Published: 11th September 2021
India's battle against child labour could last a century, child trafficking harder to track now, says Nodal director of Childline
The loss of employment for parents due to the COVID pandemic, clubbed with the closure of schools, have seen an unprecedented number of children being trafficked for labour
One out of 11 children in India is engaged in some form of child labour and it could take the country 100 years to eradicate child labour completely, said NV Vasudeva Sharma, Nodal Director of Childline 1098 and Executive Director of Child Rights Trust.
He was speaking at a unique workshop, the first such in the country, organised by the Government Railway Police (GRP) and anti-human trafficking NGO Vihaan for personnel of the GRP, Railway Protection Force, Railways and child rights organisations, on prevention of trafficking of children for labour.
Sharma said the data was based on the 2011 census, which specifies that one crore children (5-18 years) were involved in child labour. “There is just a 2.2 per cent decrease in child labour with every passing year in the last decade,” he specified.
The Nodal Director said the reality of the numbers was not visible in our surroundings as the whole process of children deployed for labour had gone underground. "To avoid detection by cops, those indulging in trafficking now alight at KR Puram or other stations, instead of KSR Bengaluru City, Yesvantpur or Cantonment, where there is a watch for such activities," he said.
Sarita Vaz, member, Chief Welfare Committee, said the loss of employment for parents due to the COVID pandemic, clubbed with the closure of schools, have seen an unprecedented number of children being trafficked for labour. “We are going to face a huge problem in getting them back to school after the pandemic,” she added.
Elaborating on the reasons for high prevalence of child labour in Karnataka, ADGP, Railways, Bhaskar Rao said, “Since Bengaluru is an economic hub, children from different parts of the country are being sent here to do menial jobs across industries.”