500+ Words Essay on Child Labour
Child slavery is a crime against humanity. Humanity itself is at stake here. A lot of work still remains, but I will see the end of child labour in my lifetime. -Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Laureate
Child Labour is defined as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development,” by Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child. It refers to the illegal exploitation of a child for financial or other gains. Data from UNICEF shows that more than 10 million children in India are part of the workforce. This constitutes 13% of the total workforce.
The term is often used by news channels or movies to talk about children who are forced to work from a budding age. Child labour is still prevalent in our society. Children from poor families are forced to work and fend for themselves and their families. It is a crime to send or employ children below the age of 14 in any industry or factory. Thus, various restrictions and limitations have been put on children who work. The legally acceptable age for employing children is 15.
Child Labour is not only unfortunate but also detrimental to society. It robs from children, the opportunity to go to school, and getting an education. The right to education is a fundamental right of every child. It also prevents them from growing up in a conducive environment.
Further, such children are burdened by responsibilities and hence cannot have a proper childhood. Research has also proven that their physical and mental development is hampered. Though illegal, the menace is far from being eradicated.
Causes of Child Labour
- It is important to identify the causes of child labour to be able to deal with it effectively. Some causes are region-specific, while others are universal. Here are a few common causes of child labour:
- Increasing levels of unemployment and poverty, especially in developing countries, are the primary causes of child labour. About 1/4th of the world’s population is currently categorised under the global poverty line. When families do not have enough money to sustain, they force children into work. If adults cannot find work or are sick, the responsibility of earning a livelihood comes down to children.
- Lack of social security pushes people into a cycle of poverty, which inevitably leads to child labour. The increasing rich-poor divide and privatization of the organisation have led to the concentration of wealth in the hands of few. Small children are in situations where they must work in order to earn two meals a day.
- The lack of awareness about the importance of education and very little accessibility has also played a role in contributing to child labour. Without the opportunity to obtain an education, children are pushed into working. Uneducated parents think of short-term benefits and send their children to work so they can survive in the present.
- Industries are not efficiently regulated. Multiple factories prefer children as labourers because they have to pay lesser to children than to adults for the same work. This decreases labour expenses for those industries. Many factories which possess significant health hazard, like the firecrackers industry also prefer children. Children are also easier to manipulate and influence. Thus, factory owners often take advantage of children’s circumstances for their profit.
- Children are also sent to work for non-monetary payments like rice or wheat. This is due to the vicious nature of hunger. Often, after the death or illness of a parent, the eldest children are forced to take up the burden of the rest of the family. Most of the social welfare schemes in developing and developed countries do not reach the poor due to factors like corruption. Thus, the poor are often left directionless, with child labour being necessary for their survival.
- Another major reason is the lack of effective implementation of child labour related laws. Many industries openly indulge in employing children without fear of law. The police and law enforcement agencies have failed miserably at being able to create fear about the use of children for labour. Even if the state tracks down child labour rackets, it is unable to provide an alternative to child labour for those families. This pushes children back to work.
- Due to the increased demand for child labourers, child trafficking rackets often sell children to people who will extract work from them. Begging is yet another form of child labour that is often forced and ignored.
Impact of Child Labour
Child labour is a social and economic suicide for any society. Not only does it hamper the child’s development and growth, but it also creates more unskilled workers. Child labour makes it impossible for families to come out of the poverty cycle.
Children are the future of the country. It is unfortunate that these children will never be able to compete with other educated and privileged children in the real world.
Many children also perform jobs that take a toll on their health and physical wellbeing. Notably, the most significant impact of child labour is a generation of adults who are uneducated and manipulatable.
Measures to Eradicate Child Labour
As a society, it is our collective responsibility to find methods by which we can get closer to eradicating child labour. This requires significant support and effort from the government, law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and the general public. Here are some ideas to think about:
- Creation of communities or unions that are specifically aimed at eradication of child labour can be effective. This can be a citizen initiative supported by the government. These communities’ sole objective will be to identify child labourers and find ways to rehabilitate them. It can also further indulge in involving law enforcement agencies to ensure that the guilty are punished.
- Creating social awareness about the presence and downfalls of child labour is necessary. Once people understand the problems of child labour, they can be instigated to boycott any shop or establishment that hires children. This way, these industries can be discouraged from employing child labourers.
- Education should be a nation’s priority. Economic and military development should not come at the cost of social wellness schemes. The poor should be made aware of the benefits of education, along with ensuring that every village and town has access to free and compulsory education.
- Creation of employment opportunities is also essential to combat child labour. If an adult can earn sufficient income for the family, the need to send the children to work is reduced. This involves, in particular, the creation of unskilled labour. A country must also take measures to reduce the rich-poor divide.
- Population control measures are also necessary in order to ensure that we reduce family sizes. This leads to a family having lesser mouths to feed. NGOs and the government must give family planning attention.
- Effective and strict implementation of laws is necessary to ensure that factory owners do not try to hire child labourers. Measures to combat child trafficking are also significant. The government must focus on the depth and long-term impact of the problem and create practical and enforceable laws.
“When the lives and the rights of children are at stake, there must be no silent witnesses,” said Carol Bellamy. It is true that we cannot estimate the real number of child workers in the country. But it is important that we, as a society, take responsibility to acknowledge, identify, and combat the problem.