Contextual Content

Childhood denied

Drawing a global spotlight on child labour, the UN marked the annual World Day against Child Labor last Thursday.

Poverty pushes children into the workforce prematurely. Some are trafficked and forceably put to work, while others, particularly in rural economies, work to support meager family incomes.

Just a day earlier, police and activists in New Delhi, India, rescued 62 trafficked children from sweatshops. Most of the children had come from farming families in Bihar, India’s poorest eastern state.

Officials said the children were rescued under the Bonded Labour Abolition Act 1976, and will be sent back to their families under supervision to ensure they are not sent back out again. The net of India’s child labor laws catches some though, but leaves others behind.

Factory workers outsource work to many children in urban areas work through home-based units.

Pradeep Narayanan, of India-based Child Rights and You, says that that current legislation is inadequate, and it needs to be supported by a social welfare system that assists the families in keeping their children at home and in school.

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Story Transcript

REKHA VISWANATHAN (VOICEOVER): Drawing a global spotlight on child labor, the UN marked World Day Against Child Labor on June 12.

CECILIA CHACON, PERUVIAN CONGRESSWOMAN (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): One out of every seven children in the world is forced into the worst forms of labor.

VISWANATHAN: Poverty pushes many children into the workforce prematurely. Some are trafficked and forcibly put to work, while many others still work to support meager family incomes.

IGNACIO JIMENEZ (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): I like working. I like being able to support my family, my dad and my mom.

VISWANATHAN: And just a day earlier, police and activists in New Delhi, India, rescued 62 trafficked children from sweatshops. Most of the children had come from farming families in Bihar, India’s poorest eastern state.

MUJAR-E-ALAM, RESCUED CHILD: I have been working for three months.

RAMU KUMAR, RESCUED CHILD: I don’t get any money.

VISWANATHAN: The children were rescued under the Bonded Labor Abolition Act of 1976. They will be sent back to their families under supervision, to make sure they are not sent back out again. The net of India’s child labor laws catches some, though, but leaves others behind.

PRADEEP NARAYANAN, CHILD RIGHTS AND YOU: Between ’91 to 2001, the magnitude of child labor has increased, unlike the previous decade. What happened was, because children were prohibited in the factory spaces, what the employers managed was to outsource most of the factory-based work into nearby houses, so home-based work, where the contract was based on the piece rate system, like for a hundred pieces, this will be the price. So children are actually believed to have been working for their own family members or, say, their own parents, which is not being addressed by any law.

VISWANATHAN: Pradeep Narayanan is with India-based Child Rights and You. He says that there also needs to be a social welfare system that is holistic in approach.

NARAYANAN: Unless you have an adequate plan and programs in place, which not only rescue the children from the labor, but also rehabilitates them with their families, as well as see that family members as the targeted beneficiaries of rural labor programs, labor employment programs, ensuring the living wages for the adult family members. If these are the other things which are addressed, then the children will never come back to the labor force.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.