Act Now: End Child Labour!
Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of manRabindranath Tagore
One of the happiest moments in a couple’s life is the confirmation that they will become parents. The mother’s pain to give birth to the child and the parents’ dedicated efforts in bringing them up are enormous. Recall the anxiety, worry in parents’ minds when the child returns home a few minutes later than expected and the joy and celebration when they succeed, all part of parenthood. But what happened to all of us? Millions of children are languishing as child labourers, working in very harsh environments, struggling to meet their bare minimum daily requirements. Where did it go wrong?
ILO defines child labour as that which would affect their childhood negatively and deprive them of the opportunity to secure a better future. In 2002 a resolution was passed to observe June 12 as World Day Against Child Labour Day. It aimed at bringing the attention of the world to uproot child labour from societies. 2021 is being observed as International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour and the first year after the universal ratification of eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour. The National Anti-Child Labour Day is observed every year in India on April 30.
According to the latest ILO report, there are 160 million child labourers (42% of them being girls) globally, nearly half of them engaged in hazardous work. Africa, Asia, and the Pacific regions have the largest share of child labour (9 out of 10) globally. Low income, poverty, lack of resources forces the families in taking the children to take up works. Child labour prevalent in labour industries like the Diamond industry, Fireworks manufacture, Silk manufacture, Carpet weaving, Domestic labour, and Mining, with agriculture accounting for 71% of them. Child labour is a fallout of many social and economic factors such as poverty, social norms condoning it, lack of decent work opportunities, and migration. They are leading to social inequities and discrimination.
Oscar Wild said, “Behind sorrow, there is always sorrow. Pain, unlike pleasure, wears no mask. … For this reason, there is no truth comparable to sorrow”. Instead of going to school and learning life skills, young children lament and toil for long hours working in the most challenging conditions. Should not it cause anger? If you have anger in you, then it is time to act.
Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi said, “Child slavery is a crime against humanity. Humanity itself is at stake here. A lot of work remains, but I will see the end of child labour in my lifetime”. Let us hope that his dream come true.
There is only one way to eliminate it, and that is knowledge. Every country must modify its law and education system and work with honesty.
Child labour robs children of their right to an innocent childhood.
Do your bit to stop it.
*A Toonlog on the topic was written in the year 2020 (Anti-Child Labour Day)