Poverty and High Unemployment Poor children and their families may rely upon
child labor in order to improve their chances of attaining basic necessities.
About one-fifth of the world's 6 billion people live in absolute poverty. In
India, the parents send the children to sell petty items so they can have money
to buy food and other basic amenities.
This is due to the high unemployment in
the country leaving lots of people living below the minimum cash per capita.
Poverty has often been cited as the reason for the child labor problem in India.
While it is true that the poorest, most disadvantaged sectors of Indian society
supply the vast majority of child labors, child labor actually creates an
perpetuates poverty as it displaces adults from their jobs and also condemns the
child to a life of unskilled badly paid work. Limited Education Approximately
125 million children in the world do not attend school, limiting future
opportunities for the children and their communities.
The Global Campaign for
Education estimates that free, quality education for all children would cost ten
billion dollars, the same as 4 days of global military spending. According to
the statistics provided by The Government of India around 90 million out of 179
million children in the six to 14 age group do not go to school and are engaged
in some occupation or other.
This means that close to 50 per cent of children
are deprived of their right to a free and happy childhood. Over Population Due
to limited resources and more mouths to feed, Children are employed in various
forms of work. Over crowding of people causes the unemployment to rise, leaving
a lot of people jobless.
India is now one of the most populated countries in the
world. India has the largest number of children employed than any other country
in the world. Urbanization The Industrial Revolution has its own negative side.
Many a time companies and export industries in the developing world employ child
workers, particularly in the garment industry.
They move from the rural areas to
the urban cities illiteracy Illiterate parents do not realize the need for a
proper physical, emotional and cognitive development of a child. As they are
uneducated, they do not realize the importance of education for their children.
Children born out of wedlock, children with no parents and relatives,
often do not find anyone to support them. Thus they are forced to work for their
Willingness To Exploit Children:
This is at the root of the problem
Even if a family is very poor, the incidence of child labor will be very low
unless there are people willing to exploit these children.
Eminent Industries Where Childrens Are Mostly Exploited As Child Labourers:
Official estimates of 12.6 million children in hazardous occupations, India has
the highest number of laborers in the world under 14 years of age. The
Constitution of India guarantees free and compulsory education to children
between the age of 6 to 14 and prohibits employment of children younger than 14
in any hazardous environment, child labour is present in almost all sectors of
the Indian economy .
Beedi manufacture Child workers comprise of
more than 30% of total hired workers in the beedi manufacture sector. Carpet
Weaving South Asian Coalition against Child Servitude, claims that around
300,000 children are employed by the carpet industry around Mirzapu. Diamond
industry The International Labour Organisation reported in 2004 that child
labour constitutes about 25% of the labour in the diamond industry of Surat.
Fireworks manufacture Fireworks manufacturers in Sivakasi had long been
criticised for their use of child labour. All though the manufacturers declare
that child labour is no longer used, estimates suggest that at least 3000
children still work at every stage of the manufacture with wages as low as Rs 20
There had been protests by the manufacturers against the anti child labour campaign by various N.G.O.s , terming them as false allegations and
conspiracies. Silk Manufacture Human Rights Watch estimates that at least
350,000 bonded children are employed by the silk industry in India. As per Human
Rights Watch, children as young as five years old are employed and work for upto
12 hours a day and six to seven days a week.
Children are forced to dip their
hands in scalding water to palpate the cocoons and are often paid less than Rs
10 per day. Domestic labour Official estimates for child labour working as
domestic labour and in restaurants is more than 2,50,000 while NGOs estimate the
figure to be around 20 million.
- To find out the overall scenario of employment of children and young persons in
- To find out the data published by the government to curve out the child labor in
- To find out the working condition and exploitation faced by young persons in
In this research Article, I have used both doctrinal and non- doctrinal method
to analyse the child labor problem with reference to shops and Establishments. I
have relied on primary and secondary data such as news reports, national survey,
law journals etc. Representation is done by the questionnaire method and survey
is taken through Interview method. Both qualitative and quantitative survey were
carried out on debt bondage in those establishments.
Employment of children and young persons is social- economic problem and
therefore welfare legislations alone cannot check it. Due to lack of effective
implementation the problem of child labour is increasing day by day.
Effects Of Child Labour Towards The Society
Child labor directly affects the future of the country, destroying the
capabilities of the youths in India, depriving them on pursuing their dreams of
being professionals such as architects, doctors and even professional cricket
Child labor also creates and perpetuate poverty because the earnings
are not substantial to sustain or be used as capital for other business
opportunities. It condemns a child of a good childhood depriving him many
services in the society as well as depriving him from being educated. Instead,
wastes valuable time being unskilled and badly paid at times tortured too.
Poverty has often been cited as the reason for the child labor problem in India.
While it is true that the poorest, most disadvantaged sectors of Indian society
supply the vast majority of child labourers , child labor actually creates an
perpetuates poverty as it displaces adults from their jobs and also condemns the
child to a life of unskilled badly paid work. Child labour also exposes children
to physical and mental hazards endangering their lives. This in turn affects
their life morally. It makes the child develop mentally fast which is a
dangerous sign for youths.
This can lead them to becoming gangsters and bad
people of the society.
Effects Of Child Labour Towards Individual Children And Their Health:
Child Labour and Disease The children are suffering terrible illnesses and
injury due to working conditions. These diseases and injuries included: Phossy
Jaw Children and adults working in match factories suffered from Phossy Jaw.
This condition was caused by accidentally ingesting dangerous chemicals to make
Sometimes the chemicals caused the gums and jaw to become so
infected that jaw bones had to be removed. Chimney Sweep's Cancer . If faced
with a particularly narrow chimney, chimney sweeps would often be forced to take
all their clothes off in order to be able to squeeze through.
Their bare skin
would rub against the soot on the inside of the chimney and the creosote found
in the soot would get under their skin - sometimes leading to testicular cancer.
Chimney sweeps also often suffered from broken and malformed limbs as well as
severe breathing problems; children who worked in mines tended to show similar
symptoms and were at additional risk of injury or death if the mine collapsed.
Legal Provisions For Prohibition Of Child Labour:
The Factories Act, 1948: The Act prohibits the employment of a child who has not
completed 14 years. The Apprentices Act, 1951: A person shall not be qualified
for being engaged as an Apprentice . . . unless he is not less than 14 years of
age. Plantation Labour Act, 1951: "Child means a person who has not completed
his 14th year." (There is no prohibition of children.
A certificate of fitness
is necessary for employing a child.) The Mines Act, 1952: The Act prohibits the
employment of a child below 18 years of age for work below ground. The Child
Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986: The Act prohibits the employment
of a child who has not completed his 14th year of age in any of the occupations
set forth in part A of the schedule or in any workshop wherein any of the
processes set forth in Part B of the Schedule are carried on.
The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958: The Act prohibits Children less than 14 years
of age to be engaged or carried to sea work in any capacity in any ship, subject
to certain exceptions. The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961: The Act prohibits
the employment of Children less than 16 years of age in any motor transport
(Tamil Nadu Amendment) The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of
Employment) Act, 1966:
The Act prohibits the employment of children less than 14
years of age in any industrial premises manufacturing beedi or cigar. The Tamil
Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947: The Act prohibits employment of
Children who have not completed 14 years of age The Tamil Nadu Catering
Establishments Act, 1958:
The Act prohibits employment of Children who have not
completed 16 years of age The Tamil Nadu Handloom Workers (Conditions of
Employment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1981 The Act prohibits employment
of Children who have not completed 16 years of age The Tamil Nadu Manual Workers
(Regulation of Employment and conditions of work) 1982 The Act prohibits
employment of Children who have not completed 16 years of age in any scheduled
Employment of Children and Young Persons
17. Children not to work in establishments:
No child shall be required or allowed to work in any establishment.
18. Young persons to work only between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.:
No young person shall be required to work in any establishment before 6 a.m. and
after 7 p.m.
19. Daily and weekly hours of work for young persons:
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, no young person shall be
required or allowed to work in any establishment for more than seven hours in
any day and forty- two hours in any week nor shall such person be allowed to
Companies That Use Children As Labourers:
- Dole bananas
Humanitarian group Oxfam (an international confederation of 17 organizations
working in approximately 90 countries worldwide to find solutions to problems
globally) released several reports claiming that Dole should remove their
'Ethical Choice' labels from its fruit, for various reasons, saying that
children age 15 and younger are working up to 12 hour days in the fields, aerial
pesticide is sprayed while worker are on the fields, and environmental damage.
Children under the age of 16 years old are employed in Indonesia, China, South
Korea, Thailand and Vietnam to produce the Nike sneakers. Children have to work
for 12 hour shifts and get paid as low as 16 cents per hour. At that rate,
children only get paid $6.92 per week and $358.84 per year for their tedious
work. People in the US spend around that amount in a month.
The work environment
in these countries are unsafe, noisy, unsanitary, easy to get injuries and very
strict. The whole area is filled with dust and fumes. People have broken
fingers, fainted, lost limbs and continued kidney infections from not being
allowed to go to the bathroom more than once. People have died from that.
working, the employees are not allowed to talk to each other. When the rules are
abused, the consequences are verbal or physical abuse and/or being fired. In the
United States, a pair of Nike shoes costs about $100, which is $124.90 here in
New Zealand, and the people who made these shoes only receive about $3 for each
pair of shoes they make.
- Forever 21
In Uzbekistan, the government actually removes children from school and forces
them to pick cotton during the harvest season.
Samsung actually admitted in the week of 2 May 2013, that the tin in their
mobile phones may be from a mine that uses child labour. The tin comes from a
mine on the Indonesian island of Bangka, that is controversial for its labour
and environmental practices. The tin used kills an estimated 150 miners every
Furthermore, China Labour Watch has claimed that an HTNS Shenzhen Co. Factory
that assembles Samsung cell phones employed at least 3 girls under the age of
16. These children were working under the same harsh conditions as adult
workers, but were paid 70% of the wages when compared with the adult employees.
Night shift workers are only given time to eat one meal during the 11 hour work
- Toys 'R' Us
Like Forever 21's situation, in Uzbekistan, the government actually removes
children from school and forces them to pick cotton during the harvest season.
In 2000, Toys 'R' Us had to pay a fine of $200,000 after the U.S Department of
Labour found violations among 35 stores in New England.
These were found out:
307 violations of child labour laws at 19 stores
17 violations at the Festival Mall Toys 'R' Us in Hyannis
The department's wage and hour division checked 35 Toys 'R' Us stores in New
England and found 307 teens had worked stocking shelves, working cash registers
and cleaning stores in excess of hours allowed by law
Some stores only had 1 violation, while a store in Peabody had 33 and a store
in Framingham had 54.
In February, Apple announced that it had found 91 children worked at its
suppliers in 2010 - a nine-fold increase from the previous year. In the year
before December 2010, Apple had sales of over $65 billion.
Furthermore, Apple has recently discovered a Chinese company (article from
Sydney Morning Herald, written on 27 January 2013, of which this information is
from) that employed 74 children under the age of 16. Apple's annual supplier
report, which monitors nearly 400 suppliers, found that children employed at 11
factories were involved at making its products. Some had been recruited using
forged identity papers.
Upon discovery, Apple reported the labour agency to local authorities and these
were some of the many:
- July 2009 - A Foxconn worker fell from an apartment building after reportedly losing an iPhone prototype. 18 more workers were linked to attempted suicides in 2010 and over the next 2 years.
- 2010 - 137 workers were injured by poisonous chemical, n-hexane, used to clean iPhone screens at Suzhou facility.
- May 2011 - 4 workers died and 18 injured in a dust explosion at Foxconn factory that produces iPad parts in Chengdu, China.
- December 2011 - 61 workers were injured in a gas explosion in Shanghai, China at Riteng Computer Accessory Co factory that makes iPad 2 back panels.
- September 2012 - A fight involving up to 2000 workers forced Foxconn to close a plant in Shanxi province in northern China.
Hershey Co. was sued in November 2012 for illegally using child labour. Hershey
sells chocolate in 70 countries and earned more than $6.8 million in 2011. In
August 2012, a group of 65 salesman wrote to Hershey's board voicing concerns on
Victoria's Secret - (a.k.a Victoria's 'Hidden' Secret)
Bloomberg Markets Magazine revealed in December that some of the cotton used by
Victoria's Secret is harvested by young children in West Africa, in Burkina
Faso. The piece profiled 13-year-old Clarisse Kambire, who works on a cotton
farm, where she said she is routinely beaten by the owner.
By hand, Clarisse
performs work that many farmers use a plow and oxen to perform and often works
in 100-plus degree heat and eats just one meal a day. Some days she gets no
food. Many of the children like Clarisse are considered "foster children" and
receive no wages and most do not attend school.
Child is very important for the development of the society at large. The
development of the Nation is exclusively based on the status of the Child. It is
also true that this is one of the vulnerable groups in the society. We can also
further add that Children are the Assets of the Nation. Children plays very
significant role in the Nation building.
All these make obligatory on everyone
to protect and provide various safeguards to the children. It is our prime duty
to provide care and protection towards children as they are innocent. For the
progress of the community at large we need to pay attention towards education of
children. In reality there are various social evils with children; one of
them is Child Labour.
The Child Labour system is in existence in developing and underdeveloped
counties. As per the information available, India is one of the Countries where
in large number of children below the age of 14 years working in various
organizations. If there is no proper distribution of work among the member of
the society then children automatically forced to do work for their survival.
Unemployment of adult members of the particular family results into Child
In any Country protection of children and young people is of prime importance.
So the responsibility to provide healthy atmosphere to the children to their
fullest physical and mental development rests on all the civilized society.
Every human being is a social animal. As we are a part of the society the
responsibility to take reasonable care of the children and young people is on
the shoulder of all members of the society. Finally, it can be said that society
at large morally responsible to maintain healthy atmosphere.
Child Labour is work that harms children or keeps them from attending school.
The various problems arising in Social, Economic and Political condition is one
of the major reasons for growth of this problem. The International Labour
Organization estimates that 246 million children between the ages of 5 and 17
currently work under conditions that are considered illegal, hazardous, or
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan quoted, "Child Labour has serious
consequences that stay with the individual and with society for far longer than
the years of childhood." The issues relating to Child Labour has given
significance at national and international level. The main prime purpose behind
this is to provide effective safeguards to the children all over the globe.
The term Child Labour is used for employment of children below a certain age,
which is considered illegal by law and custom. The stipulated age varies from
country to country and government to government. Child Labour is a world
phenomenon which is considered exploitative and inhuman by many International
Child Labour, as defined by the International Labour Organization, refers to
work that leads to the deprivation of one's childhood and education
opportunities. Effects include a loss of potential and dignity in self, which is
harmful to a child's physical and mental development. The term Child Labour is
defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and
their dignity and that is harmful to their physical and mental development.
Child Labour is conventionally defined as a working child between age of 5-14
who are doing labour or engaged in economical activity either paid or unpaid.
The definition of child as given under Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation)
Act of 1986 defines child means a person who has not completed his fourteen
years of age so by this definition the question of Child Labour is solved.
A number of policy initiatives and programmes have been undertaken in this
country over the last decade. The basic object of all is dealing with the
problem of rapidly increasing number of child workers. Indian Constitutional
law, The formulation of a new National Child Labour Policy, the enactment of the
Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, the setting up of a Task
Force on Child Labour, the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
and other legislations governing problems of Child Labour have all formed a part
of this process.
Corresponding initiatives were taken in the related area of
education where a New Education policy was formulated which incorporated a
separate component for working children. It is the objective of this paper to
examine whether the legal framework available in this country can make an impact
on the Child Labour situation.Particularly, the present paper aimed at to
understand the issue of Child Labour in the Indian context.
Incidences which we can refer as Child Labour:
Reasons behind Child Labor:
- 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;
- Obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
- Requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Strategy to be adopted during the tenth plan for elimination of Child Labour:
- The combination of widespread Poverty and the lack of a Social Security Network
- Lacking an effective Education Policy
- Unemployment or Underemployment of the Parents and Guardians of the Child
- Child Labourers are always better than Adult Workers (Cheaper Labor)
- Population explosion, Traditional Occupations
- Parental Attitude
- Lack of Minimum Wages
- Single Parenthood
- Focused and reinforced action to eliminate Child Labour in hazardous occupations by the end of the Plan period.
- Expansion of the NCLPs to an additional 150 districts during the Plan.
- Ensuring that the NCLPs have a focused time frame of 5 years with clearly defined targets.
- Linking the Child Labour elimination efforts with the scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to ensure that small children in the age group of 5-8 years get directly linked to school, and the older children are mainstreamed into the formal education system through rehabilitation centers.
- Strengthening the formal school mechanism in the area of Child Labor in the country to provide an attractive schooling system to the Child Labor force.
- Effective provision for healthcare for all children would be made.
- Implementation of the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act would be made much more effective.
- The monitoring system would be further systematized with the close involvement of the State Government to ensure that the project is able to attain its objectives within the given period.
- Equal importance would be paid to the aspect of continuous awareness generation through print, folk, and electronic media.
- The task of elimination of Child Labour be placed on the top of the nation's Agenda and given a "Mission Mode."
- Schemes for the ultimate attainment of the objective of elimination of Child Labor in a time-bound manner.
- Large-scale involvement of the voluntary organizations at the district level to assist in the running of the NCLP schools.
Indian Constitutional Law:
- Preamble of the Constitution clearly says that Justice social, economic and political and Equality of Status and of Opportunity. It means no one can deprive children from all opportunities to develop their socio, economic and political status.
- Article 15(3): State shall make special provisions for women and child.
- Article 24: Prohibit the employment of Children
- Article 39(e) (f): State shall safeguard health of children and offered opportunities and education of children.
- Article 45: Free and compulsory education to children.
- Article 21(A): Free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14.
- The Minimum Wages Act, 1948: It provides for fixation of minimum time rate of wages by state government. It also includes the fixation of minimum piece rate of wages, guaranteed time rates for wages for different occupations and localities or class of work and adult, adolescence, children and apprentices.
- The Factories Act, 1948: The Factories Act expressly prohibited Child Labour under its significant provision. This is nothing but a protection given to the child workers against exploitation.
- The Plantation Labour Act, 1951: The employment of children between the ages of 12 years is prohibited under the Act. However, the act permits the employment of child above 12 years only on a fitness certificate from the appointed surgeon.
- The Mines Act, 1952: It states that no child shall be employed in any mines nor shall any child be allowed to be present in any part of mine, which is below ground, or in any open cast working in which any mining operations being carried on.
- The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958: The act prohibits employment of children below the age of 14 in a ship except a training ship, home ship or a ship where other family members work. It also prohibits employment of young person below the age of 18 as trimmers and stokers except under certain specific conditions.
- The Children Act, 1960: This is also important legislation which prohibits employment of children for begging and exploitation of child employee.
- The Apprentices Act, 1961: It states that no person shall be qualified for being engaged as an apprentice to undergo apprenticeship training in any designated trade unless he is 14 years of age and satisfied such standards of education and physical fitness as may be prescribed.
- The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986: The main object of the said Act is to prohibit the engagement of children in certain employments and regulation of condition of work of children in certain other employments.
- United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child: The said declaration dealt with special provisions and facilities to develop physical, mental, moral and social status. Also the right to Social Security and protection against exploitation has given special importance.
The organizations like SAARC, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
and UNICEF also took efforts for protection and effective implementation of
Child Right conventions.
However having all these mechanisms millions of children engaged in hazardous
establishments. The Socio-Economic situation forced children to do work to
sustain their family. Moreover negligent attitude of parents towards education
is also one of the causes behind problem of Child Labor.
Judicial Response in the area of Child Labour:
The Supreme Court of India at the apex has been assigned a very important role
and constituted as a guardian of Constitution. Our judiciary is an independent
organ of the State. They perform a great job of interpretation of Constitutional
and Legislative provisions. The Indian Judiciary played pivotal role in the
field of Child Welfare.
- M.C. Mehta Vs. State of Tamil Nadu:
Supreme Court while interpreting Article 21 held that the right to receive education by child worker until they completed 14 years of Age is an integral part of the right to life and personal liberty.
- P.U.D.R. Vs. Union of India:
In this case, the Supreme Court directed the State Government to amend the schedule of the employment of children Act, 1938. Further, the Court held that construction work is a hazardous occupation.
- Salal Hydro Project Vs. State of J&K:
In this case, Child Labour is a difficult problem and it is purely on account of an economic problem, and it cannot be solved by mere legislation. So long poverty continues, the problem of Child Labour eradication is not possible.
- Bandhua Mukti Morcha Vs. Union of India:
Supreme Court held that a child today should be developed to be a responsible and productive, and the child should be assured social and physical health.
In conclusion it can be said that the problem of Child Labour exploitation is
still burning issue in India. The disease spreading day by day to tackle the
problem we have to find proper and effective mechanism. Government of India
should form separate mechanism for effective implementation of Education policy
in India. The Education policy of Government in existence is not satisfactory
not capable to fulfill their economic needs.
The negligent behavior of parents
indulges children in to work which is one of the risks to their socio-economic
status. The various organizations in the area of Child Labour, child right
violation, child abuse is taking efforts to protect and eradicate the same, and
the Parents of the children make aware that temporary gain is not helpful to
The efforts shall be taken from the Government with help of NGOs
in the area of small family norms, compulsory education, and so on. The picture
is clear that the problem of Child Labour can only eradicate if there is joint
efforts of Governmental agencies and NGOs actively working in the same area.
- Strict implementation of Child Labour legislations and practical and healthy alternatives to replace this evil can go a long way to solve the problem of Child Labour.
- Application of Compulsory Education policy to curb the problem of Child Labour.
- Special Social Development programme should be implemented for assistance of domestic workers.
- Organization of literacy and awareness programme to prevent children from employment.
- Amendment and Modification into Social Security Legislation governing Child Labour.
- Control on Population growth to eliminate Poverty which is the basic cause of Child Labour issues.
- Mandatory on industrialists for equal pay without discrimination as to Age, Status, Religion etc.
- Adequate health services for children at large living in the society.
- Need to provide training and education to the child workers during their free time.
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Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.A.Jonah Elisa Shiny
Authentication No: NV331211879078-8-1123