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CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour

CHILDLINE 1098 SERVICE » Strategic Policy Initiative » Child Labour

Child Labour

Child labour refers to any type and intensity of work that hampers children's access to education, damages their physical and/or psychological health, hinders their development within their families or deprives them of their childhood or self-respect.

To read about the Millennium Development Goals in reference to Children & their Rights CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour Click Here CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Child labour refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling:

  • by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school;
  • by obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
  • by requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
In its most extreme forms, it involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities - all of this often at a very early age.

Child labour is work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.

To read about the scale of Child Labour across the Globe
CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour Click Here CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour

To read about Child Labour in India CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour Click Here CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour

A recent effort by the Indian Governments to eradicate Child Labour

The Union Government has banned the employment of children under 14 in domestic sector, hospitality sector that includes dhabas, teashops, restaurants, hotels and resorts. The ban will come into effect from 10th October 2006. The ban announced by the Labour Ministry is aimed at "ameliorating the condition of hapless working children" from "psychological traumas and at times even sexual abuse". Government servants are also prohibited from employing children as servants.

The penalty for flouting the law will be a jail term ranging from three months to two years with or without fine of Rs. 10,000 - 20,000. If you come across anyone employing a child below the age of 14, call 1098.

To read further about the government initiatives towards elimination of Child Labour CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour Click Here

To read the horrifying stories of a few children rescued from the clutches of Child Labour CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour Click Here CHILDLINE India Foundation - Child Labour

CHILDLINES Stand on Child Labour

CHILDLINE has conducted over twelve thousand rescues of children from abusive situations. Most of these being calls from children engaged in child labour. The learning has been that for every child rescued two more enter the labour markets. While there are a number of organizations and campaigns working towards the abolition and elimination of child labour in addition to efforts made by the Government, the nation is far from free of child labour. The need of the moment is to integrate targeted child labour interventions with larger development and poverty eradication interventions.

India has used the conventional interventions such as legislation against child labour, raids in industries, which regularly use child labour. However, the scale of marginalized population, the increasing disparities between rural poor and urban middleclass and a variety of other factors ensure that conventional intervention is no longer working. Government now needs to look at a combination of factors in dealing with this socially destructive issue. These could include:

  • We need to strictly adopt a "No Child Labour " policy while simultaneously meeting other development concerns that lead to Child Labour.

  • Child Labour Act should be amended to do away with the distinguishing hazardous and non-hazardous industries, the definition of children covered under the act should be changed to 18 years. If this is to be effective child labour must be stopped atleast till age 14 on an immediate basis. Children above the age of 14 but below 18 must be offered the option to decide whether they wish to continue education or work. However, this option must be available only until the end of the XI plan.

  • The 86th constitutional amendment defining the right of children to education must be effective till 18 years of age.

  • The government needs to embark upon a large-scale awareness and sensitization campaign targeting end consumers on the social relevance of boycotting products that do not certify that no child labour has been used in the making of the products. In fact, in several product categories, the government might consider legislation to ensure mandatory declaration about non-use of child labour. If tobacco products can carry a warning derived from legislation, so can products which are traditionally made with the help of child labour. As a matter of fact, actions like this by NGOs in the firecracker industry has yielded positive results. Task forces need to be set up at state and local levels to study all aspects and develop localized solutions including monitor situation.

  • The government must set benchmarks for linkages between poverty elimination programs like NREGP and rural infrastructure initiatives, Bharat Nirman and the existing child labour targeted programs, particularly in areas that are prone to child labour due to overall economic backwardness.

  • Child labour which is hidden, such as in domestic situations, hotel industry needs to be addressed by adequate legislation.

  • Setting up of hotline linked dedicated 1098 CHILDLINE booths at each railway station in the country. These booths should have non-dialable instruments which are auto-connected to the nearest CHILDLINE call centre.