South India fishermen use power of collective action against debt bondage

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Fishermen from South India – video capture

For most of their lives, 12 fishermen in the Aruacottuthurai village, on the Tamil Nadu coast in South India, have lived like 'slaves'.

Every one of them was in debt to money-lenders. They in turn had inherited the debt from their fathers, according to Joanne Levitan of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). In an intricately corrupt system, she explains, the moneylenders, the local traders and village leaders were all in cahoots, ensuring that it was impossible for the fishermen to ever pay back what they owed.

Ms. Levitan reports on this powerful story about liberation from debt bondage, or ‘slavery’ as the fishermen prefer to call it.

Duration:  3’20″

 

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August 2014
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