According to a 2017 report by the International Labour Organization(ILO), the number of child laborers around the world declined in number from 246 million in 2000 to around 152 million in 2016. However, still, a lot of children continue to be exploited and India is one of the countries which faces the same problem.
ILO also stated that there are around 12.9 million Indian children engaged in work between the ages of 7 to 17 years old. When children are employed or doing unpaid work, they are less likely to attend a school or attend only intermittingly, trapping them in the cycle of poverty, the study also says that the majority of the world’s child labor is done in the agriculture sector, including cotton plantations and rice fields and rest in the industry sector, including dangerous activities in mines.
What is child labour
The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
What are the causes of child labour in India?
Poverty and uncalled incident usually cause the children to work. In poor households’ children do work to meet basic needs and deal. We have seen illiterate people in rural areas often seek to take their children out of school and put them to work to help earn for their family.
How to stop child labour
- Spread awareness
Aware communities can help and respond to children’s issues and is likely to be effective. Awareness helps the communities to grow and help in education, employment, and enterprise opportunities and create a socially and economically developed society.
- More stringent laws and effective implementation
Policymaking plays a crucial role in preventing child labour and by making better laws involves we will be able to seek benefit. In the making of a good legislation, it requires taking the opinion of various professionals from various field like media, lawmakers, citizens, fellow civil society members, etc.
- Discouraging people to employ children in homes, shops, factories, etc
This step can be a turnaround action for most of the cases by discouraging child labor gets a mellow approval when Indian business operators openly use it, in industries like retail, hospitality, and menial work.
- Income Security
To enhance income security for families and facilitate access to education and health care, conditional or not, help prevent child labour, and promote enrolling children into schools, taking children for health check-ups.
- Public employment programs,
This provides jobs for adults to build and improve roads, schools, health centers and the like, helping to ensure that it is adults who are at work and not children.
- EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
Article 32-Prohibition of child labour and protection of young people at work,
The employment of children is prohibited. The minimum age of admission to employment may not be lower than the minimum school-leaving age, without prejudice to such rules as may be more favourable to young people and except for limited derogations. Young people admitted to work must have working conditions appropriate to their age and be protected against economic exploitation and any work likely to harm their safety, health or physical, mental, moral or social development or to interfere with their education.
2. India and the Convention of the Rights of the Child
Its significance is that it provides a legal framework to the rights of the child by holding governments accountable. It also has the potential to be an important tool for activists who work for children’s rights and, most importantly, it provides an opportunity and a forum for children to advocate for their rights.
Indian Laws against child labour
- Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017
It provides a broad and specific framework for prevention, prohibition, rescue, and rehabilitation of child and adolescent workers. Moreover, it clarifies on issues related to help in family and family enterprises and the definition of family with respect to child, specific provisions have been incorporated in rules.
- Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016
This Amendment Act prohibits the employment of children under 14 years. And 14- 18 years of age to work in hazardous occupations and processes and regulates their working conditions where they are not prohibited.
- Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986
Article 24 of the Indian constitution clearly states that “No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or employed in any hazardous employment.” The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 designates a child as a person who has not completed their 14th year of age. It aims to regulate the hours and the working conditions of child workers and to prohibit child workers from being employed in hazardous industries.
Constitutional Provisions for Child Upliftment
- Article 21 A: Right to Education
The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such manner as the State, by law, may determine.
- Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.
No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed in work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
- Article 39: The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing (e) that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength.
Initiatives have been taken by our nation’s government but we still see numerous cases of child labour in our day-to-day life. The problem does not lie with our legislation or with our law enforcement agencies but lies with us, we don’t oppose child labour to a great extent, we don’t try to fight it, not everyone reports it, not everyone discourages the business owner. And to eradicate this problem we need to start with ourselves.