Humanity Research Consultancy

Report on the Practice of Manual Scavenging in India

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May 27, 2021

Report Publication

Report published in May 2021

We’re glad to publish our new report titled It is Not Humane to Clean Human Shit: Report on the Systematic Prevalence of Forced Labour in the Form of Manual Scavenging in India.

This report is written and prepared by Deeksha Sharma as a part of the research project under the HRC Fellowship Programme held from September 2020 to November 2020.

Our publications help to increase knowledge and raise awareness about human rights and fundamental freedoms of people, especially those who are vulnerable and marginalised, while at the same time calling for extensive collaboration between the relevant stakeholders.

This report presents the developments concerned with manual scavenging in India in the past 20 years (2000-2020), understanding what became better and worse in terms of laws, stakeholder mapping, and media engagement. Though this hereditary caste-based forced labour is culturally sanctioned and socially approved by communities, this report has vividly pointed towards the lack of political will to end manual scavenging. It envisions to keep the national and international community engaged on the issues of forced labour, calling for their concerted efforts to end manual scavenging in India.

  • The report has covered various national and international legislations that can help end the practice of manual scavenging. It has highlighted the interventions to abolish manual scavenging that are crucial to undo the socio-economic injustice done to the marginalised communities, modernise sanitation, and punishing officials and private households that employ manual scavengers.

  • It has also highlighted the crucial role of the media in striking a positive change within the communities in response to this practice. Social media platforms have also helped increase community engagement and provoke dialogues on human rights issues and the importance of decent work.

  • The report also uncovers the unending activism of the CSOs and NGOs to end the dehumanising practice and has discussed their efforts to restore the dignity of the marginalised manual scavenging communities.

With the rise in increased awareness programs and strengthening of legislations, a collective consciousness to end this derogatory practice has already begun.