Prevention of Child Labour
International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions 138 (1973) and 182 (1999) define child labourers as all children younger than 12 working in any economic activities, children 12-14 years old engaged in more than light work, and all children engaged in the worst forms of child labour — in which they are enslaved, forcibly recruited, prostituted, trafficked, forced into illegal activities or exposed to hazards.
Employment with others and self-employment both come under the umbrella of ‘child labor’. It has been seen that children who are street sellers, street entertainers, rag pickers, child prostitutes, beggars, etc, – are mostly orphans and hence easily exploited by underworld gangsters and racketeers. They are the victims of abandonment, riots, wars or just sheer poverty and homelessness. In countries like India and other poor countries, some children are helping hands for their parents or are employed in factories, commercial organizations or households with the consent of the parents.
In India, there are laws against child labour and employment of children below 14 years of age as domestic servants, restaurants, dhabas, tea shops, hotels and resorts, stands banned. This ban is under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. The Act also prohibits children from working in bidi-making, carpet-weaving, cracker-making and wool-cleaning units and in factories using chemical and toxic substances.
In order to tackle the problem of Child labour, primary schooling facilities should be increased, particularly in the rural areas and in the vicinity of units which employ child labour. Most importantly, the Government, with the help of the World Bank, UNICEF, the ILO and other NGOs, should work towards enforcing and educating the parents and local community on the harmful effects of child labour.