That sacred trust stands betrayed, and that important duty stands neglected as lives of millions of children are crushed under servitude, exploitation and abuse.
These children are banished to a world of drudgery for pittance, and are found in a myriad of grinding jobs and activities in agriculture, industry and services sectors including domestic chores in households.
Child labour is a burning issue of our country and concerns the future of our nation.
Causes of Child Labour:
The most prominent reason is poverty and lack of social security. It is the poor children who usually end up in domestic labor. The birth of such children dictates their source of livelihood. Apart from that, it is mostly the financial barriers to education which makes children drop out of schools to take up odd jobs, some children enter labor to pay off their family debts and loans and then there is a belief prevalent among the rural mass that domestic work in the bigger cities gives better opportunities to children in terms of living conditions, education etc.
Looking for work in a household has been an age-old culturally accepted practice of the poor people in India. Domestic work is seen as an opportunity by some parents. Also, placing children in the house of a well-to-do relative has been an established tradition. Since the living expenses are paid up by the employer/relative, the children are willingly given away as domestic help.
Effects of Child Labour:
The child who has been taken for labour is seen as the ‘property’ of the employer. No matter how unfair the laws of the employer are, the child has to act within the bounds of it in a very restrictive environment. Children find it hard to say ‘no’ to adults when they were taught to obey them in the first place. In such a restricted space, the scope of abuse increases manifold.
The helpless child may become a victim of physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is the most harrowing form of abuse which is faced by such children. Such abuse of sexual nature leaves the child battered for life. Such children suffer from much physical impairment because of the abuse. Such children also have to live with discrimination and isolation which can severely affect their mental health.
Measures To Mitigate Child Labour:
Effective implementation of the legislations governing child labour will deter the practice to a considerable extent. Harsh penalties must be imposed on the people engaging children for physical labour. Government must come out with schemes and policies for such abused children and help them securing primary education and making a career.
The problem of child labour is not easy to tackle because of various ramifications and implications but is not insurmountable if concerted efforts from all quarters i.e. government, administration, judiciary and above all the civil society are made with the resolve to eradicate the problem. Thus, everyone must join hands and work collectively towards eradicating this heinous activity from the face of our nation.