BY MR. ASHIM SANYAL, COO CONSUMER VOICE
According to the Census of India 2011, 10 million children are engaged in labour or seeking work. This picture is alarming. Add to that, instances of children working in the harshest of conditions like mining, zari and carpet factories, the case of child labour becomes grim. And inadvertently we as consumers could be using products like makeup kit, carpet or zari dress made by children – children who should be studying in schools and not toiling in the factories and employed as slaves many a times.
Child labour is not only wrong from the humanitarian point of view but it also violates the fundamental rights of a child to life, freedom, equality and his/her right against exploitation. It also perpetuates the cycle of poverty and illiteracy for generations.
Child labour needs to eliminated and uprooted from the grass root level and a landmark step towards this effort was the enactment of the Child Labour and Adolescent (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, or CLPRA in 2016.
Increased awareness of child rights among consumers is the need of the hour. One needs greater convergence between different stakeholders in child protection for rehabilitation of children. Globally, the International Labour Organization and UNICEF recommend a multi-pronged strategy to tackle child employment that involves better enforcement of laws, increasing awareness and strengthening education systems. India needs to act NOW and act FAST.
Consumers should boycott goods made by child labour and ensure they do not employ children in workplaces or at home as violates both the law and their dignity.