Eradicate Child Labour and Aspire for a Better Future

By Souromita Chatterjee, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar.

Children should be making sand castles, not bricks.

Child labour is the practice of having children engage in economic activity, on a part-time or full-time basis. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines the term child labour 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, or work whose schedule interferes with their ability to attend regular school, or work that affects in any manner their ability to focus during school or experience a healthy childhood.” (more…)

The Immorality of Child Labour

By Sonali Bhatnagar, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.

Everything has been said already; but as

No one listens, we must always begin again.

                                                                                               -Andre Gide

What is Child Labour? Child labour is commonly defined as work done by children under the age of 18 years that may be harmful to their physical, emotional, intellectual and social development[1]. Is not a recent phenomenon and again, not confined to a particular country. More than 200 million[2] children around the world today are deprived of a childhood. Forced to work in fields, mines and factories, many children’s plight is highly visible. But many more children suffer in the hidden dimensions of child labour, such as domestic work, sexual exploitation, human trafficking and slavery. Today, one out of every seven children in the world is involved in child Labour[3]. Child labour covers every non-school going child irrespective of whether the child is engaged in wage or non-wage work; whether he or she is working for their family; whether employed in hazardous or non-hazardous occupations; whether employed on a daily or on a contract basis or as a bonded laborers[4]. Child labour has a long history; it exists in various forms such as street trading, gardening, child caring, handicrafts, prostitution and trafficking and factors such as poverty, ignorance, culture, corruption, ineffective laws and the lack of will to enforce them, are some causes of child labour. (more…)

Juvenile Delinquency: The Indian Scenario

By Kshitiz Sharma, Delhi Institute of Rural Development, GGSIPU, Delhi.

More than a century ago, Abraham Lincoln said “A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. He is going to sit where you are sitting, and when you are gone, attend to those things you think are important. You may adopt all the policies you please, but how they are carried out depends on him. He is going to move in and take over your churches, schools, universities and corporation. The fate of humanity is in his hands” (more…)

Right to Education in the context of Child Labor: An Analysis

By Rohin Bhansali, Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat.

Child labor is widespread and bad for development, both that of the individual child and of the society and economy in which she or he lives. If allowed to persist to the current extent, child labor will prevent the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty and achieving Education for All.

Child labor is one of the biggest problems faced by world today. According to UNICEF, a staggering number of 250 million children aged 2 to 17 are subjected to child labor worldwide. Child labor is defined by many organizations as “any kind of work for children that harms them or exploits them in some way may it be physically, mentally, morally or by depriving a child of education”. Child labor is a social menace in many parts of the world, especially developing countries. There is a widespread practice of child labor in places like agriculture, factories, mining, and quarrying etc. (more…)

Child Labour in India

“When my mother died I was very young, and my father sold me while yet my tongue could scarcely cry “Weep! Weep! Weep! Weep!”, so your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep.”[1]                                                                                                                                                                     -William Blake

Blake, explaining the hardships of a young chimney sweeper reflected on the issue of child labour rampant during the 18th century in England.

Records of child labour as servants in domestic households of noblemen can be traced throughout the human history though it reached its extremes with Industrial Revolution in the late 17th century in England. Peter Thonemann of Wadham College, Oxford, in Children in the Roman Empire, states that slaves and children of lower birth in the Roman Empire started to work as soon as they were physically capable of doing such work.[2] For example, “The tombstone of Quintus Artulus who died at the age of four at the silver mines of Banos de la Encina in Andalusia, depicts the child in a short tunic, barefoot, carrying the tools of his trade, a miner’s axe and basket.”[3], exhibiting the existence of child labour during ancient Roman and Greek civilizations. In the Indian context, child labour has existed in the country since times immemorial as children and their parents used to work together in the farms for it served the purpose of training children for their future. (more…)