Human Rights Watch

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India: Women at Risk of Sexual Abuse at Work

Poorly Enforced Laws Leave Informal Workers No Recourse

Wednesday 14 October 2020


(New York, October 14, 2020) – The Indian government’s failure to properly enforce its sexual harassment law leaves millions of women in the workplace exposed to abuse without remedy, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should urgently ensure compliance with its 2013 Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, or POSH Act as it is popularly known.

The 56-page report, “‘No #MeToo for Women Like Us’: Poor Enforcement of India’s Sexual Harassment Law,” finds that while women in India are increasingly speaking out against sexual abuse at work, in part due to the global #MeToo movement, many, particularly in the informal sector, are still constrained by stigma, fear of retribution, and institutional barriers to justice. The central and local governments have failed to promote, establish, and monitor complaints committees – a central feature of the POSH Act – to receive complaints of sexual harassment, conduct inquiries, and recommend actions against abusers.

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