A raid in New Delhi on 1st December ripped out the truth about child labour in India. 14 children were rescued as slaving to brighten up homes and Yule trees, making Christmas baubles, stars, garlands, etc. Children were trafficked from parts of Bihar and other eastern states of India to New Delhi, capital of India to work as bonded labourers.
Kailash Satyarthi, chairperson Global March Against Child Labour who is responsible for the rescue of children in India, stated “When Jesus says ‘Let the children come to me first’ he sets utmost priority for them. Would he have ever allowed slavery, sale and denial of education for millions of children to go on with Christmas celebrations? We must end this menace with true sense of urgency, leadership and political will. There is no place for child slavery in any civilized society."
There has been some progress made on passing the bill The Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill less than 14 years.Union Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge announced the revisions in the Child Labour Law agreeing to the demands at the National Consultation on Child Labour Free India on 11 May 2012, New Delhi organised by Global March Against Child Labour. On 28th August 2012 Cabinet approved the new Child & Adolescent Labour (Prohibition). But still the bill is waiting to be voted by Indian Parliament.
In India politicians have a chance to do just that. The Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill would abolish all forms of child labour up until 14 years of age. But as things stand, the bill is not likely to be voted on before Parliament adjourns on December 20th – so we need to pressure Parliamentarians to make it a priority.
It is the time of urgency and we need your support to outlaw all child labour and help every child go to school in India.
In support of the urgent need to end child labour, UN Special Envoy on Global Education Gordon Brown is calling support to end child labour. Read the article During the festive season children should be putting up decorations, not making them by Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown.
Also, a new report Child Labour and Educational Disadvantage – Breaking the Link, Building Opportunity, published by Gordon Brown, labels child labour ‘the new slavery’ arguing that if there is any chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goal on universal primary education robust action must be taken to remove children from the workplace and secure them a place in the class room.
The report highlights that even where child labourers receive some education their academic performance is significantly diminished due to the pressures of balancing work demands with study. This results in an achievement gap of 17 per cent between children who work and those who do not. Further key points include:
- Globally 215 million children aged 5-17 are in employment, that’s almost one in five young people working rather than attending lessons.
- Half of those who make up the child workforce are under 14 years of age, 91 million of whom are less than 12.
- It’s feared 115 million child labourers are exposed to hazardous working conditions.