On Saturday, based on the report that appeared in The Hindu, ‘Child workers sweat it out for big firm,’ the Labour department and the Corporation of Chennai conducted a raid on the private firms that had hired the children and rescued them.

If all goes as planned, life may soon change for the three children who were hired by a private firm to market their products. On Saturday, based on the report that appeared in The Hindu, ‘Child workers sweat it out for big firm,’ the Labour department and the Corporation of Chennai conducted a raid on the private firms that had hired the children and rescued them. “We started the search at the Lawrence and Mayo office and they told us they had given the contract to a local ad company. After seeing the news item, the owner of the advertising agency had asked the children not to come for work. But the children came to collect their wages,” said T. Kumaran, Deputy Commisioner, Labour department.

The department has also initiated legal action against the employer under the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act and National Festivals Holidays Act. While the children have been paid Rs. 2,450 for the week's work by the agency, Labour Department officials have said the rescued children will be rehabilitated soon. Corporation health officials conducted a health test for the children and since they were found to be a little older than 14, officials have decided to mainstream them by re-enrolling them into schools, as per the National Child Labour Project. “We have made arrangements to enrol two of these children into the school they dropped out of, from Monday. For the other child, who has failed in class X, we will ensure he takes the exams next year or is put into some vocational training,” a senior official from the education department said.

Officials said they have initiated the enrolment of the parents of these children, who are mostly into domestic work or unorganised form of labour, into welfare boards so that they can avail of financial assistance. The challenge ahead is to ensure that the children do not drop out of schools, as they have done earlier. “I dropped out of class VI four years ago. I don't feel like going back but I don't want to work a lot,” says Gouthaman. For his friend, Vinayagam, it is a different worry altogether. “My parents did not know I was doing this work. Now they will be angry. I like school but I don’t want to fail again,” says the class X drop-out.

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Child workers sweat it out for big firmJuly 7, 2012

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