Reports from UNICEF estimates that, globally, 246 million children are engaged in child labour. Almost 70% of the children population, which accounts for 171 million children, work in hazardous conditions such as mines, chemical and pesticide factories, handling dangerous machinery, etc. Come to think of it, you see child labourers everywhere, toiling away as domestic servants, behind the scenes in various workshops, agricultural lands, shops, and many such places but how many times do you report these scenarios? Not many times or maybe not at all! Child labour is a crime punishable by law and it is binding that we as conscientious citizens do our bit to curb and banish this transgression completely.
A known evil, an accepted evil, an evil that can churn society and render it futile is child labour. A child serving at a tea stall, a street child selling flowers, a child at the general store helping you purchase items; we come across these incidents every day, in all walks of our life, don’t we? Then how is it that we’re not doing anything regarding it? Has child labour become so integral to our society that we’re fine with its existence? How does one take action to stop child labour?
It may seem like a daunting task but it has to be done. We have to safeguard our future; the future of our nation – its children. Firstly, we need to start by identifying child labour, which mostly gets hidden or unseen. Instead of extracting children out of these hazardous situations, we need to create some strict ground rules for employers all over the country to follow. This will ensure less indulgence on their part to employ children below a minimum age for a measly salary.
There are a few things that we, as an employer/responsible citizen, can do to stop child labour:
1) We need to analyse situations that involve a child labourer, especially where the nation’s law against it is concerned.
2) A strict assessment needs to be conducted with regards to any job, its environment, requirements, risks involved, and most importantly the age of the employee being hired for the position.
3) If in any case, an underage child is hired, he/she must be pulled out of the situation and counselled, if required. Children, regardless of age, should not be exposed to hazardous working atmospheres.
4) Application of safety and health management systems in working environments is important and should be strictly followed to stop child labour.
5) Children found as child labourers must be supported through welfare and education programmes.
6) One must ensure that their businesses do not cultivate an environment for child labour by setting and following strict guidelines by the Occupational Safety and Health Committee.
7) Setting up monitoring systems also help to stop child labour from breeding in society.
It is essential to stop child labour from thriving in our economy, where 152 million children are reportedly employed in jobs that are detrimental to their growth, both, mental and physical.
Save the Children works towards making a difference by running programmes that help stop child labour. Would you like to donate to this cause? Visit https://www.savethechildren.in/donate now!