OPINION: No law is potent enough to stop child labour unless society comes forward to support these children

Author(s): Harish Monga DidoAccording to International Labour  Organization (ILO), an estimated 10.5 million children worldwide – most of them under age – are working as domestic workers in people’s homes, in hazardous and sometimes slavery-like...

OPINION: No law is potent enough to stop child labour unless society comes forward to support these children
Author(s): 

According to International Labour  Organization (ILO), an estimated 10.5 million children worldwide – most of them under age – are working as domestic workers in people’s homes, in hazardous and sometimes slavery-like conditions, says the ILO.

Six and a half million of these child labourers are aged between five and 14 years-old. More than 71 per cent are girls.

It is estimated that an additional 5 million children, who are above the minimum legal age of work in their countries, are involved in paid or unpaid domestic work globally.

According to the latest figures in a new ILO report, Ending Child labour in domestic work, they work in the homes of a third party or employer, carrying out tasks such as cleaning, ironing, cooking, gardening, collecting water, looking after other children and caring for the elderly.

 

Vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual violence and abusive working conditions, they are often isolated from their families, hidden from the public eye and become highly dependent on their employers. Many might end up being commercially sexually exploited.

 

The situation of many child domestic workers not only constitutes a serious violation of child rights, but remains an obstacle to the achievement of many national and international development objectives

Child domestic work is not recognized as a form of child labour in many countries because of the blurred relationship with the employing family. The child is working, but is not considered as a worker and although the child lives in a family setting, she or he is not treated like a family member.

One feels a great pain to note that the number of child labour has been increasing over the years. Childhood is the best time for a child to develop his teaching as well as other abilities. But the plight of poor children who are used as cheap labour is seen to be believed.

Truly speaking, child labour goes unchecked in this country. Though we claim to be well-educated personalities, we ourselves never hesitate engaging a poor child as cheap labour at home. Child workers are seen everywhere all over India and they work under pathetic conditions to earn money but we just ignore them and this attitude of our society is causing them more harm.

In fact, the poor view children as income-generating source. Poverty and illiteracy force poor parents to drive their children to work under pitiable conditions.

Why do we fail to inform the police or the authorities concerned about their exploitation or such children? We must give them a chance to enjoy their lost childhood.

But, the law enforcement agencies in India do not seem to be conscious of the existing reality.  To enhance our national prestige, children should be protected from cruelty by enforcing laws effectively. It should also be ensured that they get at least two square meals a day.

At the same time, mere framing of  robust legal framework, which are just ornamental, to clearly identify, prevent and eliminate child labour in domestic work would not suffice but there is a need to get those laws implemented to provide decent working conditions to adolescents when they can legally work.

It must be kept in mind that no law is potent enough to stop child labour unless the society comes forward to support these children.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of City Air News.) 

 

Date: 
Thursday, June 13, 2013