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Article 23 – Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour Article 23(1): Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with the law. Article 23(2): Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from imposing compulsory service for public purposes, and in imposing such service the State shall not make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste or class or any of them. Labour without payment is known as begar. Article 23 forbids any form of exploitation. Also, one cannot be forced to engage in labour against his/her will even if remuneration is given. Forced labour is forbidden by the Constitution. It is considered forced labour if the less-than-minimum wage is paid. This article also makes ‘bonded labour’ unconstitutional. Bonded labour is when a person is forced to offer services out of a loan/debt that cannot be repaid. The Constitution makes coercion of any kind unconstitutional. Thus, forcing landless persons into labour and forcing helpless women into prostitution is unconstitutional. The Article also makes trafficking unconstitutional. Trafficking involves the buying and selling of men and women for illegal and immoral activities. Even though the Constitution does not explicitly ban ‘slavery’, Article 23 has a wide scope because of the inclusion of the terms ‘forced labour’ and ‘traffic’. Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.—No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.

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