"Child labour has serious consequences that stay with the individual and with society for far longer than the years of childhood. Young workers not only face dangerous working conditions. They face long-term physical, intellectual and emotional stress. They face an adulthood of unemployment and illiteracy."
- KOFI ANNAN
Child Labor began to be considered a human rights issue and became an issue of public dispute, when the foundation of universal schooling was laid. Historically the transformation came with the industrial revolution and the emergence of concepts like children’s rights and worker’s right’s. Child labor is widely prevalent in some form or the other, all over the world. The term is used for domestic work, factory work, agriculture, mining, quarrying, having own work or business’ like selling food etc, helping parent’s business and doing odd jobs. Children are regularly employed to guide tourists, sometimes doubling up as a marketing force to bring in business for shop owners and other business establishment. In some industries children are forced to do repetitive and tedious work like weaving carpets, assembling boxes, polishing shoes, cleaning and arranging shops goods. It is seen that children are found working more in the informal sectors compared to factories and commercial registered organizations. Little children are often seen selling in the streets or working quietly on domestic chores within the high walls of homes – hidden away from the eyes of the media and labor inspectors.
According to the statistics given by International Labor Organization there are about 218 million children between the age of 5 and 17 working all over the world. The figure excludes domestic labor. The most condemned form of child labor is the use of children for military purpose and child prostitution. Child agricultural works, child singers and child actors outside of school hours during season time are more acceptable by champions of human rights and law. The phenomenon of child labor is a complex development issue worthy of investigation. The fact that vulnerable children are being exploited and forced into work, which is not fit for their age, is a human rights concern now. India and other developed and developing countries are really plagued by the problem of child employment in organized and unorganized sectors.
1.1 What is child labour?
Child labour is not child work. Child work can be beneficial and can enhance a child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development without interfering with schooling, recreation and rest. Helping parents in their household activities and business after school in their free time also contributes positively to the development of the child. When such work is truly part of the socialisation process and a means of transmitting skills from parents to child, it is not child labour. Through such work children can increase their status as family members and citizens and gain confidence and self-esteem. The term Child Labor is used for employment of children below a certain age, which is considered illegal by law and custom. It is done by any working child who is under the age specified by law. The word, “work” means full time commercial work to sustain self or add to the family income. Child labor is a hazard to a Child’s mental, physical, social, educational, emotional and spiritual development. Broadly any child who is employed in activities to feed self and family is being subjected to “child labor’ and the stipulated age vary from country to country and government to government. It is a world phenomenon which is considered exploitative and inhuman by many international organizations.
1.2 Who is a child?
International conventions define children as aged 18 and under. Individual governments may define "child" according to different ages or other criteria. "Child" and "childhood" are also defined differently by different cultures. A...