International Day Against Child Labor in India

this year International Day Against Child Labor ‘Action Week Against Child Labor’ was celebrated, which ran from 3 to 12 June 2022. Throughout this special week, events and activities around the world demonstrated the progress made in eliminating child labour. In the world, 160 million children are forced to work, which is approximately one in ten children.

In India, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, on Saturday 11 June, called on the people to participate in the government’s efforts to eradicate child labor in the state.

In Chennai, on Edward Elliot Beach, Tamil Nadu Domestic Workers Welfare Fund A human chain was organized for nearly 500 children and adults to show their solidarity.

Child labor reinforces intergenerational poverty, threatens national economies and undermines the rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unlike activities that help a child grow, such as doing housework for a few hours a week or taking a job during school holidays, child labor interferes with education and is harmful to physical, mental and mental health. Child morals.

United Nations Children’s Fund, Child Protection Advocacy Brief: Child Labor, UNICEF, New York, 2018

Demands of the Child Rights Movement in Tamil Nadu

Members of the children’s rights movement and Tamil Nadu Domestic Workers Welfare Fund It made a series of demands aimed at eliminating child labour. They called on the state government to take action to prevent child labor in all sectors and ensure that there are no more child laborers in Tamil Nadu.

They also called for increased scholarships for children of domestic workers and increased funding for education and child protection. In its demands, the children’s rights movement also wants to create child protection committees at the lower local level, which will ensure continuous monitoring of children. When urban slum dwellers are resettled, the government must ensure their safety and education.

child protection in india

In 1992, India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and since then its national policy for children has focused on a rights-based approach. The most significant change is that the national policy set by the Ministry of Women and Child Development has defined children as those under the age of 18. Through this policy, the Indian government undertakes”Take positive measures – legislative, political or otherwise – to promote and protect the right of all children to live and develop in equity, dignity, security and freedom, especially those who are marginalized or disadvantaged; To ensure equal opportunities for all children; Not to allow any custom, tradition, or cultural or religious practice to violate, restrict or prevent children from enjoying their rights“.

2011 Census data (latest available) indicates that the total number of children aged 5-18 working in India at that date was 33 million including 22.87 million adolescents and 10.11 million children aged 5-18 14 years old.

As part of its efforts to eradicate child labour, the Indian government has created the PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement of Child Non-Labour) which allows NGOs and the civilian population to report on the situation of child labor online and forcing children to work.

A little girl working as a housemaid in India
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Tamil Nadu, one of the leading countries in the fight against child vulnerability

According to UNICEF, Tamil Nadu has the lowest rates of infant and newborn mortality and prevalence of stunting in India, and primary school enrollment rates are the highest in India.

Tamil Nadu is one of the leading states in India in developing pro-poor policies and social protection programs for children and women from the most marginalized communities. The state introduced progressive legislation and programs such as social security measures, expansion of health, nutrition, water and sanitation and education systems, as well as the public distribution system.

Over the decades, these social policies have been effectively implemented thanks to large public investments in the social sector and strong administrative structures and systems that have facilitated effective planning and monitoring. This has shown a significant impact on children’s well-being in terms of health, nutrition and education. Infant and newborn mortality and the prevalence of stunting among children under five years of age are the lowest in India.

In addition, Tamil Nadu has put in place a number of positive incentives to attract children to school, and during the past three decades there has been a focus on improving investment in education, and access to primary education. However, some political challenges still need to be addressed in the country.

Feet of child laborers in India

Child labor renewed in Tamil Nadu after the outbreak of the Corona virus

A rapid study published by the organization Campaign Against Child Labor (CACL) It showed that in 24 districts studied in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, the number of working children from vulnerable communities increased from 231 to 650 compared to the pre-COVID-19 period.

The proportion of working children from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribal Communities has nearly tripled, from 28.2% to 79.6%, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting school closures.

According to the report, 30.8% of children work in the manufacturing sector and 26.4% in the service sector. Children also worked in agriculture and cottage industries.

More than 94% of children said they started working because of their parents’ financial difficulties and family pressure. The pandemic and the accompanying loss of livelihoods have pushed many families into poverty. Therefore, children were brought to work to earn some money, even after confinement.

The study suggested measures to solve this problem: providing a guaranteed minimum of employment opportunities for adults in families, covering vulnerable families with social protection programs, strict enforcement of labor laws, and establishing child protection committees at the village level.

A little girl selling in a market in India

Unfortunately, the resurgence of child labor has been observed everywhere in India but also in the world. The Child Labor Report: Global Estimates 2020, Trends and the Way Forward, released on the eve of the World Day Against Child Labor on June 12, 2021, warned that progress toward ending child labor is on track to die for the first time in twenty years. , reversing the previous downward trend that saw child labor fall by 94 million between 2000 and 2016. And at 160 million worldwide in 2022, child labor increased by 8.4 million over the past four years — and millions more are at risk due to the effects of the virus, the report says. It is covid-19. Globally, another nine million children are at risk of being pushed into child labor by the end of 2022 due to the pandemic. The simulation shows that this number could rise to 46 million if children do not have access to much-needed social protection coverage.

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