Can’t save even one child if labour law is changed: Satyarthi

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 24, 2015 12:38 IST
Child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. (File photo)

If the Centre clears the proposed amendment to reduce the list of hazardous fields that cannot employ children from 83 to 3, it would be difficult to rescue even a single child, warned child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.

The Nobel laureate said Delhi had emerged as one of the biggest destinations for trafficking for different purposes such as marriage, domestic help, prostitution, etc.

During a consultation with child rights bodies of 19 states on the proposed amendment, he pointed out that demand for domestic help would increase as amendments in the Child Labour and Juvenile Justice Act that the Centre was set to clear would allow children to work with relatives.

“The trafficking for domestic helps will increase as people will say they are their relatives. No one can prove that they are not related to each other. If the child labour bill is ratified with these contentious provisions, it will be more regressive than the existing regulations on the issue and will deprive protection and access to quality education for children,” he added.

The Bachpan Bachao Andolan founder said the data they had clearly showed that almost 1/5th of the total children rescued were working with their families and almost 82% of the children were rescued from establishments operating in residential areas.

He pointed out that at least 10 industries such as garment, cloth bag, foot wear, dhaba and retail shops that employed nearly 79% of children were removed from the list.

“This literally means we cannot rescue even a single child if the bill is cleared,” he added.

“A change in law that permits employment of children in home based work may continue to support trafficking of children for forced labour since most manufacturing units operating out of residential areas could claim to be family enterprises,” he added.

Satyarthi said he would write to Prime Minister, leaders of all the political parties and all members of Parliament so that they oppose the amendment. He is also against the amendment to lower the age of juvenile from 18 years to 16 years.

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