The human beings between the age of 0 to 14 years are classified as children. It is the age of innocence which forms the basic foundation of a person’s character. It is in this age where the basic physical and mental structure of an individual develops and also morals like integrity, perseverance, honesty and hard work are cultivated. This age can be compared to that of a blooming bud which needs proper nourishment in the form of water , sunlight and nutrients to bloom into a beautiful big flower. Any kind of extra interference in the normal building of a human body tampers the growth and cause serious consequences for the future that is the adulthood which in turn affects the nation as a whole.
The term child labor refers to the exploitation of children by making them do any type of work that deprives them of their innocence, cause damage to their physical health, mental trauma, affects their dignity and causes any kind of moral or social harm. If in the age of learning an individual will be force to work and will be exposed to physically and morally dangerous situations or any kind of violence it will make that child to grow into an adult full of social loathe, low learning, may also make him/her abusive as the absence of proper learning and tremendous pressure tampers the brain to a great extent and that individual may not even be able to live a basic life maybe adopting the way of crime. They will have this mentality that no matter the amount of hard work which is put , the people who are born to just serve (work) can never succeed by the hook.
The United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) has revealed in its report that India with its larger population has the highest number of labors under 14 years of age i.e. it has the highest number of child labors. This blog will tell you the reasons for these high numbers and the measures taken by government to prevent the exploitation of children.
Why is India leading in Child labor
According to the statistics, over 68.8% of the total Indian population is in poverty with an income of less than $2 per day (i.e. 150 rupees) per family where the number of family members can extend more than 10 too with minimum earning members. In a situation where hand to mouth existence becomes difficult, it is very obvious that people tends to increase the number of heir earning members and thus the children in the age of learning becomes the earning members. Education becomes a very high graded luxury in such cases though the government schools provide free education for children upto 14 years of age. Parents believe that the money child will earn in 8 hours which would have been spent in school will at least gather them one meal.
This is the reason the children of 7- 8 years of age are sent far away from their homes on the pretext of getting good jobs when they are in reality being pushed into trafficking. While in some cases tired of poverty, parents themselves sell their children for a small portion amount of money. The trafficked children are then brought into the “child begging industry” where one of their body part is removed and they are forced to beg money as such children evokes the emotion of pity. Organ trafficking is also a part of this big racket which leads to the early deaths in children.
Few children mostly girls are introduced into sex trafficking and as domestic maids where they encounter not only physical and sexual violence but also are starved for days with maximum labor. This is a complete violation of their innocence and dignity.
Child soldiers are another category where these children are sent to serve for money and are trained to rebel against a group of individuals or a government since their childhood days. The best example of child soldiers is the incorporation of children in the terrorist groups which inculcates the strong emotion of hate in them at such a tender age.
Further, the children are naive and can work for longer hours in a relatively low income which makes them a perfect employee for the illegal small scale industries like firecrackers, bidi making etc. It has been reported more than once of many children getting injured in the blast accidents which happens in such industries.
The illegal employment of children working in Brick kilns, minning areas , stone quarries have led to several health problems such as severe respiratory ailments, weakness, hair loss, vision loss and premature aging.
Steps taken to cease this violation
According to data from Census 2011, India was recorded to have 10.1 million (nearly 1 crore) children working as child labors out of which 5.6 million were boys and 4.4 million girls. Whereas, 152 million children works as child labors worldwide with 88 million being boys and rest 64 million being girls. This statistic shows that 1 out of every 10 children works as a child labor worldwide.
The Indian Constitution has labelled Child Labor as a criminal offence with many acts offering a minimum of 3 years of jail if a person is found guilty of child labor. Also, section 372 of IPC(1860) declares the selling of a minor for the purpose of prostitution as a non bailable offence with over 10 years of imprisonment and fine.
Further several non profit organisations are also working to rescue the children from bondages and grant them their fundamental right of Right To Education. Kailash Satyarthi, a receiver of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 has worked since years for the upliftment of suppressed children and to terminate child labor. His foundation The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation has rescued many children from the exploitation and continues to do so till date.
Child labor is a plague which robs the innocence and the growth from the children who are not privileged, which if not stopped from the common effort will continue to affect the future of the nation.