Children shouldn't work in fields, but on dreams! - Seeker's Thoughts

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Children shouldn't work in fields, but on dreams!

About 218 million children between 5 and 17 are indulged in child employment. Over 152 million are victims of child labour; and 73 million, work in hazardous child labour. Among 152 million children in child labour, 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls.

Child labour occurs in almost all sectors, yet 7 out of every 10 of these children are working in agriculture.

On 12th June 2019 International Labour Organization celebrated, the world day against child labour in which it looked back on progress achieved over a 100 years of ILO support countries on tackling child labour.

According to ILO Almost half of child labour 72.1 million to be found in Africa; 62.1 million in the Asia and the pacific; 10.7 million in the Americas; 1.2 million in the Arab states and 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia.
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The child labour is usually prevalent among 15-17 years old children. Nevertheless, up to fourth of all hazardous child labour 19 million is done by children less than 12 years old.

58% of all children in child labour and 62% of all children in hazardous work are boys. Boys appear to face a greater risk of child labour than girls, but this may also be a reflection of under-reporting of girls' work, particularly in domestic child labour.

Child labour is concentrated primarily in agriculture 71% which includes fishing, forestry, livestock herding and aquaculture, and comprises both subsistence and commercial farming' 17% in services; and 12% in the Industrial sector, including mining.

There has been an increasing involvement of children in home-based work in the informal sector. The change in type of child labour mainly attributes to enforcement of legislation and awareness amongst buyers about child exploitation.

In urban areas, a large number of children are engaged in manual domestic work, rag picking, restaurants, motors repair shops etc. 

In rural sector children are engaged in the agriculture sector including cotton growing, at glass, match box and brass and lock-making factories, in embroidery, beedi-rolling, in the carpet-making industry, in mining and stone quarrying.

The division of labour is gender-specific with girls being engaged in more domestic and home-based work, and boys working as wage labourers.

Bonded child labour - Bonded labour means the employment of a person against a loan or debt or social obligation by the family of the child or family as a whole.

Bonded child labourers are often found in agriculture sector or assisting their families in brick kiln, and stone quarries. The Bonded Labour Liberation Front estimates 10 million bonded children in India.

Why should Child Labour be banned?

Despite global and national efforts, prevention of child labour remains an uphill task in India. A poor conviction rate of violators is a major hindrance, besides poverty, unemployment and illiteracy.

In India, shockingly over 80% of children below 14 years of age engaged in child labour are based in rural areas. A majority of them are engaged in agriculture and allied activities.

Indian parliament passed a law to protect children below 14 years of age from child labour more than 30 years ago.

The practice continues in India. As some people don’t consider some of the activities as a labour, and some of the people support child labour as a medium of earning in poor families.

Indian children can be seen working at brick kiln, a roadside tea shop, a stone quarry, a bangle factory or on a farm isn't rare. Travel to any part of India.

According to the central government 10,826 cases of violation of the Child Labour Act were reported across the country in the past four years. Of these, only 56% cases 6,032 went to the stage of prosecution.

Causes of Child Labour

Poverty is the greatest cause of child labour. For impoverished households, income from a child's work is usually crucial for his or her own survival or for that of the household. Children are also bonded to labour due to a family indebtedness.

Rural poverty and urban migration also often expose children to being trafficked for work.

Adult unemployment and under-employment: high prevalence of adult unemployment and under-employment often force children to work to support family.

Illiteracy and Ignorance of child’s parents: Illiteracy of the child’s parents further worsens the situation. Illiteracy and Lack of awareness of the harmful effects of child labour make them violate the law and put their children under the risk of inhuman exploitation.
The prevailing educational infrastructure is highly unsuitable to children of economically deprived families. Further deplorable quality of education has led to increasing dropout rates and forced children into child labour.

Compulsory education does not cover 15-18 age group. However, being illiterate or school dropouts, these children are vulnerable and often exploited as part of informal, unskilled and casual workforce.

Demand for child labour: Increasing demand for child labour especially in urban areas is an important reason of prevalence and increase in child labour. Children are employed because they are cheap and flexible according to the demands of the employer and not aware of their rights.

An expectation that children should contribute to the socioeconomic survival of the family and community, as well as the existence of large families contribute to prevalence of child labour.

Children often take up family’s traditional work from an early age. For example, a Goldsmith’s son takes to gold-smithery, or a carpenter’s child takes up carpentry from an early age.

There is a strong correlation between India’s differentiated social structure and child labour. The majority of child labourers in India belong to the so-called lower castes (SCs), the tribal and Muslim religious minority.

Why should Children not be in labour?

Child labour impedes children from gaining the skills and education they need to have opportunities of decent work as an adult.

Child labour deprives a child of his/her childhood. It not only denies his/her right to education but also right to leisure: they work long hours and are required to perform tasks for which they are physically and developmentally unprepared.

Working in hazardous conditions adversely affects a child’s physical and mental health and impairs intellectual, emotional and psychological development.

Poverty: Child labour is both a cause and consequence of poverty. Household poverty forces children into the labour market to earn money. Thus, the children miss out on an opportunity to gain an education, further perpetuating household poverty across generations.

Presence of a large number of child labourers has long term effect on the economy; it is a serious obstacle to socio-economic welfare of a country.
Challenges to ending child labour.

Child labour is not uniform. It takes many forms depending upon the type of work that children are made to do, the age and sex of the child and whether they work independently or with families.

Due to this complex nature of child labour, there is no one strategy that can be used to eliminate it.

Combatting child labour requires long term co-ordinated action which involves many stakeholders and the government. This includes educational institutions, mass media, NGOs and community-based organizations as well as trade unions and employers.

It is important that the attitudes and mindsets of people are changed to instead employ adults and allow all children to go to school and have the chance to learn, play and socialize as they should.

Education is a key to preventing child labour and has been one of the most successful methods to reduce child workers in India.

This includes expanding education access to schooling, improving the quality and relevance of education, addressing violence in schools, providing relevant vocational training and using existing systems to ensure child workers return to school.

World Day against child labour day 2019: Children shouldn't world in fields, but on dreams!

The International Labour Organization has been working against child labour. ILO launched the World Day against child labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.

Each year on 12 June, the world Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.

UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7

UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7 set by the international community calling for an end to child labour in all its forms by 2025.

In support of Alliance 8.7, we call for immediate action to address the remaining challenges so that the world community can get firmly on track towards eliminating child labour.

A newly released ILO report points the way with policy approaches and responses.

2019 also marks 20 years since the adoption of the ILO's Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).

With only a few countries still to ratify, this Convention is close to universal ratification. On this World Day we call for full ratification and implementation of Convention No. 182 and of the ILO's Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138).

This also encourage ratification of the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, which protects both adults and children.

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