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THE PRICE OF FREEDOM BY NIKEETA SINGH
07.08.2020 Inspiring Goodness NIKEETA SINGH
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM BY NIKEETA SINGH

It is said that childhood is the best gift given to us by God. Everything is different when you're a child: the trees are higher, the colours are more vivid than ever, and every new day is a new opportunity.


However, Childhood is not the same for all. For some it is waking up at six in the morning and working till the sun sets; it is staying away from their parents to earn minimum wages; it is working in inhumane environments in hopes of a brighter future. This is the reality of child labour.


Child Labour is experienced by every one in ten children around the globe. At the age when children should worry about their marks they are worrying about their health and economic status. But how can we blame these innocent angels. Uneducated parents are one of the major sources that induce child labour. It is the children of the poor and marginalized communities who are often trafficked to be forced into labour. Parents of these children are either betrayed or lured due to their poor socio-economic conditions thus forcing them to ‘send’ or ‘sell’ their children for better livelihood options. The lack of awareness is a situation that traffickers exploit especially when it comes to uneducated poor minorities living in slums and other backward regions in the country. Traffickers promise daily wages to parents of young children and transport them to big cities where they are often treated as commodities. Families in dire financial conditions are often approached by traffickers with an offer to buy their children and with no other escape from their pitiful conditions, parents comply.


One of the major effects of child labour is losing education. Every day, some 168 million children around the world go to work instead of school. Education is the route out of poverty for many children. It gives them a chance to gain the knowledge and skills needed to improve their lives, however many a times their education is treated as a luxury, not a necessity.


In India, there is a great need for convergence and implementation of comprehensive child protection mechanisms. The Indian children are exposed to multiple vulnerabilities. With thousands of children still working in brick kilns, construction sites, and agricultural land, trafficking for the sake of forced child labour is widely prevalent. Apart from this, horrific stories emerge daily of girls as young as 9 years old being forced into the sex trade. Apart from this, children are also sold by their parents to work in factory and industries that are highly dangerous with toxic environments.


As described by Kailash Satyarthi who is a Nobel Peace Laureate -


“If a child is denied education and forced to work instead, violence has been inflicted. If a child and its parents are denied opportunities for a promising tomorrow, violence has been inflicted. If a child reels under poverty, violence has been inflicted. If obstacles are laid in the path of a child, inhibiting her progress and development, violence has been inflicted.”


As evil of a sin Child Labour is, there have been many improvements. Organisations such as Child Rights and You (CRY), CHILDLINE India Foundation, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, International Labour Organisations and numerous more have taken up the initiative to ensure that every child in the world is free, safe, healthy, receives quality education, and has the opportunity to realise their potential.


Today, as we speak 100 million children have fallen prey to child labour. The current COVID-19 pandemic, can potentially increase the number and further aggravate the problem in regions where child labour has been more resistant to policy and programme measures. The level of global economic integration and the current crisis are likely to have a large and possibly lasting worldwide adverse socio-economic and financial impact. Children are the worst impacted in any form of disaster. Covid-19 will be no different. If past trends are to repeat themselves,I believe that millions of children would be forced into child labour across the country. One prevailing perception that will go againstchildrenis that children are not being affected by this virus as compared to older people in the family. This will work as a push factor for children to be sent to work, whilst older people will remain at home with the fear of infection This will force innumerable children to financially support their families.


The stark reality is however that the fight against child labour is far from over. This fight will not be over until every child gets a chance to have an education, until every child gets the opportunity to live a carefree childhood, until every child has the liberty to laugh, until we act. We have the power to end child labour. So, let’s break the silence!


NIKEETA SINGH, THE CHETNA, SPREADING GOODNESS

  • Let’s Spread Goodness Together !! - Team Prama Jyoti Foundation