June 12 has been recognised as the World Day Against Child Labour across the world. Child labour is a cruel yet highly prevalent practice across the world. Several fundamental and human rights are violated in the practice. Despite the countries of the world making stringent laws to abolish child labour, it exists at a huge scale.
Eradiating child labour has been adopted by the UN in its 17 Sustainable Development Goals target which the countries have agreed to meet by the year 2025. In 2017, India has ratified two core conventions of the International Labour Organization on child labour. However, the country needs to ensure that the benefit of those conventions reaches the most vulnerable children.
According to the 2011 Census, in the age group 5-14 years, 10.1 million of 259.6 million constituted working children. Even though there was a decline in the number of working children to 3.9% in 2011 from 5% in 2001, the decline rate is insufficient to meet target 8.7 of the SDGs.
In order to meet the deadline, India needs to make serious investments in enhancing its body of knowledge on child labour, emphasising quantitative information. While there are many common factors across the spectrum, each sector and each demographical segment will have its own set of factors and drivers that push children into the labour market. These have to be addressed. Such factors and drivers can only be identified and analysed through proper research, surveys and assessments.
Railways are used by kidnappers to transport children to be forced into child labour. The mode is also used by children who have willingly absconded from their homes in search of work and a better life. The organisation needs to play an important role in identifying them and rescuing them from falling into the trap.
Apart from this, the growing interest of the private sector is a great opportunity that has to be further utilised, particularly to leverage key influencers in domestic and multinational supply chains. It is also a matter of competitive advantage for multi-nationals to ensure that child labour is effectively eliminated in their supply chains. A sector-wide culture of child labour-free businesses has to be nurtured.
The fight against child labour is not just the responsibility of one, it is the responsibility of all.
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The CSR Journal Team