Indian Child Labors

This month the world marks Internatioanl Labor Day. And in India, the workforce includes more than 12 million children under the age of 14.

INDONESIA

Rabu, 22 Mei 2013 15:35 WIB

Author

Jasvinder Sehgal

Indian Child Labors

India child labour, gem and jewelry factory, India child worker

This month the world marks Internatioanl Labor Day.

And in India, the workforce includes more than 12 million children under the age of 14. It’s illegal for businesses to employ children under the age of 14, but many children have to work in order to support their families.

In this gem and jewellery factory, 6 of the 7 employees are children … younger than 14.   Three of them are just eight years old.

Part of their job includes handling poisonous chemicals and inhaling noxious fumes.

The children here receive just two US dollars a week and work at least 10 hour days.

Children in India are also employed in the embroidery industry.

Aabid Husain and his wife Shabana employ children from their neighbourhood. He says their small fingers stitch the fabric better than the adults.

“We don’t have any of our own children to help us,” says Aabid.

“I myself have been doing this work since I was 10 years old,” he recalls. “Demand for our embroidery work has a great western demand owing to which we are force to work continuously.”

Abid also pays the usual rate of two US dollars per week. Despite the small amount, for many families this is a vital source of income. And parents continue to send young children into workplaces.

In February this year, the government raided trains taking child workers to various bangles and garment factories in Jaipur. Nearly 300 child workers were found.

They say they had been made to work for 12 hours daily, without a break.

Alok Shrama represents the NGO which helped the operation.

“Rescuing of child labor in such a great number proves that the government officers responsible to stop child trafficking and child labor are not doing their duty. In spite of the strict laws, the problems are worsening. Even our complaint was not registered by the police for a long time.”

But the authorities argue that they are working to try and provide these children with an alternative.

” Now these children will go back to their parents. The state Governments has special programs for these kinds of rescued children,” says C.B.S Rathore, the Joint Labor Commissioner in Jaipur.

The national child labor project is one such program to rehabilitate and withdraw child labor from their work.

The government has set up special schools where former child labors are given an education for free.

In this school of child labor at Galta Gate in Jaipur, they are taught the state curriculum.

“They are given free education in these schools with free books and uniforms. They are also given a special scholarship so as to compensate for their jobs. The food is free in the schools and they have a regular health check up too.”

Sahima is in class three of a child labor school in Jaipur. She used to work as a child labor in one of the gem and jewelry factory in Jaipur.

“I was working from 8 AM in the morning till evening. I did the works of polishing and fixing of the semiprecious stones.  It was a difficult work and children should not do it.”

It was hazardous work.

“My fingers use to bleed when I sharpen the jewels. There was a problem in my spinal chord as I have to sit for long hours to finish my work. My eyes use to be infected all the time.”

“I was also working in the same factory,” says Sajid Khan, Sahima’s class mate.

“My work was to fix the semi precious jewels. Then teachers of special school came to my home to convince my parents to withdraw me from the work and to enroll me in the school. Now I am getting free education, books, food and scholarship in the school.”

Tasleem Khan is a child labor who studied in such a school. 

Ten years ago, when she was 13, things were very different. She worked in a factory of gem and jewelry to support her parents.

“The financial condition of my family was very bad. I did not know anything about the studies but then a teacher working in a child laborer school helped me out. There after I got free education and scholarship for my studies. Today, I have completed my Masters in Philosophy and am pursuing doctoral degree in Urdu and Persian.”

Today Tasleem is happy that she got an education.

“I think I took the right step by quitting my job. Today, when I go to my relatives whose children still work, I feel proud. Studies have given me the right future. I want to become a lecturer.”

India is signatory to the Hague Global Child Labor Conference. It’s committed to end all the worst forms of child labor by the year 2016. But there is still a long way to go….


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