Child labor is beyond stereotype images of sweetshop and mines, or children working on streets and in factories. Those involved in agricultural activities and working as domestic servants, often as unpaid workers for their families, are overlooked, deepening the roots of the menace. There are approximately 440 million children in India and according to a latest estimate given by various civil society organizations, nearly 70 million of them are working.
Poverty and social inequality are the root causes of child labor, the director notes. In case of unregulated economic growth leading to insecurity and unavailability of resources, the condition worsens. Also, sex and caste form important part of people’s life, especially the lower castes. “The girls are often expected to work while their brothers attend school.” Not to forget the other factors such as caste discrimination, state’s inadequate action towards its abolition and demand of cheap labor, which are also responsible for the hazard. “Myths like children are less likely to complain about working conditions or negotiate for higher wages and able to do intricate work in the cotton, silk and bangle-making industries, are ways to justify child labor.”
Save the Children works on four mantras – prevention, withdrawal, protection and participation – of children, in order to tackle the menace. This involves identifying children both at potential risk and working, keeping them out of work and preventing them from becoming child laborers through rescue operations. “This is possible only through their schooling and participation in various skills training programs.”
“All the problems of the world – child labor, corruption – are symptoms of a spiritual disease: lack of compassion.”
Stop child labor.