‘Stunt headed nowhere’: Activists decry plan to use drones to secretly film forced labour in India

An Eco Ranger UAV,  which has been used in anti-poaching operations to protect rhinos in southern Africa, and will likely be used in anti-slavery operations. Drones could become the weapon of choice in the war against modern-day slavery – and some human rights activists aren’t happy about it.

Kevin Bales, a prominent American abolitionist and co-founder of anti-slavery organization Free the Slaves, announced a proposal to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as “drones,” to identify and film forced labour in remote areas of India and Bangladesh at a conference in London last week.

You can catch the criminals in the act

“It’s simply a way of seeing what criminals are trying to prevent you to see, in order to bring justice,” he said.

Mr. Bales hopes the initiative will expose slavery in areas that are typically hard to reach and overlooked. They include fishing camps in the Sundarbans, a UNESCO world heritage site and tiger reserve in Bangladesh, where adult and child slaves work to produce shrimp that is exported globally.

Local authorities and non-governmental organizations could also use the images captured by the drones to rescue slaves.

“The absolute aim would be to bring law enforcement into it because that’s the way the justice system is supposed to work,” he said.

But some Indian human rights activists oppose the idea. They say it is a misguided publicity stunt that will do little to eradicate the practice.

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