Child labour refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organisations.
Child labour is creating innumerable problems to the children, who are made to slug it out day and night for a peanut of an amount to show despite doing hard and strenuous work. Due to the family background and due to pressure the children were made to undergo abuses, punishment and getting all the types of sundry work from them. This is not in a good taste and not in lines with labour laws. As per the law, the child labour is a punishable offence and if the owner ill-treats the children, and if reported, it attracts more stringent punishment including jail term. Female children find it more difficult to survive as they are forced to undergo cheap work and they find it more difficult to survive as they are sexually abused as well. NGOs revealed disturbing factor to the fore with regard to the harassment and addressed their problem in proper perspective. Of course children deserve a better place in the society and their age is for developing knowledge and not to do odd work and still get bad name.
It is high time child labour utilised for various job works must be stopped immediately. From the hotel room to making crackers the orphaned child are misused giving an impression that the grown up men and women are not able to do much work and the same is to be done by the young. A large number of children die because of malnutrition and there is no one to take care of these innocent children. Near VT and Churchgate stations we can find number of orphaned children wander here and there and involve in immoral activities. It is time to give the children the much needed boost to come out of the hardship and live like a normal human being. The rich people in Mumbai can organise a child welfare centre to help these unwanted children.
Child labour has been an international concern because it damages, spoils and destroys the future of children. The problem of child labour is a serious matter not only in India but also in other developing countries. It is great social problem. Children are the hope and future of a nation. Yet, there are millions deprived children in our country who have never known a normal, carefree childhood.
The law in Indian soil says that any child below age of 14 cannot be employed either in a factory or office or restaurant. In fact, India’s international business has been severely affected in many cases because child labours, violating human rights, have been used in some stage or the other in manufacturing, packaging a transport of those items. And, in a large number of cases of export of ready-made garments and several other items from India has been rejected on grounds of child labour being used.
Labour that jeopardises the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, either because of its nature or because of the conditions in which it is carried out, is known as hazardous work. While child labour takes many different forms, a priority is to eliminate without delay the worst forms of child labour as defined by Article 3 of ILO Convention No. 182.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)