People often ask children about their dreams, what is their favourite subject in school or what would they do when they grow up and those children always came up with innovative answers such as; doctors, teachers, astronauts, scientists, actors, dancer, sports player, singer and many more.
A worker in a hazardous industry was never a choice, but still it became a compulsory part of life for a lot of children even today.
Child labour dates back to the earliest days of industrial revolution when children were drawn from local orphanages and were given food and dormitory in exchange of their work.
First act to regulate Child labour
The first act to regulate child labour was passed in 1803 in Britain. Children younger than nine were not allowed to work, those aged 9–16 could work 12 hours per day per the Cotton Mills Act. In 1856, the law permitted child labour past age 9, for 60 hours per week, night or day. In 1901, the permissible child labour age was raised to 12.
Regions and countries
Child labour is most prevalent in under developed and developing countries according to International Labour Organisation (ILO).
As per ILO global estimates on child labour indicate that Africa has the largest number of child labourers; 72.1 million African children are estimated to be in child labour and 31.5 million in hazardous work.
The South Asian
- In absolute terms, child labour for the 5-17 years age range is highest in India (5.8 million), followed by Bangladesh (5.0 million), Pakistan (3.4 million) and Nepal (2.0 million).
- In relative terms, children in Nepal face the highest risk of being in child labour than elsewhere in South Asia, with over one-quarter (26 per cent) of all 5-17 year old engaged in child labour.
World Day Against Child Labour
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 in order to bring attention and join efforts to fight against child labour. This day is observed every year on 12th June. This day brings together goverment, local authorities, civil societies and international organisation to point out the problem and work against it.
What can an individual do?
The governments have passed the laws, it’s now the duty of citizens to act upon it. Everyone can do their part and help to eradicate the problem.
- Encourage the poor family to send their children to school to study instead of industries for cheap labour.
- Do not employ children at homes for domestic work and instead employ poor old people as it would provide them a livelihood.
- Talk to local authorities and spread awareness.
Don’t let the dreams of little children be crushed under the burden of bricks.
Don’t cut their wings and
hand them brooms and sticks.
Let them fly high and live fulfill their dreams.