On 12 June 2002, the International Labour Organisation started the World Day Against Child Labour. The International Labour Organisation is celebrating 100 years of advancing social justice. Yet, about 152 million children are still in child labour across the world. India accounts for more than 10 million child workers.
- According to International Labour Organization (ILO), the term ‘child labour’ is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
- Bonded Labour is exploitation in which the child is forced to work as a payment of debt taken by his/her parent.
- Urban Child Labour is where the street children who spend almost all of their life on street work as labourers.
- In India, the child labour has been a long and common practice where children help their parents at their farms and in other activities.
- The World Day against Child Labour is being observed across the world today, on June 12. The theme of the day in the year 2019 is, ‘Children should not work in fields but on dreams‘.
- The World Day against Child Labour was established by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. The day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society as well as millions of people to highlight the plight of child labourers and measures to help them.
- The International Labour Organization is celebrating 100 years of advancing social justice and promoting decent work. The day looks towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7 set by the international community calling for an end to child labour in all its forms by 2025.
- 2019 marked the 20 years since the adoption of the ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182). The convention is close to getting universal ratification with only a few countries still to ratify it. Hence, World Day against Child Labour 2019 calls for full ratification and implementation of Convention No. 182 and of the ILO’s Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) . The day also aims to encourage ratification of the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, which protects both adults and children
- World Day Against Child Labour 2020 will focus on the impact of crisis on child labour. The COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market shock are having a huge impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. Unfortunately, children are often the first to suffer. The crisis can push millions of vulnerable children into child labour. Already, there are an estimated 152 million children in child labour, 72 million of which are in hazardous work. These children are now at even greater risk of facing circumstances that are even more difficult and working longer hours.
Efforts taken to eradicate child labour in India:
- Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act(1986) to prohibit the engagement of children in certain employments and to regulate the conditions of work of children in certain other employments
- Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 : The Amendment Act completely prohibits the employment of children below 14 years.
- The amendment also prohibits the employment of adolescents in the age group of 14 to 18 years in hazardous occupations and processes and regulates their working conditions where they are not prohibited.
- On World Day Against Child Labour (June 12) in 2017, India ratified two core conventions of the International Labour Organization on child labour.
- National Policy on Child Labour (1987), with a focus more on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations and processes, rather than on prevention.
- Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act2000 and amendment of the JJ Act in 2006: includes the working child in the category of children in need of care and protection, without any limitation of age or type of occupation.
- Section 23 (cruelty to Juvenile) and Section 26 (exploitation of juvenile employee) specifically deal with child labour under children in need of care and protection.
- Pencil: The government has launched a dedicated platform viz. pencil.gov.in to ensure effective enforcement of child labour laws and end child labour.
- The Right to Education Act 2009 has made it mandatory for the state to ensure that all children aged six to 14 years are in school and receive free education. Along with Article 21A of the Constitution of India recognizing education as a fundamental right, this constitutes a timely opportunity to use education to combat child labour in India.
- Amendments made to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act prescribes severe punishment for people found guilty of retaining bonded labour.
- The amendment stipulates rigorous imprisonment for those who force children to beg, handle or carry human waste and animal carcasses.
- The draft National Policy for Domestic Workers, when goes into force, will ensure minimum Rs.9,000 salary for household helpers.
- Every police station in the country has a separate cell for juvenile, women and child protection.
- Many NGOs like Bachpan Bachao Andolan, CARE India, Child Rights and You, Global march against child labour, RIDE India, Child line etc. have been working to eradicate child labour in India.
- As per Article 21(A) and Article 45 – The child has the right to Education i.e. the state shall provide compulsory and free education to the children of the age six to 14 years.
- As per Article 24 –There is a provision under which a child below the age of 14 years cannot be employed in any mine, factory or hazardous workplace.
- As per Article 39(f) –The child’s youth and childhood are to be protected against moral and material abandonment and exploitation.
- Under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda, UN Member States, employers’ and workers’ organizations, as well as civil society organizations, are urged to eliminate child labour by 2025, and forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030.
- In order to contribute to this goal, the ILO launched Alliance 8.7, a global partnership designed to align the efforts of those working towards the achievement of SDG Target 8.7.
- Goal 8 aims to Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
- In Target 8.7 leaders committed to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms