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Life of the little ones is destroyed when they work in their childhood. Child labour is a common term that you hear in your everyday life. It is defined as work that deprives a child of his/her childhood and harms their mental and physical wellbeing.
According to ILO, any child below the age of 14 should not be involved in work for remuneration. It is a matter of concern in developing countries, like India, where there is a lack of awareness and education about a child’s health. They neglect the fact that children are the hope of their future.
It is a common practice to employ those children as a domestic helper, shopkeeper’s assistant, etc. Child labor in the agriculture sector is common. Their parents make them work in the fields instead of studying.
According to them, studying is not beneficial in any way, and their children should help them earn money. Their parents implant this mindset in their children also, and the child also believes the same thing. This mindset hampers the growth opportunity and development of the country.
Causes of Child Labour
The main reason for child labor to prevail in India is poverty. More than half of the country’s population belongs to the poor class. It usually happens when parents cannot afford the studies of their children, so they make them earn from a very tender age. It becomes a need to survive. Because in its absence, they won’t have enough money to have their daily bread.
Lack of Proper Education
Even after years of Independence, the children in our country are deprived of the fundamental right of education. It is a problem in the rural areas where there is no facility of education, and if something is available, it is miles away from their home.
Due to such administrative issues, child labor is so prevalent in India. At times children are forced to opt-out of school and end their studies because of financial problems. The worse affected are low-income families.
The Lure of Cheap Labour
There are shopkeepers, factory owners, and companies who employ these children so that they can pay them less. In this way, they hire labor and make a profit as well. They make these children work more than an adult would do as they can be easily manipulated and influenced, which leads to their exploitation.
Disease or Disability
There are families where the child is a sole earner as either his parents are dead or they are too sick to work. In such a situation, the parents have no other option but to send their child to work and earn the bread for the family. So, the children, instead of going to school, go to factories to work and financially support their family.
Consequences of Child Labour
Poor Mental and Physical Health
Children are very vulnerable at a young age. It affects their mental and physical health. Some studies show due to these works, children have stunted growth.
They also lose their innocence at an early age. The kind of care and attention a child needs growing up disappears because of the demands made from them.
There is sexual exploitation of both girls and boys. Some girls end up taking drugs, infected by HIV, STDs sometimes early and unwanted pregnancy. They get into the trap of prostitution or gets raped. In low-income families, girls are sold or married to older men by parents for some money.
According to statistics, in developing countries, one-third of the child population fails to complete four years of their education. With the short-term benefits, they miss the educational qualifications and skills, which makes them lead the life of poverty. It is the lack of training that hinders their growth opportunity.
There are various types of physical abuse, which involve cuts, burns, fractures, excessive fears, and nightmares. These consistent injuries leave an everlasting impact on a child’s mind.
To cope up with these fears and pressures, they end up abusing drugs. Ir tends to make them mature faster than usual. Childhood dreams get replaced by bitter realities.
Challenges in Controlling Child labor
Child labor is not uniform. It takes place in many forms and types, depending on the kind of work a child has to do. The laws are vague, which does not help in combating the crime of child labor.
There are no strict guidelines that would protect the children from such horror. It is due to such complexity and no clear instructions that it becomes difficult to save a child from the grip of this crime.
The issue faced by the government and NGOs is that they lack the rehabilitation facility which the child might need. With no proper facilities available, they can fall on the grips of labor again.
For them to have a fresh start, those children need to feel the control of their new lives. These children need proper guidance and counseling to get better and achieve things in life.
Lack of Awareness-
Education will be the key to combat child labor. It is because of the lack of proper education and awareness; the families fall in this trap. There is a need for a proper awareness campaign to educate parents about the pitfalls of child labor.
The importance should be given on giving quality and relevant education. The mindset has to be changed in training young children to stop child labor.
Child labor act as a hindrance to the economic and social development of the country. It has to be resolved to have a better future. People and governments should come together to fight this evil.
Every child has a right to grow and prosper. It is the age of enjoyment and getting proper schooling. The children should not just be a mere means of having economic benefits for their family. It has many ill effects on a child’s mental health.
It leaves an impact which will haunt them all their adult life. So, to free our children from such evil, we need to make every effort to shape the future of children better. One has to create ways to help those kids upskill and support them to make sure the transition happens.