Children should not be robbed of their childhood and families must make a conscious effort not to employ them as helps -- the passionate appeal was made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur today as she released a book on rescued child labourers.
The book titled 'Breaking Free', is a collection of stories of children who were rescued.
"It is a matter of shame. Poverty is responsible for compelling these children to work. Our society is having people who are insensitive to the issue of child labour. Parents should understand that it's their duty to give right direction to children," she said.
Kaur said government and NGO's alone cannot make a difference without people's active participation.
"It is the duty of every citizen to expose and tell the police if you see anyone employing a child. It's high time to wake up. It is the country's responsibility to give these children a bright future", she said.
A documentary film recounting stories of rescued children and the trauma they faced while working at a tender age was also screened at the function.
Addressing the function, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chairperson Shanta Sinha said middle-class families must realise that they are not doing a favour by employing children as domestic helps.
Families or employers, who make children work as household helps, should be punished, she said.
Film personality Farooque Sheikh said there are certain basic faultlines in our social structure which allows perpetuation of such practices.
A memorandum demanding strengthening of the legal system to stop all forms of child labour, educating parents on the impact of sending their children to work, creating awareness among children about the impact of working at a young age, among other recommendations was submitted to NCPCR.