New Delhi: Almost half of the total 300 employers, who hire children in the age group of 5 to 14 years, are aware of the child labour law but still continue to employ children, according to a recent survey by CRY.
Painting a grim reality of child labour, the survey further stated that while more than half (52 per cent) are aware of legal action in cases of child labour, they are not afraid of prosecution.
The employers interviewed by CRY volunteers said that they employ children because they are submissive, easily available, they obey orders and moreover it is a cheap form of labour.
Also, as per the study, close to 80 per cent of children in the age group of 15-18 years work more than 8 hours a day without getting any weekly off or holidays. The study also found that child labour is prominent (75 per cent) in tea stalls, dhabas or small shops as working conditions in this segment lacks regulation.
Ironically, 84 per cent of employers think that it is important for child labourers to attend school and attain education but they still continue to employ them. Again, 32 per cent of the sample employs children in the age group of 5-14 years whereas 65 per cent prefer working children in the age group of 15-18 year.
Of the total 300 employers, 49 per cent of them have never been to school themselves. Besides that, only 26 per cent were found to know the minimum age of employment.
"This is a vicious cycle where employers themselves are illiterate and have at some point been child labourers. The lack of education forces them into the unorganised sector which is unregulated and exploitative. Ironically, many of those who are aware of child labour law still continue to hire them.
"Children, are the most vulnerable segment as they can work long hours, at a very low cost and have absolutely no safety nets. The persistence of this form of exploitation is indicative of a complete failure of society there is no regulation and no fear of punitive action as laws remain good on paper but are rarely enforced," said Soha Moitra, Regional Director-North, CRY- Child Rights and You.
As per the National Census 2011, India has 10.1 million child labourers in the age group of 5 to 14.