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India loses hair business jobs to cheap child labour in Myanmar | Hyderabad News – Times of India

HYDERABAD: Human hair exporters from India have stumbled upon videos of children engaged in hair processing in Myanmar because of which at least two lakh employees working in the raw hair processing industry have reportedly lost employment in cities such as Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Eluru, all thanks to Chinese nationals smuggling human hair to Myanmar.

This has been corroborated by Kolkata customs office in an alert note sent recently to all zones, including Hyderabad. Industry sources said that the figures could be much higher and added that around eight lakh workers have lost employment because of the human hair smuggling racket.
Customs sleuths alleged that the children were being engaged in hair processing in Myanmar in violation of child labour norms. The racket came out in the open when Kolkata customs officials raided the office of a human hair trader recently.
The customs officials found that one exporter and a customs clearance agent were in cahoots and the human hair consignments cumulatively valued at Rs 9.4 crore.
The Chinese importers were resorting to illegal trade by under-invoicng hair to evade import duty in Myanmar and China. In the note, the office of the principal commissioner of Kolkata’s customs said: “Smugglers are engaged in the illegal trade of Indian-origin raw human hair to China via land routes. The smuggling via land is to escape 28% Chinese import duty while paying a pittance to Myanmarese children engaged in segregating and isolating hair strains from raw and unprocessed human hair. This has resulted in loss of employment in the domestic industry.”
Benjamin Cherian, president of Human Hair and Hair Products Manufacturers Exporters Association, in a letter to the Union ministry of commerce and industry, said their industry will rebound thanks to the nationwide crackdown on smuggling of human hair across Myanmar and Bangladesh borders.
He said by exporting human hair, particularly goli variety (thutthi and choti are other varieties), it would not only earn foreign exchange but also provided employment to a large number of workers. “As per the industry estimates, 50,000-70,000 people out of 8.61 lakh workers are back at work to process hair,” said a hair exporter.
India is a major collector and supplier of human hair accounting for almost 90% of the global supply in the $9 billion industry and growing at 32% compound annual growth rate.

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