The Hard Labor That Fuels the Hair Trade – SAPIENS

A person wearing a colorful dress and green bracelets sits on the ground and holds up a fistful of matted, dark hair.

Women in low-income households gather and keep this hair to sell to hair collectors. A 500-gram hair ball, for example, which may represent one to three days’ collected combings, might yield 500 rupees (about US$7). The buyer pays half upfront and promises the rest if the seller returns in the future with more hair. That amount could help a woman buy not only cheap housewares, such as a plate or spoons, which she can trade later, but also a day’s worth of milk and vegetables.

Families collecting comb waste in Nagpur and elsewhere in India have a hand-to-mouth existence with their meager earnings. Little do they know that the hair they sell takes on another life once it passes out of their hands, potentially gaining immense value as it travels the supply chain.

Source: The Hard Labor That Fuels the Hair Trade – SAPIENS