CHILD LABOR AND VIOLATION OF CHILDREN'S RIGHTS
Author: Ankur Agnihotri, II year of LL.B. from Campus Law Centre,University of Delhi
The future of any nation depends on the next generation of that country, ie. children who they are undoubtedly a stepping stone in shaping the nation's future. Kids are considered another form of god. They are always a sign of joy, happiness and hope. If a country provides basic amenities to its children, thenit would definitely reflect in the coming growth of the nation.
Definition of child labour
"Child labor" is a term that most of us have heard since the very beginning our life but do we know what it is exactly? Under the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, a "child" is a person who has not yet attained the age of 14 years and any work performed by a child which in any a way that deprives them of their dignity, potential and childhood is considered child labour. Child labor refers to a situation where children are sent to work to earn money according to a legal age that prevents them from receiving formal education.
However, not all child labor is child labor. Any work that in any way it does not affect the child's health or personality development and in no way disturbs it a child's schooling is not child's work.
Types of child labor
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has classified child labor as follows:-
1.Debt Slavery:-When parents do not have enough money to repay their loans, they often ask their children to work.
2.Slavery:-When one person works for another and also has no power to do so
to demand anything in return for work done.
3. Beggar: When poor parents have some way to earn a living, they force children begging in public places. In many cases, the parents also inflict some kind of cut or injury on themselves body to get sympathy and get more money.
4. Forced labour:-In certain cases children are forced to do after child trafficking
they are said to work in dangerous work areas to earn more money, against the will of the child forced child labour.
Causes of growing child labor
There are many reasons for increasing child labor. Some of them are:-
1. Poverty:-This has been the most important cause of child labor in India from the very beginning. Poor people don't have money to send their children to school for earning teaching. They also don't have money to provide their children with basic amenities (like food, clothes) so they send their children to factories or somewhere else where they can earn a good amount of money.
2. Illiterate parents:-Parents of children are uneducated and do not understand the value education in your life. They are so narrow-minded that they feel that education would not lead them anywhere and this narrow mindedness leads to increasing child labour.
3. Limited availability of educational institutions: - Schools are very far away in rural areasresidential areas and parents are not yet ready to send their children which is the main causeincrease in child labor.
Effects of child labor
1. Cases of child labor can be found in almost every field. According to 2020 Global Child labor estimates, 1 in 10 of all children worldwide are involved in child labor, representing approximately 160 million child workers. According to reports around 215 million children between the ages of five and seventeen are currently working under dangerous andillegal workplace.
2. Child labor can affect the child psychologically and physically to a great extent.
3. Child labor would lead to a lack of self-confidence, a loss of trust in the people around them, and in the end they would be sad, disabled individuals.
4. Young children may suffer from malnutrition, drug-induced depression, etc.
5. It could destroy the child's morals and dignity.
6. They may become victims of sexual and physical violence.
Legal provisions regarding child labor
1. Plantation Labor Act, 1951: This Act clearly restricts the employment of children below age 12 years, except in the case where Fitness is issued by a registered doctorChild's certificate of the child's physical health.
2. Mines Act, 1952:-This Act greatly restricts the entry of child into the mining area and also the employment of a child in such work.
3. Apprentices Act, 1961:-This Act restricts apprenticeship anda child, except where the child reaches the age of 14 and meets the standardeducation.
4. Children's Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2000:- Says that if there
a person employs a child in any of the risky jobs or uses a child as involuntary labor, this person will be punishable under this law.
5. Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986:- No child under 14 years of age years of age will be employed in any hazardous occupations listed by law.
It was also clearly stated in the landmark case of MC Mehta vs State of Tamil Nadu &Ors Supreme Court that child labor should not be done and lays down guidelines for work that children should not do.
Child labor can be stopped with various measures. By analyzing the situation and revision national laws regarding child labour. We should adapt our business to child-free work environment and ensure that new suppliers do not use child labour. One or more if necessary monitoring systems should be established. India is home to the largest number of child laborers in the worldthis should be very alarming to every citizen of the country. Our country can reduce and abolish child labor if certain adequate measures are taken.
1. Awareness raising initiatives should be implemented by the government to make people aware of the harmfulnesseffects of child labor.
2. The government should motivate children to bring them to school.
3. The government should create a commission that would draw parents' attention to the role of education in lifeof their children and the negative effects that child labor has.
4. The government should also appoint a committee to regularly inspect the employees and workforcefactories and workplaces where children are more vulnerable as workers.
5. Government should take strict action against owners of factories, shops and dangerous workplaces who employ children for their work.
6. Last but not least, people should be aware of this evil. Without active
participation of the people, any government. organization/NGO could not end this evil.
Violation of children's rights
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All men are born freeand equal in dignity and rights.” It means that as a result of our common humanityeveryone, everywhere has the same rights without any discrimination. Also, these rights areinterdependent, interrelated, and indivisible.But nowadays, it has become "normal" in many places to children denied their rights and girlsdenied equality.
Some of the issues in daily life which violate child rights:-
1. Child Trafficking
Indian constitution restricts human trafficking. But yet, in many places children are kidnapped and then they are sold to far places to earn money.
2. Child Marriage
There are many provisions prohibiting the marriage of a minor, but yet, in many tribal areas, places of Haryana, Bihar, and UP, child marriage is a prevailing social issue.
3. Child Labour
We have briefly described this social evil in the above paragraphs.
4. Lack of access to Education
On an estimate,263million children and youth are currently out of school, globally.In India, as per Article21(a), each of the children between 6-14years of age has the right to free andcompulsory education, but the ground-level scenario is much worst. Govt. don't implementthe work honestly, and children are deprived of their right to education on a large scale.
Despite many steps taken by the UN, and also by the govt. of different nations, children are notgetting a proper diet which leads to Malnutrition.
Due to the increasing poverty rates, people don't have sufficient money to provide the basicneeds to their children, hence, they kill the child, before birth, in the womb of the mother. Thistype of cases are more extensively found in the case of a girl child, where people firstly, find outthe sex of the foetus and if the sex of the foetus is female then they opt for abortion, leading tothe Female foeticide.
7. Sexual Harassment
To fulfil their hunger of lust, children, many a time, are harassed sexually by the peoplesnear them.
Children are considered the happiness of every family, and to remain so, they should be able to be happy. Children are known for their innocence and their ability to see the good in everyone around them. Let us come together, took steps, and help children from every corner of the world to be able to be joyful and see the good in everyone around them by giving them the opportunity to avail proper formal education and a chance to live a happy childhood by keeping them out of the social evil of Child Labour, so they can grow up to becom individuals who care and look out for the ones in need, who can live life with dignity in the society.