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The exploitation of innocents

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

"There's nothing more satisfying than seeing a happy and smiling child. I always help in any way I can, even if it's just by signing an autograph. A child's smile is worth more than all the money in the world" - Lionel Messi

A feeling of disgust evokes in our minds whenever we see a child working. The tender hands which are supposed to hold pencils and books are found working in damp conditions. The future seems to be drowning in the dark. The succulent age to enjoy childhood and acquire ample knowledge is being dragged into the pressures of hunger and poverty.

Any work which hinders the physical, emotional, moral, or intellectual growth and development of children can be termed child labour. But not all work done by children can be classified as child labour. Some of the activities provide them with experience and help them in becoming productive resources for the family and society in the future, though not in monetary terms. A clear distinction is to be made by the law and order for defining what is child labour.

Facts to know
63 million girls and 97 million boys were in child labour worldwide at the beginning of 2020, accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide. 

Any child below the age of 14, employed at any place and being deprived of schooling is a case of child labour. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 legally prohibits a person from employing a child. But still, a large number of children are employed, according to the census of 2011, 10.1 million children are working as child labours in India. It not only affects the children's development but also adversely affects the potential of an economy in long run. The income generated by them does not add anything to the national income as they are generally employed in informal sectors. At the school-going age, children are made to work in fields, mines, factories or as servants and maids to supplement the family income. Despite strict laws, children are still being used in some severe forms of child labour such as bonded labour and trafficking. The fireworks industry employs the highest number of children followed by the glass and carpet industry. Working in such hazardous locations also risks their health and burdens the economic budget.

Facts to know
New analysis suggests a further 8.9 million children in India will be in child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of rising poverty driven by the pandemic, accounted for 1 in 10 child labourers worldwide is from India.

Lack of education keeps the cycle of child labour, exploitation, and poverty revolving around each other. Discrimination, marginalisation, lack of opportunities and on the top large families to feed drive the children to forego their education and meet the financial needs of the house. Kenya has taken a very good initiative to increase the enrolment and attendance of students in school. They started giving Conditional Cash Transfers to the family so their children don’t need to miss school. It has been successful to a large extent and has appreciably increased the enrolment and attendance ratio.

Facts to know
India performs poorly on the Child Labour Index with a total score of 3.05 out of 10.It is ranked 48th in the index and sits within the 'high risk' category. 

Education is the only tool to break and get out of this vicious cycle. Access to education and meeting the opportunity cost of working children and their families can lead to incredible results just like in the case of Kenya. Rewards and especially economic rewards can do a lot of changes which awareness fails to. And again, children are the only backbone of any nation, which needs to be nourished with calcium and vitamins in education and healthcare, so that the nation stands strong.

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Feb 21, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Unfortunately, even after 75 years of Independence, the issue is still not resolved.

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