Saccha Bachpan - Children´s voices on child labor and the new child labor law

Child labor and unequal childhood are India’s worst-kept secret, and a new law claiming to protect the rights of children is in fact legalizing child labor to quite an extent.

It is very unfortunate for us to be having the largest number of child laborers in the world. The Census in 2011 found a total of 4,4 million child laborers in India. Reasons are many – poverty, lack of education amenities, and growth of informal economy, increasing gap between rich and poor, privatization of basic services and neo-liberal economic policies, among others.

Quick and significant attention of different stakeholders is needed to completely eradicate child labor. The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 is offering the reverse of what appears on paper. It allows children below 14 years to work in family enterprises and entertainment industry under certain conditions, while completely banning their employment elsewhere. Since most of Indian child laborers work to some extent in a family enterprise this law remains ineffective in banning child labor.

Understanding the seriousness of the situation, Saccha Bachpan, is an effort by VAAGDHARA to make children participate in the process of policy making. Since the child labor law directly influences the lives of millions of children it is an urgent need to give those a voice in the process of policy making. VAAGDHARA, which engages with marginalized communities, is seeking out the voices of affected children regarding their rights. We constituted a Ground-Level-Panel of children to comment on the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016.

The Ground-Level Panel gives a platform to the children to share the experiences and opinions of 15 children on child labor and how it impacts their lives. The purpose is to develop a statement from the panelists, which we will share with the policy makers.

VAAGDHARA aims to bring forth the voice of children from deprived areas of southern Rajasthan, and let it reach out to government agencies, civil society, and the media and collectively voice for change.

You can please have a look at the complete report on Sachha Bachpan here – which includes information about all the 15 panelists, children of problems at various levels, solution for child labor, and recommendation from the panelists.

Download and Read complete Report:

https://www.vaagdhara.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Children-voices-on-child-labor-and-the-new-child-labor-law.pdf

Media Coverage:

The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/Tribal-children-raise-important-questions-about-child-labour-laws/article16713175.ece

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