Child labor is one of the biggest problems faced by world today. According to UNICEF, a staggering number of 250 million children aged 2 to 17 are subjected to child labor worldwide. Child labor is defined by many organizations as “any kind of work for children that harms them or exploits them in some way may it be physically, mentally, morally or by depriving a child of education”. Child labor is a social menace in many parts of the world, especially developing countries. There is a widespread practice of child labor in places like agriculture, factories, mining, and quarrying etc. Thousands of children are made to work as household helps in different parts of the world. One can also find children working in hotels, cleaning establishments, tobacco-related factories and polishing shoes. This is a grave issue that needed to be countered on an urgent basis.
Children are said to be the future of a nation. But no matter, how rapidly a country is developing, if the large majority of its child population is working as bread earner for their family, it is an indication of sorry state of social equilibrium. No one has got any right to exploit children in any capacity but sadly, we keep facing such situations every now and then. In many countries, children are forced into prostitution. In countries like India, child labor has always been a huge issue. Despite formulating different laws protecting the basic rights of children, situation is far from impressive.
The practice of child labor not just devoid a child of his basic rights to live and study but also affects his future. Millions of children across the length and breadth of the country are indulged into some sort of labor practices in less than dignified conditions. They are made to work for 12-16 hours which really demands pressing attention. Such inhuman acts seriously affect the personal growth of a child. The root cause of child labor in India is poverty.
Many a times, children are forced into work by their own family. Lack of earning members pushes poor families to make their children work in appalling conditions. Insecurity and lack of resources worsens the situation. Education also plays a vital role in deepening the roots of the menace. Lower strata of the society do not have too many privileges and they are not even aware of benefits of education. That leaves them with only choice of forcing their children to work.
The laws and regulations in India concerning child labor are far from perfect. There is definitely a pressing need of concrete actions from the governments to abolish this practice. Factors like caste and gender discrimination, demand of cheap labor and superstitions etc are also responsible for widely prevalent practice of child labor in India. State needs to wake up to the growing threat of child labor else, despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, we run the risk of losing young and innocent souls. Growth and development matters only when all the basic problems are eradicated.
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