A child should not be subjected to work at the expense of his or her education and dreams. Child labour robs the minor’s opportunity to enjoy their childhood, go to school, and have a decent shot at success. It condemns them to a life of limited opportunities. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that every child is protected and not exploited for cheap labour. It is not just the responsibility of the parents to eliminate child labour but also that of the government and the society
Following are the statistics of child labour-
- 13 Million child labourers between 5-14 years in India (2011 census data)
- Child labour in 2011 has decreased by around 20 percent from 2001 census figures.
- There are 22.87 million working children in India between 15-18 years.
- As per 2011 census, one in 11 children are working in India (5-18 years).
- 80 percent of the child labour in India is concentrated in rural areas.
- ILO 2016 data indicates that there are 152 million working children in the world between 5-17 years, of which 23.8 million children are in India.
- So 16 percent of the working children (or every 6th working child) in this age group is in India.
The term ‘child labour’ is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and is harmful to their physical and mental development.
Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination. Children’s or adolescent’s participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling, is generally regarded as being something positive.This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays. These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development.
Child Labour refers to work that:
- a) is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children.
- b) 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.
Child labour is caused by several factors. Some of them include:
- Poverty: This is the single biggest factor contributing to the children working hard in factories or shops or construction sites rather than playing and getting an education. Families do not have enough resourcesand children often become the means for more income, even if it means having to forego the privileges of childhood. Children who come from poor families may be forced to work to support their siblings and parents or supplement the household income when expenses are more than the parents’ earnings. It is a huge problem especially in developing countries where parents are unable to generate income due to the lack of employment opportunities or education. Children can be found employed in mines or hawking in the streets to earn money that is used to provide basic necessities such as food and clothing for the family. Children may also be employed in factories to generate income for the family instead of attending school. Some children have left orphans or abandoned due to poverty. Such children do not have anyone to take care of them and end up working to feed themselves unless taken up by orphanages. Such a practice is a common phenomenon in poverty-stricken regions with large factories set up by international companies.
- Education. Lack of education or poor quality education is another factors that contribute to high incidence of child labour. Education is considered one of the main alternatives to abolish child labour. Practically family income affects children’s education and poor parents cannot afford to pay for children however, children are compel to work and are less enrolled. In the following section provides an overview between education and child labour and how education is most important potential substitute for child labour second the reasons why children do not attend school. Third, how children combining work and school. Finally the impacts of child labour on education.
- Low Aspiration: It is important for parents and children to understand that they can work hard and make something great of themselves. Low aspirations by parents and children is a major cause of child labour because in such a situation, being employed in a local factory, or selling grocery in the streets is the normal way of life. To these types of children and parents, success only belongs to a certain region or group of people. They do not aspire to become professionals in the society or great entrepreneurs. It is a mindset that forms the very foundation of child labour.
- Huge demand for unskilled labourers:The demand for unskilled labourers is another cause of child labour. Children are mostly unskilled and provide a cheap source of labour, making them an attractive option for many greedy employers. Child labour, by virtue of being cheap, increases the margin of profits for such entrepreneurs whose only objective is profit maximization even if it comes at the expense of ethics and good business practices. These types of employers can also force children to work under unfavorable conditions through manipulation or blatant threats.
- Illiteracy:A society with many educated people understands the importance of going to school and pursuing dreams. Children have the ability and time to become whatever they aspire to be. Illiteracy, on the other hand, makes it difficult for many people to understand the importance of education. Illiterate people view education as a preserve of the privileged in the society. They will therefore not provide support to children so that they can go to school and build solid foundations for future success. The same view of life is seen among illiterate parents who prioritize children contributing to the upkeep of the family over going to school.
- Family condition A growing number of children who have either lost one or both the parents and those impacted by HIV/ADIS in the family, are forced to work in order to support themselves and their siblings. The numbers of orphaned children are increasing particularly in sub Saharan Africa, many whom become street children, and live in very different circumstances (Vandenberg,2007).
- Traditional or cultural factor Culture is another factor which is driving children into labour market. Different cultures of many societies make children start work at very young age which are related to traditions and cultural factors.
- Early Marriages:Marrying at an early age is a major contributing factor to overpopulation. Having many children with little or no resources to support them leads to child labour. Older children are forced to work in order to help their parents support the family.
- High cost of education: Quality education is expensive. To many parents who live in abject poverty, priority is given to providing food for the family because education is too expensive to afford especially when there are many children to pay school fees for. Instead of letting children stay at home because there is lack of money to send them to school, parents opt to have them working as unskilled labourers to help support the family. Some parents can also only afford basic education which means that children will be forced to look for work since they cannot pursue their education
- Gender discrimination: Often girls are required to quit school and take up work to supplement family income until they are suitably married off. This too is an observation in typically vulnerable
- Family tradition: Many families with businesses or traditional occupations like arts, etc. expect the children to work to be able to pass on the traditional arts or business only by experience.
The state of Karnataka, Rajasthan and the Mohali district administration have made names and personal addresses of covid-19 suspects public through local newspapers and official websites.
Consequences / Effects:
Child labour has several negative impacts. Some of them are :
1. Loss of Quality childhood
2. Health issues
3. Mental trauma
How can child labour be reduced or completely eradicated?
Every child born has the right to have dreams and pursue those dreams. Even though the realization of some of these aspirations may be limited by several challenges, it is still possible to overcome them and achieve the highest levels of success.There is need to involve various stakeholders to realize this objective.
There are some of the ways in which the problem of child labour can be addressed:
- Free education
- Moral Polishing
- Create demand for skilled and trained workers
- Empowerment of poor people
Indian Laws relating to Child Labour
- As per the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986,amended in 2016 (“CLPR Act”), a “Child” is defined as any person below the age of 14, and the CLPR Act prohibits employment of a Child in any employment including as a domestic help. It is a cognizable criminal offence to employ a Child for any work.
- In addition, various laws in India, such as the Juvenile Justice (care and protection) of Children Act-2000, and the Child Labour (Prohibition and Abolition) Act-1986 provide a basis in law to identify, prosecute and stop child labour in India.
- The Factories Act of 1948 prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in any factory. The law also placed rules on who, when and how long can pre-adults aged 15–18 years be employed in any factory.
The Mines Act of 1952 prohibits the employment of children below 18 years of age in amine.
However, it is still noticeable that people around the country hire children so that they will have the benefit of paying low wages to them. One should do not encourage child labour, and neither one should let any other to hire a child to any job.
 “World day against child labour” (India Today, June 12 2019)<https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/world-day-against-child-labour-india-global-statistics-1547177-2019-06-12> accessed on 12/06/2020
 “World day against child labour” (India Today, June 12 2019)<https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/world-day-against-child-labour-india-global-statistics-1547177-2019-06-12> accessed on 12/06/2020 Victor, “Essay on child labour”,(Important India, 12february 2019)< https://www.importantindia.com/25558/child-labour-meaning-causes-effects-s>accessed on 12/06/2020