No longer in bonded labour and debt in Sri Lanka’s fisheries sector
2017-11-14 17:22:33   copyfrom:    hits:

SRI LANKAThursday, November 02, 2017Valaipadu - Kristin Weyanathabaln has another demanding day ahead, as he sets


Thursday, November 02, 2017

Valaipadu - Kristin Weyanathabaln has another demanding day ahead, as he sets out in his fishing boat off the coast of northern Sri Lanka. But he smiles as he recounts how he has managed to free himself from the shackles of bonded labour.

“I am now free from debt,” the 48-year-old fisherman says.

Weyanathabaln had only started fishing in 2010, one year after the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war that lasted nearly 26 years and claimed countless lives and livelihoods. He had high hopes but no money, and had to borrow LKR 100,000 rupees from a money lender to buy a fishing net. The interest rate on repayment was an astonishing 300 per cent. 

Like many other fishermen in Kilinochchi district, he quickly fell into the trap of debt bondage. He was forced to sell all his catch to the same moneylender as a form of repayment, and with fishing being seasonal he had to borrow further from the moneylender during off-season to make ends meet. “I had to agree to the price he set. I know it was lower than market price but I didn’t have a choice,” says Weyanathabaln. He barely made enough money to care for his wife and five children.

Source: ILO

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