Lets Stop Child Labour Essay

Free sample essay on Child Labour (Free to read). Children are the most important asset of any nation. Each child is an asset to the society. The future welfare of society is closely related to the welfare of the child.

Children are the future of the nation. They are flowers of our national garden. It is our duty to protect these flowers. Child labour is a socio-economic problem. Child labour is not a new phenomenon in India. From ancient times, children were required to do some work either at home or in the field along with their parents.

However, we find in Manusmriti and Arthashastra that the king made education for every child, boy or girl, compulsory. In those days there was a system of trade of children, who were purchased and converted to slaves by some people. The problem of child labour was identified as a major problem in the 19th century when the first factory was started in mid-19th century. Legislative measures were first adopted as early as 1881. Since independence there have been several laws and regulations regarding child labour.

Child labour has been defined as any work done by the children in order to economically benefits their family or themselves directly or indirectly, at the cost of their physical, mental or social development. Child is the loveliest creation of nature. But it is the circumstances which force them to hard labour. They have to earn livelihood from early childhood, stopping their mental development. The nation suffers a net loss of their capacity as mature adults.

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Child labour is a global problem. It is more common in underdeveloped countries. Child labour, by and large, is a problem of poor and destitute families, where parents cannot afford education of their children. They have to depend on the earning of their children.

The prevalence of child labour is a blot on society. It is a national disgrace that millions of children in this country have to spend a major part of their daily routine in hazardous works. The problem of child labour in India is the result of traditional attitudes, urbanisation, industrialisation, migration, lack of education, etc. However, extreme poverty is the main cause of child labour. According to the UNICEF, India is said to have the largest number of world’s working children. Over 90% of them live in rural areas. The participation rate in rural urban areas is 6.3% and 2.5% respectively. According to a recent report, 17 million children in our country are engaged in earning their livelihood. This constitutes 5% of the total child population of the nation. It is about one-third of the total child labourers of the world.

In India, working children are engaged in different organised and unorganised sectors, both rural and urban areas. In rural sector, children are engaged in field plantations, domestic jobs, forestry, fishing and cottage industry. In urban sector they are employed at houses, shops, restaurants, small and large industries, transport, communication, garages, etc. In India, working children are also self-employed as newspaper, milk boys, shoeshine boys, rag pickers, rickshaw-pullers, etc. About 78.71% of child workers are engaged in cultivation and agriculture, 6.3% are employed in fishing, hunting and plantation, 8.63% in manufacturing, processing, repairs, house industry, etc., 3.21% in construction, transport, storage, communication and trade and 3.15% in other services.

Child Labour is exploited in several ways. Preference of child labour by many employers is mainly due to the fact that it is cheap, safe and without any liability. Many children take up the job just because of the non-availability of schools in their areas and thus rather than sitting idle, they prefer to go to work. Illiteracy and ignorance of parents is also an important factor. These parents do not consider child labour as evil. Child labourers have to work more than adult workers. They are exploited by their employers.

There are several constitutional and legal provisions to protect working children. At present there are 14 major acts and laws that provide legal protection to the working children. Notwithstanding, the evils of child labour is on the increase. The biggest cause behind its spread is poverty. It cannot be completely eradicated from society unless its root cause is not addressed. Child labour perpetuates poverty.

Child labour is economically unsound, psychologically disastrous and ethically wrong. It should be strictly banned. The general improvement in socio-economic conditions of people will result in gradual elimination of child labour.

Child labour robs children of their right to an innocent childhood. Do your bit to stop it by making informed decisions and spreading awareness.

“Anger is within each one of you, and if we are confined in the narrow shells of egos, and the circles of selfishness, then the anger will turn out to be hatred, violence, revenge, destruction. But if we are able to break the circles, then the same anger could turn into a great power. We can break the circles by using our inherent compassion and connect with the world, through compassion, to make this world better.” These are the words of Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, a child rights activist who has been fighting against child labour for over 36 years now. It was the anger of this common man that led to the formation of one of the world’s largest people’s movement that crossed borders and raised its voice for the children of the world trapped in child slavery.

If you have this anger in you, which makes its way forward every time you see a ‘chotu’ working at a dhaba or a ‘munni’ in tattered clothes, taking expensive dogs for a stroll in a plush locality, channelize this anger and do something to stop this.

We have a list of simple things that you can do to ensure that children are free to be childre

  1. Begin with yourself

Let’s accept that the people who employ children at their homes or places of work in the name of giving them an opportunity to earn a living and sustain themselves instead of starving, are not as charitable as they pretend to be. They benefit greatly from the children they look upon as nothing more than cheap labour; labour that doesn’t question them, is always at their service, resides in a corner of their house to answer their every beck and call, and can be molded to the best of the owner’s needs. 

But here’s what we need to remember: change begins with YOU.

Refrain from keeping ‘chotus‘ to clean your house, take care of your younger ones, do your dishes or wash your car. Instead, employ the poor adults in need of employment to sustain their families. While there are reasons humane enough to encourage you to do so, if that doesn’t work, please remind yourself that child labour is illegal!

  1. Be a conscientious consumer

Picture: Children working in Bindi making unit, bangle making and garment industry

Be it garments, confectionery, jewelry or any other consumer product, ask your retailer, manufacturers or shopkeeper if their brand is child-labour free. They might not always have an answer as sometimes, the supply chain has many layers and the end seller might not be aware of the processes followed at other levels. But at least you’ve asked! This will make them think. Many might even be encouraged to investigate and ensure no child labour is involved in their business.

You can also suggest they put up a proud declaration on their premises stating ‘My business is child labour free!’

Another option is to make a conscientious decision to go with organisaions like GoodWeave. Formerly known as Rugmark, this is a global network of organisations, committed to end child labour in carpet and readymade garment industry.

This industry used to be one of the most notorious with incidents of atrocious working conditions and forced child labour. Many organizations including Bachpan Bachao Andolan, have worked through their rescue operations and liberated many bonded child labourers from the carpet industry.

As responsible citizens, you must go for brands promoted by GoodWeave as those have been certified to be child labour free after a rigorous process of investigation.

  1. Educate yourself on the laws

One of the first steps to making the society child labour free is to yourself know about the provisions laid down in our Constitution for the protection of children, as well as the various laws in place to stop their exploitation and ensure prosecution of offenders. A simplified list of such provisions and laws can be accessed here.

Once you are aware of this, you are better equipped to assess the situation at hand and to warn the offenders around you.

  1. Use the fear of retribution for good!

While you try talk to the offenders about the trauma child labour can have on the children’s psyche, they might not be as moved. Because, let’s accept it, had they considered those children as humans with feelings, they would not have subjected them to slavery, thus snatching away their innocent childhood. In such cases, informing them of the penalty laid down by law, for  the protection of children, has a better chance of keeping them from destroying childhoods.

  1. Be vigilant and report abuse

Children forced to work need you to be their voice

Be aware of any form of child abuse or exploitation happening around you. Remember, such children need us to be their voices. Know about the concerned authorities in your locality such as the RWA head, NGOs or CBOs active in your area.

When you come across any case of child labour in your surroundings, immediately inform the police at 100 or call the Child Helpline at 1098 or reach out immediately to the NGOs/CBOs in your locality. You can also inform these concerned authorities either personally or through a phone call or letter. Phone calls or letters can be used to keep your identity anonymous in case the offender is someone influential.

  1. Talk to the parents of child labourers

Having the parents understand the ill-effects of child labour also helps in ensuring effective rehabilitation of the child, post rescue

Many times, there are children working around us with their parents also in the vicinity. This gives you a brilliant chance to talk to these parents about the serious implications that child labour has on children, in long run. Try counselling the parents of these children and persuade them to take the children out of work and enroll them in schools instead, thus helping the children move towards a different and better future.

While the parents are likely to cite reasons like poverty and illiteracy, you can counsel them to understand this vicious circle. Poverty leads to child labour and child labour in turn, ensures that poverty remains. If there has to be a economically bright future for these families, their children must be provided with quality education and skill building.

  1. Volunteer with some pioneer movements /organisations working to eradicate child labour

Volunteer at the nearest regional office of these organisations to understand this issue in-depth and understand what’s being done and what needs to be done, going forward. You will be appalled to know of the atrocities and the inhumane conditions these children are subjected to, in many cases.

And these organisations always need a helping hand in their work. Take some hours out from your weekend and help them in whichever way you can.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan is one of the pioneer grassroots movements, founded by Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. In its work of over 35 years, it has rescued and rehabilitated over 85,000 children working as forced labourers in industries as diverse as garment manufacturing, cosmetics, firecrackers, toy making, slaughterhouses, tea plantations, footwear automobile, electronics, etc.

  1. Be a well-informed voter

Pay attention to the agenda of the candidates in your constituency. If child labour elimination is not a part of their agenda, bring that up in discussion forums and other interactions you may have with them. If they don’t condemn child labour, or show disinterest in working towards its total elimination, don’t vote for them. Spread this awareness among other voters around you as well.

  1. Ensure a child labour free community

Picture courtesy: Google & BBA

Engage with the RWA in your locality to address the issue of child labour. Persuade them to make it a key priority to ensure that the locality is child labour free. Regular meetings with residents can be organized, where they are encouraged to keep adults as maids and helpers, and are asked to report cases of child labour around them.

You could also engage with RWAs to hold meetings with the children of the families residing in the locality to involve them in the cause. After all, who better than children to speak for their fellow children!

To learn more about child labour in India, click here

Picture credits: Pictures with messages written on children’s bodies are clicked by Mr. Robert Fogarty at Bachpan Bachao Andolan’s children’s home Bal Ashram for rescued child labourers in Jaipur.

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Bachpan Bachao AndolanBachpan Bachao Andolan is a pioneer grassroots organisation working since 1980 to eradicate child labour and for protection of child rights, initiated by Nobel Peace Laureate Mr. Kailash Satyarthi.

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