World Day Against Child Labour: Practice pervasive in Chandigarh, only 7 children rescued in 2017 | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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World Day Against Child Labour: Practice pervasive in Chandigarh, only 7 children rescued in 2017

The low conviction rate of less than 1% means almost everybody is tempted to employ child labour.

punjab Updated: Jun 13, 2017 11:26 IST
Shailee Dogra
Still willing to grapple with life, children washing plates at a roadside eatery in Chandigarh on Monday.
Still willing to grapple with life, children washing plates at a roadside eatery in Chandigarh on Monday.(Sikander Singh/HT Photo)

For our society, child labour is akin to pollution. It is all pervasive and creeps up on you, but most choose to do nothing about it.

Of course, there is ban in place since 2006, punishable with jail up to two years, but it has proved to be of no consequence.

The low conviction rate of less than 1% means almost everybody is tempted to employ child labour.

As the World Day Against Child Labour was observed on Monday, here are sobering facts.

Two agencies — The Women and Child Helpline and the Child Protection Society — have rescued over 100 children over the past 18 months. The Child Protection Society claims to have no data for previous years.

The Women and Child Helpline has rescued seven children this year — two on Monday.

June has seen three rescues. On June 1, police booked Mohammed Imran and Shamshad, dhaba owners in Burail, for employing children as labourers.

The same day, Vijay of Sector 34, Chandigarh, was booked for employing a child for household work.

CHILDREN RESCUED BY WOMAN AND CHILD HELPLINE
  • 2014: 20
  • 2015: 22
  • 2016: 20
  • 2017: 07* (* to date)

RESCUES A ‘BLIP’; REHABILITATION A CONSTRAINT

The rescues are a blip on the multitudes involved in child labour. Anecdotal evidence and most people’s experience is that the number of children brought from states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and working in homes, restaurants, factories and institutions number in thousands.

“Child labour goes unchecked as there is no coordination between the police and government departments,” says Vikramjeet Godwani, state coordinator, Women and Child Helpline.

He added “Rehabilitation of these children is the key. The child welfare committee does not have the power to keep children in the institute forcibly.”

LAW FAILS THE CHILDREN

In most cases, law fails the children. Parents refuse to testify against employers, so no case is made out. If a case does reach trial, certificates are arranged that testify that the age of the child was above 14 (the age the 2006 ban mentions), sources claim.

Colonel Ravi Bedi, director Childline 1098, says, “In some cases, people are let-off as there is no exact proof of age.”

PENALTY
  • Under the law, you could be jailed up to three months to two years with or without fine that could be between Rs 10,000 and Rs20,000.

SPECIAL CAMPAIGN: 2 RESCUED FROM SHOP

A team from the UT labour department and the Woman and Child Helpline rescued two children (aged about 12) working at a ready-made garment shop in Manimajra. The children have been sent to Snehalaya after a medical. Labour inspector Ramesh Chand Dhiman, said, “Two children were rescued on Monday as part of a campaign between June 12-17 to mark World Day against Child Labour.”

THE LAW

The Labour ministry has imposed a ban under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, from October 10, 2006. The notification banned employment of children as domestic servants in dhabas (roadside eateries), restaurants, hotels, motels, tea shops, resorts, spas or in other recreational centres. Government servants are also banned from employing children below 14 years.