. It will make you feel angry, sad, and helpless from page 1. Read it to be enlightened.
- Clay Stafford, author and founder of Killer Nashville
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TAJ on February 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is just as insightful as Kara's first book on the subject of modern slavery. The points made are clear and accurate. Definitely looking forward to your next one.
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