Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ending Child Labour Means Child Exploitation

India has announced a further ban on the use of child labour. This time in domestic service industries. The problem is that children are already working in these industries and the government has no rehabilitation plans. Which leaves these children open to far worse exploitation in the underground economy and the sex industry.

Child Labour laws need to be enforcable, such as being able to offer children an alternative to work, that is having families able to support themselves without using their children, a living wage, and public education.

Which is not occuring in India. Instead this is another example of the State passing legislation that is useless except as a PR effort. Thus what is good for Alberta should be good for India, when it comes to the domesitic industry.

Flip-side to the child labour ban

Toral Varia
Posted Tuesday , October 10, 2006 at 19:18Updated Tuesday , October 10, 2006 at 20:32
NO REASON TO SMILE: 15-year-old Arjun had come to Mumbai to earn a living to support his family.

New Delhi: The Labour Ministry notification banning employing children below 14 years as domestic helps or at eateries came into force on Tuesday even as the children had little to cheer about in the absence of a comprehensive rehabilitation package.

The fresh notification prohibits employment of children as domestic help or as servants in dhabas, restaurants, teashops, resorts, spas and recreational centres. But does this notification take into account the problem of rehabilitation of the millions of child workers in India?

“I work from 10 to 3 during the day and then from 6:30 till 11 in the night,” says Child Labourer, Arjun working in a small restaurant in Mumbai.

What exactly is the child labour law?
bulletThe Child Labour Act prohibits employment of children below the age of 14 years. According to Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, those found violating it could face a jail term of up to two-years and a maximum fine of Rs 20,000.

His everyday work includes sweeping the floor, cleaning and serving food in the hotel. “There is no money at home, that is why I am here,” says the 15-year-old who had come to Mumbai to earn a living to support his family. He will be just one amongst many children who have nowhere to go after the implementation of the SC ban.

“There are children from Kolkata and South India, Karnatka and Mdaras who work here. Where will they go if they don work?” the hotel manager says.

Though the ban makes sense, very little thought seems to have gone into the future of the children most of whom are breadwinners for their families.


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