Is engagement under 18 legal in India

Child Labor in India

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India is one of the countries in the world where child labor is still very widespread. Indian law restricts the employment of minors under the age of 14, but it is not strictly prohibited. Many children do not go to school because of their work and cannot take their chance of an education. As a result of the mostly dangerous and physically difficult work, many of them get sick and have to struggle with the consequences for life.

What is child labor?

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Labor Organization (ILO) designate child labor as any type of work by minors that has negative consequences for their intellectual, social and health development and that violates children's fundamental rights to education, health, protection and participation. This includes not only dangerous or exploitative child labor, but also extremely hard work in the family environment.

What does child labor look like in India?

One in five Indian children between the ages of six and 14 does not go to school. Overall, according to the UNICEF report 12.6 million children Do dangerous work in India. Most of them work up to 16 hours a day.

According to the ILO, of the total of 12.6 million children employed, 69 percent work in agriculture, often on cotton plantations. There they pick cotton by hand, carry the harvest in heavy sacks on their backs and have to spread pesticides in the fields, some of them unprotected. The toxic pesticides can lead to serious respiratory and skin diseases. 16 percent produce carpets, fireworks and cigarettes. Around twelve percent work in the service area in hotels, restaurants and tourism. Girls in particular are often exposed to physical violence and sexual abuse. Work in this area has now been banned by the Indian government for children under the age of 14.

What are the causes?

Child labor has a lot to do with the current situation in India. Although the country is experiencing high economic growth, around 300 million people in India have to come along, according to the World Bank less than two dollars a day get along. That's just enough for a meal. A large majority of them live in the country. There it is often difficult for the children to attend school. The nearest school is often far away and there is no public transport. Because the parents have not or only briefly gone to school, they have great problems finding a job. It is a doom-loop.

poverty is therefore one of the most common causes of child labor. Since schools and teachers are rare, especially in rural parts of India, these children have little chance of an education. You start working early. In addition, there is child labor in Indian society traditionally anchored. Securing the family and especially family support has priority over education, the tolerance threshold is high. There is also no minimum age for child labor. Thus, it is also allowed for minors to work in the company of their parents or other relatives. This means that children miss the chance to learn and are exposed to new dangers in their work every day.

What can you do about it?

In order to stop child labor and the exploitation of girls and boys in India in the long term, a lot has to change. Especially on the legal level. So far, child labor under the age of 14 has only been punished with a fine of 50,000 rupees, or around 645 euros, for the first violation. Violations are rarely punished, however. According to the Indian government, there is a conviction about 29 percent of the time. There are also many loopholes in the laws designed to limit child labor. For example, children under 18 are no longer allowed to do "dangerous work". However, this term is not defined in the law. In addition, children under the age of 14 are only allowed to work in family businesses. But this term is not finally defined either. Thus, every company can claim that it is a family business.

With the help of National Child Labor Projects (NCLO) wants the central government to stop child labor in India. It is making the equivalent of 77 million euros available for this. Child labor has declined in recent years, but much still needs to be done to prevent it entirely.

We at Plan International are committed to ensuring that girls and boys can attend school and grow up protected. Likewise, they have one Right to free timeto regenerate and develop. The ultimate goal is to support the parents so that they can largely do without their children's cooperation. If that is not possible, it must Right to education, health and protection can also be granted for working children. We are committed to better working conditions for affected girls and boys.

We also support the expansion of the education system to include offers for working children and awareness-raising campaigns about the consequences of child labor. We support additional projects all over the world, such as pointing out alternative sources of income and small loan programs for mothers and fathers. Families have a sufficient income and the children do not have to do any paid work. The vicious circle is broken.

Would you like to campaign against child labor? In addition to supporting aid organizations, you can also become active yourself. For example, when shopping, make sure you choose products that are fairly traded. These products are usually marked with certain seals, such as Fair Flowers Fair Plants, the Fairtrade seal or the XertifiX seal. The latter guarantees that humane conditions prevail in India's quarries, that workers receive midest wages and that child labor is prohibited.