9 June, 2017
12th June is usually observed as ‘World Day Against Child Labour’.
Child labour is any work that denies children their childhood, their dignity, their right to education and their potential. It is often damaging to mental and physical development. Child labour comes in many forms and includes work that is physically, mentally, socially or morally dangerous and/or harmful to children.
Extreme forms of child labour can include children being enslaved, the sale and trafficking of children and debt bondage and compulsory labour, which can lead to the children being separated from their families and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets. Child labour violates human rights.
There are an estimated 10.1 million children working in India, with the majority of those being Dalit children. More than half are employed in the agriculture sector in areas such as cotton and tea growing, and a quarter in manufacturing. Other occupations which engage child labour include construction work, domestic work, mining and stone quarrying and small-scale industries such as bangle-making, cigarette-rolling and matchbox and lock-making. These industries often use toxic substances and metals, exposing children to myriad health issues.
Many factors contribute to child labour including poverty, lack of access to education and skills training, illiteracy of parents, lack of awareness of the negative effects of child labour, the family’s social and economic circumstances, family indebtedness, high levels of adult unemployment and the cultural values of the family and community. Children are valuable employees as they are cheap, unaware of their rights and unlikely to refuse their employer’s demands. One quarter of children in the workforce suffer injuries or illnesses while working.
One key action in preventing child labour is accessible and affordable education apart from plenty of awareness on Child Rights. Education gives children the practical skills they need to help themselves out of poverty and exploitation and is one of the most effective weapons in the fight against slavery and child labour.
At Purnata, we dedicate ourselves to see a “Child Labour Free World”.