Today, April 30, is Anti-Child Labor Day in India.
Despite this awareness, India is home to 12 million children who are daily exploited and abused according to the finding of 2001 National Census.
UNICEFS estimates India has the largest number of children under the age of 14 working as laborers. These children are forced to work in hazard jobs such as mining, factories and in agriculture surrounded by harmful pesticides. They are also used as domestic workers at stalls, restaurants, dhabas and at houses in urban areas.
The worst form of this modern day slavery is bonded child labor, which is also known as slave labor. Another type is children working on streets as beggars or selling ware.
Often, the children face brutal punishments, starvation, emotional and sexual abuse all the while toiling 14-16 hours per day and receiving very low wages, about Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 3,000 ($16.58 to $49.74) monthly.
Children who work forgo gaining an education; this jeopardizes their success in future. The cycle of poverty and illiteracy continues, which has a tremendous effect on the country’s development.
The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 made it illegal to hire children under 14 years old. However, due to its weak implementation, child labor still remains India’s shameful reality.