After 18 years of carrying human waste on her head, in wicker baskets, to a dumpsite outside her village in the Indian State of Rajasthan—a practice known as “manual scavenging”- Rekha Bai was able to find an alternative livelihood with the support of the NGO Jan Sahas, a civil society organization awarded by the UN Slavery Fund.
Rekha was one of thousands of former manual scavengers from 18 different Indian States who took part in a 10,000 kilometre march or “Yatra” to protest the continuation of this practice in 2013. Today, Rekha is a daily wage labourer and receives the minimum wage. She is free and is now viewed as a role model for the many others who are still engaged in the manual scavenging practice.
Read Rekha’s story and others in “The Human Faces of Modern Slavery”.