In a report published in Hindustan Times, it was reported that children as young as 10 years old were brutally beaten by hammer and forced to work for 22 hours a day in a jeans factory near Delhi. Rescued children were unable to open eyes in Sunlight because they haven’t been out of the room for 4 years. 26 children were saved by Kailash Satyarthi’s NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
Such deplorable exploitation and torture of children is still happening and on the rise in metropolitan cities. According to an international survey, India has the largest number of modern slaves in the world. Modern slave means anyone who is forced to work against his will, is tortured and can’t leave that occupation.
Child Labour is a very serious social rot in India that is depriving millions of children of their childhood. In many cases it is nothing but an extension of modern slavery. Even after UN Charter on the Rights Of Children and constitutional safeguards in India, child labour is rampant, whether it is roadside dhabas or cycle repair shops or industries like firecracker’s and bidi (smoking tobacco rolled in a leaf). There are stringent laws and legislations against the practice of child labour but the laws are not implemented properly, either due to simple negligence, lethargy, or deep rooted corruption and connivance of authorities with the unorganised industries who employ child labour.
Children are vulnerable. And working strenuously in childhood hampers their learning abilities, normal childhood development and may leave deep psychological scars if they work in hazardous conditions, with scant regards to security standards, workplace environment and safety. Unorganised industries hire children because they have to pay them only a fraction of what they will have to pay to adult employees, and children are not aware of any rights.
Eradication of child labour requires many steps and is a complex process. Poverty and illiteracy are at the root of it. Poverty stricken, illiterate parents send their children to work in small scale manufacturing units to supplement their paltry wages which are insufficient to make both ends meet. Offcourse this is no justification for child labour, but in a country like India poverty and lack of education lead to most social evils and make children most vulnerable to exploitation even torture.
Kailash Satyarthi, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has rescued approx 83,000 children from the pangs of child labour and oppression. His NGO ‘ Bachpan Bacchao Andolan ‘ is at the forefront of creating awareness and mounting activism for children’s rights.