Childhood is the most beautiful of all the seasons a person goes through in his/her life, because childhood has innocence, the desire to explore, to learn, and desire to see the world without any preconceived notions and prejudices. Childhood is the time when children are supposed to learn rather than work in some crackers manufacturing factory. You got it, child labor is the subject of this blog. Child labor is a practice that reduces the quality of life of children, and the chances of getting them all educated and developed gets reduced. It is appropriate to say that, due to child labor, the assets of the nation are wasted and lost.
Now we need to discern as to why child labor is practiced and prevails in our nation. In India the main reason for child labor and child abuse is the surplus population and of course, lack of awareness and proper education. For example, child trafficking, which is considered as forced child labor, has been growing in our country rapidly. Children make up to approximately 40% of prostitutes. Till now, about 2 million women and children have been trafficked into the red light areas in India. It is estimated that there are 3 lakh child beggars in India. Plus, every year, 44 thousand children fall into the clutches of these gangs.
The people who are under the captivity of poverty and illiteracy expect their children to work in order to get some extra money to sustain their difficult lives. Illiteracy creates a serious problem in the case of destitute because they go by the tagline “ek baccha dus rupyaa, dus baccha 100 rupyaa” which means one child 10 rupees 10 children hundred rupees. This idea does not only promote child labor, but also adds to the population of our country. At times the kids who are disabled or suffer some kind of disease or indulge into some addictive activities also get into child labor because our society doesn’t accept them and they have to work to make a living. This is another facet of the problem. Child labor is most prevalent in 9 Indian states and Orissa, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh top this list. These states are largely struck by poverty and illiteracy, and these kinds of atrocities compel the parents to thrust their kids into industries, and such kids gets easily exploited for more work in less wages. In underprivileged areas, girls are more likely to work as labors and perform household chores in very early stages.
A lot of reforms and laws have been constituted to evade child labor but they have failed to create the desired impact. The states vulnerable to the abuse need to get better solutions because if they don’t eradicate child labor they will never keep up with the nation’s development. In order to erase child labor completely, providing education where ethics and values will be imbibed, is the only solution we have. Citizens like us can also contribute by abiding the laws and donating or even working in NGOs supporting the cause. Bringing these codes to play can turn the tables and allow the children lead a better life.
The kind of mayhem these children face because of child labor also disturbs their mental, physical, and emotional health. What’s even worse is that it steals the innocence of the child. Child labor has to be stopped. There is no substitute for it. Children should learn, not earn. Period.
Shivani Sehgal Intern Delhi NCR