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Child Labor in India
3 Pages 665 Words
India has many crises affecting it at this time. Among them is the important and sad issue of child labor. There are approximately 60 to 115 million child laborers in India (Human Rights Watch, 1996). Most child laborers work in the agriculture field but most organizations for human rights focus on the bonded laborers in the cities. Bonded child labor "refers to the phenomenon of children working in conditions of servitude in order to pay off a debt" (Human Rights Watch, 1996).
In bonded child labor a creditor loans the parents a small amount of money in exchange for their child's labor. The labor is extremely cheap and the children work until the loan can be paid off in one lump sum. This almost never happens because the interest rates are greater than the wages of the child.
Poverty and lack of proper education aid child labor. In rural areas poverty affects 39% of the population and in urban areas poverty strikes 37% of the population (International Labor Organization). Families need as much money as possible to survive and the children provide needed income. The children of families don't get an education and become illiterate. From working since the age of four or five they wear down their bodies and die at the age of forty or fifty passing on their debts to their children. Without and education it makes it near impossible for them to get out of poverty as adults. Their children after inheriting their parents' debts are forced into a life of poverty, which creates an almost never-ending cycle. Sometimes the creditor of a child will release the child in favor for younger children, which helps some but then they have no education and are forced to continue in poverty.
India seems determined to eradicate child labor when looking at its laws. The Bonded Labor System Act of 1976 "frees all bonded laborers, cancels any outstandin
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Eric V. Edmonds
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