Every day nine-year-old Milli rushes through her morning ablutions to reach her employers’ house where she takes care of a girl, less than half her age, along with doing other household chores.
At an age, when most children are seen waiting for their school buses dressed impeccably in their uniforms, Milli, in her worn-down clothes walks past them with hopes and dreams in her eyes.
“I wish I could study like my younger sister. But, mummy says I should help her with this work. I do not argue with her,” Milli told IANS. Milli shares her story with millions of others.
Bhuwan Ribhu, an activist with the Bhachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement, said that as per 2010 National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) figures, there are close to 4.9 million child labourers in the country.
According to the Census 2001 figures there were 12.6 million working children in the age group of five—14 years.
Ribhu said the government argues that with the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, it has been able to bring down the number of child labour in the nine year period.
But Vijaylakshmi Arora, director (development support) at Child Rights and You (CRY), said that India does not have “a concrete strategy to prevent child trafficking and also child labour.”
Arora added that a multi-pronged strategy and a strong law that deals with the issue effectively is the need of the hour.IANS