India is sadly the home to the largest number of child labourers in the world. The census found an increase in the number of child labourers from 11.28 million in 1991 to 12.59 million in 2001. Nearly 400,000 children, mostly girls between seven and 14 years of age, toiling for 14-16 hours a day in cottonseed production across the country of which 90% are employed in Orissa. 40% of the labour in a precious stone cutting sector is children.
Poverty and lack of social security are the main causes of child labour. The increasing gap between the rich and the poor, privatization of basic services and the neo-liberal economic policies are causes major sections of the population out of employment and without basic needs. This adversely affects children more than any other group. Entry of multi-national corporations into industry without proper mechanisms to hold them accountable has lead to the use of child labour. Lack of quality universal education has also contributed to children dropping out of school and entering the labour force. A major concern is that the actual number of child labourers goes un-detected. Laws that are meant to protect children from hazardous labour are ineffective and not implemented correctly.
- 10.13 million child labourers between 5-14 years in India (2011 Census data)
- Child labour in 2011 has decreased by around 20% from 2001 Census Figures
- There are 22.87 million working children in India between 15-18 years.
- As per 2011 Census, 1 in 11 children are working in India (5-18 years)
- 80% of the child labour in India is concentrated in rural areas
- 168 million children are estimated to be engaged in Child Labour around the world (ILO, 2012) that means every 17th working child in the world is in India
My efforts towards the prevention of child labour include
- Identifying the root causes which force families and communities to allow children to be engaged in labour
- Addressing these underlying issues by interacting with parents, community leaders and children’s collective where the importance of child rights and the damaging effects of child labour are discussed
- Provide free education and food to them.