What are the key economic and political factors driving modern slavery within the tea industry in Bangladesh?
The main factor driving modern slavery within the tea industry in Bangladesh is the extreme marginalisation of tea garden workers, who are mostly descendants of migrants from India, by wider society. Social and economic exclusion mean workers have no alternative to working under highly exploitative conditions in the tea industry.
The review found considerable literature on the working conditions of tea workers, but little on the wider context of their position in society, attention to the plight of tea workers in policy-making, or the macro-economic and political pressures to sustain modern slavery in Bangladesh’s tea gardens.
Women suffer particularly in the tea sector in Bangladesh. The majority of tea pickers – who spend over eight hours each day picking leaves – are women. Typical men’s jobs include working in factories, as supervisors and as security guards. The review found nothing specifically about persons with disabilities in the tea industry in Bangladesh.