CHILD LABOUR

Child Labour

The literal meaning of child labor is to indulge the children (generally aged between 5 to 14) in laborious work which affects their physical and mental development and feats their potential to grow up as a dignified individual. Child labor is a curse to our society and a crime against humanity. Children work when they are supposed to play or go to school. By making them work in this tender age we are not only destroying their future, but also playing with the destiny of the country.

India is a developing country with a majority belonging to the youths. According to UNICEF, about 10.1 million children in India are engaged into labor work. In an age where children who are the future of our country are supposed to go to schools, they are contributing to the 13% of the workforce of India. India accounts for the second highest number of child labors after Africa. According to the U-DISE, the enrolment rate is 97 per cent for elementary level and 76.64 per cent for secondary level. This clearly shows that 36.3 per cent of children dropout even before completing their elementary education, and the number of dropout children increases as children move on to secondary level.

 

Major Causes of Child Labor:

  • Lack of Education:

Lack of education in the rural areas implies that parents are also less educated. Apparently, they do not value the importance of  education in the lives of their own children. In the lack of contraceptive awareness, couples end up having many children. Arranging meals three times a day becomes a difficult task and the children learn it the hard way quite soon.

  • Poverty:

Poverty was and is one of major concerns of India. A majority population is still living under poverty, making the lives very difficult. The deprived economic conditions and low standard of living pave the way for child labor. To compensate for the daily needs of food and survival and given no other choice, both boys and girls are forced to work beyond their capacities.

  • Gender Discrimination:

Girls back in villages are not allowed to go to schools. They are made to help in the fieldwork and the house chores as well. It is the small mentality of people in urban areas that girls are going to marry and go, what is the use to make them study. Reason might be different, but the story is not much different for the boys too. They quit school very early in order to take up some labor work in factories and farms and help their father in order to get food each day.

  • Cheap Labor:

Because child labor is easy to afford, children can be made to do tiring jobs at low pays too, big cities and town are kind of encouraging child labor. Often the owners would provide them little food and money for the work done by them. Given no other choice, they end up giving in to such exploitations.

  • Child Trafficking:

Child trafficking is also another causes that promotes child labor. Trafficked children have no home and they are often sent to far off places and then pushed into extremely torturing and dangerous work conditions, such as prostitution, domestic helping, transport of drugs, etc.

The situation gets worse if kids are physically handicapped. In villages and low-income groups, the adults themselves have to struggle hard enough to manage a satisfactory life for themselves. So, they begin to see girls and handicapped children as nothing but a burden. As a result, girls are sold off to marry old men and the kids are left to beg on the streets.

 

 

Impacts of Child Labor:

  • Poor Physical and Mental Health:

Children at such a young age are innocent and vulnerable to the outer world. Child labor affects their physical, mental, and emotional health in anunadorned way. Education is a basic right to everyone, and they are deprived of it. Laborious physical strain and the burden of arranging their own food cause malnutrition in them.

  • Forced Maturity:

In order to make a living and survive in this world on their own and without any support, they are forced to mature faster than they need to. Their innocence and childhood is stamped upon and lost with the bitter pressure of living a life like an adult. The kind of affection and love needed at such a tender age is never given to them to them making them toxic for their own self.

  • Physical Abuse:

Children are kept frightened all the time. Because they are small, they are treated as things and not humans. There are increased chances of physical abuse. In order to cope up with the pressure, girls and boys fall victims to the abuse. Many more dangerous habits become a normal part of their lives.

  • Addiction and Sexual Abuse:

From taking drugs to selling them, alcohol addiction, sexually transmitted diseases, rape, emotional numbness, violence, are common things that children involved in labor are surrounded with. It is more likely for them to adapt to these bad habits because they are living in it.

While many laws to contract the child labor have been made, they are imprecise and vague in nature. For instance, most of the laws are unable to dictate strict guidelines for the unorganized sectors. Immunity from the dangerous works is not enough. Also, strict guidelines should be made out in terms of where and for how many hours can children work (if they really need to). People in rural and urban areas should be made aware about the impacts of child labor on the minds of children (Urban people for employing children to do work and rural people for sending their own children to do work) Power of education and the various schemes which promises a free basic education for children must be promoted. It is even more important to emphasize how the education empowers girls and makes their lives better.

Conclusion:

Child labor is not merely about forcing children to work. Its majorly about thegruesome side effects that these children have to face for their lifetime. It leaves a tinge on the child’s mind. It is a stain on the face of humanity that must be erased as quickly as possible.

After all, what kind of citizens do we expect them to grow into after such kinds of abuse? This has to be considered. Children are the future of our society, our country. We cannot hope for true growth and prosperity until and unless our young generation is safe and healthy in every way.