On the occasion of World Against Child Labour Day on Friday, two NGOs conducted separate surveys to determine the understanding of child labour in society. While Pratham looked at a sample size of over 1.17 lakh people across seven states in the country, Child Relief and You (CRY) covered 61 college in the city and interviewed over 380 students to determine their knowledge about this issue. The findings of both surveys show how even though people are aware of child labour in the society, very little is being done about bringing in zero tolerance to the same.
Of the 380 children who were interviewed in the city, 56% students were not aware of laws protecting children from being forced into labour but 68.5% of the candidates also agreed that those children working as household help should be considered as child labour and many stated that children selling magazines should also be considered child labour.
“The survey was conducted in a semi-interview format where 13 questions—open and close ended questions—were asked about this serious issue. It was good to see that most collegians had an opinion in favour of children being free from any form of labour,” said an activist from CRY.
According to the 2011 census child labour data, the total number of children working in India between the age group of five and fourteen years of age was 10.13 million. This means that every eleventh child in the country is a child labourer. “What’s seems to be a bigger problem is the fact that even after children are rescued from small scale industries, hotels, etc, in the city and rehabilitated and sent back home, they eventually end up either coming back to Mumbai or head to another city looking for work,” said Farida Lambey, co-founder of Pratham.
She added that while the general belief is that children end up looking for labour opportunities due to poverty, she said other problems play a bigger factor. “The fact that even education opportunities have not reached everybody in the country, many end up entering t he child labour sector. Otherwise most parents are very keen about sending their children to schools,” she added.
Even the state police department, over the past few years, has helped NGOs raid small scale industries and other outlets where children have been working and according to statistics shared, 2676 children have been rescued by the police from 2010 to June 2015. “1370 employers have also been arrested for employing children below 18 years of age and many instances, children were also forced to get into child labour so strict action was taken,” said a representative of Mumbai police.
Activists feel that the only way to solve this problem is by showing zero tolerance towards child labour in the society. “Foreseeing this generation as the future of the country leaves us with a lot of hope. The findings of this CRY survey have indicated that the youth of today are sensitive towards children and we hope that they continue as ardent supporters of child rights, working proactively towards a safe childhood for all children across India,” said Kreeanne Rabadi, Regional Director, CRY (West).
Key findings of CRY survey:
* 69.5% said that children should only work after the age of 18
* 44% knew that there were laws to protect children against child labour
* 82% thought a child selling magazines at signals can be classified as child labour
* 49% thought a college-going child working as a sex-worker can be classified as child labour
* 44% thought family businesses could be a large reason for children to work
* 44.5% scored the adeptness of Indian laws at tackling child labour at 2 on a scale of 1 to 5
* 68.5% believed that children working as domestic helps in households were child labourers and that it was wrong