Children are the hope and the future of any nation. Still, there are millions and millions of kids across the globe who are not able to enjoy a carefree, safe and normal childhood. A considerable percentage of children in India and many other countries are involved in child labour, which has become a major international concern as it completely ruins the future of a child.

Despite all the efforts being made by various Governments and NGOs, a new report released by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) reveals that 168 million children around the world are still involved in child labour and half of them work in hazardous conditions and six million in forced labour.

In the USDOL’s “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labour”, it was identified that major countries using kids as workers are India, Pakistan, China, Brazil and Egypt. In India, it is the clothing industry supply chain that accounts for the majority of child labour. From cotton fields to mills to garment factories, children in India are involved in the production processed due to lack of education, poverty and other cultural reasons.

According to a report by World Vision Australia, children working in the cotton fields rarely get any pay. A data from cottonseed farms in Gujarat indicates that children receive less than 75 cents per day after working in extreme temperatures and up to 12 hours a day. Majorly, it is the poverty and lack of livelihood that pushes a child to contribute to the family income.

One of the major reasons as to why this labour issue is more prevalent in the textile industry is associated with the advantages in using children on cotton fields. The height of a cotton plant and children are almost the same and thus, it is quite easy for them to pluck cotton.

Several laws have been enforced in this regard. For e.g., in India, any child who is below the age of 14is not allowed to work in a hotel, factory, or any office. Although, India has the marked minimum age of 14 years for child labour,due to limited coverage of enforcementof such pertinent laws and lack of impact of various associated steps taken in this direction, the issue still persists in India largely.

Non-Governmental organisations working in this field, such as C&A Foundation, needs be scaled up or strengthened. The Government should support ideas, models and initiatives of such NGOs. Apart from the NGOs, companies and consumers can also help in combating this labour issue. Companies should take a clear stand against child labour and should continuously monitor the compliance of its requirements. Similarly, consumers can question about their clothing. If the consumers stop buying clothes that are made in factories or companies employing child labour, the companies will definitely look forward to ending child labour in their supply chains.

Any young child, be it boy or girl, who is working is most likely to remain illiterate, unskilled and weak. In these conditions, it is quite possible that such child remains employed in an unskilled work throughout his/her life or worse that he/she might not be able to get any employment at all when he/she grows up. Therefore, child labour should be strictly banned from every industry or company from the legal point of view as well as from child’s future perspective.

Author's Bio: 

Mayank Mohindra is an author on apparel, fashion, and textile industry.His articles are based on latest apparel industry news, textile news and/or analysis of the dynamics of global apparel trade, and fashion industry.