The Worst Forms of Child Labour in Asia


By
Sona Sahu
PGP 2004-2006
Xavier Institute of Management
Bhubaneswar
 


"Child is the father of the man" or he is the future of tomorrow. But no more. With the growing exploitation and the way we are depriving him of his basic rights, the future seems dark and grim. Child labour is one of the worst forms of exploitation. It has been going on since long without being noticed. Asia has 61% of the world's child labourers. Despite the help offered by few organizations, it's largely taken for granted and no substantial effort has been put in this direction to overcome it and give the children of this world a better chance.

Exploitation of children in commercial sex trade remains the worst form of child labour in Asia. UNICEF estimates that 1 million children are lured into sex trade in Asia every year wherein 40% were sold by parents, 15% by their relatives.  Traffickers of both children and adults feed largely on the desire of poor families and many young people for economic and personal advancement through migration for work.  Thailand is the base for children trafficked from Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and China. The children work as prostitutes, household helpers, in factories, farms, fishing vessels, drug trafficking.

Bonded child labour is extensively rooted in socio-cultural and political structures in parts of South Asia. Bonded children are delivered in repayment of a loan who then work like slaves in agriculture, domestic work, brick kilns, glass industries, tanneries, gem polishing and many other manufacturing and marketing industries. Child abuse in name of domestic work is rampant in Asia. The young are exposed to hazards while doing heavy household work and are usual victims of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse and is most difficult to see as they are restrained within the privacy of our homes.

The rise in the incidences of internal armed conflicts in several Asian countries has resulted in even more exposure of children to armed groups as soldiers, spies, porters and helpers in camps, subjected to abusive treatments in Burma, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Nepal.

Ordinary people can also help fight for the cause by learning about the issue, help organizations that are raising awareness, providing direct help to individual children. It can be decreased by increased family incomes; education- impart skills to help them earn a living, family control-so that families are not burdened by children.

The ILO's International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) has explored many programs to help child laborers. Strong advocates of this approach are Boyden, Myers and Ling; Concerned for Working Children in Karnataka, India; many children's "unions" and "movements" and the Save the Children family of NGO. Helped in this effort by setting up credit schemes, supported education schemes, got appropriate legislation on child labour implemented.

Let us also contribute in this direction so that no more children work on the streets. Let us all pledge to give them their childhood back, their lost innocence and smile. Let us give them education to light their hearts and this world to make it a better place to live in.
 


Sona Sahu
PGP 2004-2006
Xavier Institute of Management
Bhubaneswar
 

Source : E-mail September 22, 2004

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