The number of child labourers in the city’s organised work sector has seen a significant fall over the last eight years, from more than 33,000 estimated in 2005 to about 7,000 at present.
While child labour still exists in the city despite laws against it, this is positive news on World Day Against Child Labour, being observed on Wednesday.
As per data from Pratham, a non-profit organisation working for child rights and education, about 10,000 children in the city are currently out of school (not including drop-outs). Of these, 70% are labourers.
“The numbers have come down significantly thanks to increased awareness about the problem. We have received numerous calls on our helpline that help us in our campaign against child labour,” said Farida Lambay, co-founder, Pratham.
“The drop is also thanks to the right to education (RTE) Act that demands that every child should go to school. We are positive that the amendment to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, will be passed in Parliament, to ban employment of children under 14 years, in both hazardous and non hazardous occupations,’ she said.
Rescue efforts by organisations working for children have been instrumental in bringing the numbers down. Between 2012 and 2013, Pratham alone rescued 2,500 child labourers.
The organisation, launched in 1994 by the civic body and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is currently in contact with 1,791 child labourers across the city.