Patterns and Dynamics of Bonded Labour and Child Labour in the Spinning Mills of Tamil Nadu: Findings From Life Story Analysis

Published on 1 September 2016

This is a report of the analysis of multiple life stories collected across the Freedom Fund bonded labour hotspot in Tamil Nadu. They were analysed by NGO fieldwork staff and community representatives at the Collective Story Analysis workshop, 18-22 April 2016. Where appropriate, we add reinforcing material from the scoping study conducted 2-11 December 2015.

We outline the major findings and key system dynamics that emerged. The life story collection and analysis process is the first of three research components in the IDS research on the Freedom Fund bonded labour hotspots. Alongside the life story work, a parallel participatory statistics process has been carried out. These two components will generate action research groups which will collect further data, generate solutions and test these in community, NGO and policy domains.

The life-story collection and analysis method used for this research is a systematic approach to understanding the context in which Freedom Fund partners are working, but it does not allow us to generalise beyond these participating communities, which have been selected because local civil society organisations believe that workers and their families in these areas are in greatest need. It does not allow us to make inferences about the overall conditions in the industry, though it does show the severity of problems occurring in these selected areas. All real names in this document have been replaced by codes that will be pseudonyms in the final report.


Danny Burns

Professorial Research Fellow

Pauline Oosterhoff

Research Fellow

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published by
Burns, D., Oosterhoff, P. and Joseph, S.


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