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Child labour exposé

30 October 2005
Posted in: Scratchpad, Social issues | 3 Comments

A shocking story broken by NDTV was overshadowed by the multiple bomb blasts in Delhi last evening (29 October), but as I was going to write about it, I think I should continue.

An NGO with NDTV went undercover in a garment/embroidery factory and found a child labour sweatshop. About a hundred kids—five years and upwards—squeezed into a tiny, unventilated room, made to work almost 20 hours a day on two meals only! How bad their condition was need not be spelt out.

If this is shocking, here’s what the administration intend to do about it: Nothing.

Delhi’s labour commissioner said that they couldn’t do anything as too much planning would be needed to launch an operation of this scale. The cops said they couldn’t do anything till the festival season was over. And the social welfare department said to leave a complaint and they’d get back.

All this amidst much buck-passing. The gall of these people, who hold important positions in the social welfare set-up of the system, blatantly putting up their hands, unwilling to do anything is shocking. They are not even afraid—ashamed, whatever—to say this on one of the most popular TV news channels in India (and one which goes around the world as well).

There is no point in having laws, even evidence, if the will to implement them is missing. And you cannot have will if you lack a heart. And a spine.

~PD

3 Responses

  1. Me, Vertex boy says:

    I’m deeply against calling that child labour. At someplaces, where families and the society is too poor for sending the kids to school, the second best thing is for the kids to learn a profession. It will keep them off the streets and hopefully criminality.

    Making anyone work almost 20 hours a day providing only two meals and lousy working conditions is slavery. While the kids might not be bought and sold in the open as slaves, they certainly seem to work under the same conditions as slaves.

    So it should be called child-slavery *nod nod*

    I hope the administration has just been caught off guard by the speed of media and has gone into a defensive, useless state. Hopefully the people in charge will process the new information over the next few days and come up with a good sollution shortly. 🙂

  2. Payal says:

    Solution? That’s not going to happen!! This is not the first or last time this sort of exposé has taken place… And this is not going to be the first or last time nothing is done about it.

    Your point about child labour/slavery is valid, though. But it isn’t that simple. Often, keeping them out of school is what puts them into criminality, begging “gangs”, and so on. And, yes, kids are bought and sold sometimes… sometimes sold in the West.

    There are any number of laws, policies, what have you. But the system is very corrupt and the will to impose the law is very weak.

  3. Kate says:

    Child labor is far too lucrative a slave trade for anyone feeling like they can get away with it to just quit because of some exposure. Unfortunately, they might feel that the public tends to care only enough to raise their objections until the problem is swept under the carpet once again. With no one to force accountability, why should they (or the governments) have any? This is a problem in so many places, including the hypocritical us of a.

    I imagine the companies feel they can just shuffle the organization a little if there is any pressure actually put upon them.

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