No end to child labour

Despite efforts by the labour department, nearly 1.5 lakh children, include differently-abled youngsters, continue to toil in various industries

January 24, 2015 09:35 am | Updated April 22, 2016 07:23 pm IST - CHENNAI:

BANGALORE, 21/06/2005: A child working at an illegal mining site, Hospet, in Bellary district of Karnataka.
Photo: K. Murali Kumar 21-06-2005

BANGALORE, 21/06/2005: A child working at an illegal mining site, Hospet, in Bellary district of Karnataka. Photo: K. Murali Kumar 21-06-2005

Despite a steep drop in the number of child workers in the State over the previous decade, recently released Census data reveals over 1.5 lakh children are still labouring under the sun and in dingy factories, every day.

In an effort to root out the practice once and for all, the Labour Department launched an intensive 11-day campaign on January 21, with its officers conducting raids in all districts. The department has also launched a signature campaign at the trade fair in Chennai.

“We want to create awareness among the public. At the trade fair, people visiting our stall are signing on the board that displays slogans against child labour,” a senior official of the Labour Department says.

Besides Chennai, which is thronged by a large floating population on a day-to-day basis, neighbouring Tiruvallur and Villupuram top the list of districts employing children.

“Our effort is mostly directed at identifying children who are forced to work and those employed for economic reasons,” says the officer, adding the 1.5-lakh child-labourer population includes differently-abled children and those who have to take care of their younger siblings in the absence of parents.

Rescued children are either enrolled in nearby schools or taught in bridge schools before being mainstreamed.

Child labour continues to exist in textile industries, agricultural fields during cotton plucking, brick kilns, beedi-making units and matchstick factories in Tamil Nadu.

New phenomenon in Kanyakumari

Availability of rice and fish has attracted labourers from West Bengal, Orissa and even refugees from Bangladesh, to the fishing trade in Kanyakumari.

“As traditional fishermen families have moved away from the trade, especially after the tsunami, youngsters from other States, who have come in search of jobs, have entered fishing. The place suits them well as the food matches their staple diet of rice and fish,” says V. Palanisamy, inspector of labour, Nagercoil.

On Wednesday, Mr. Palanisamy rescued three children from Uttar Pradesh, engaged in the fishing industry in Kottilpadu near Colachel Port.

“The boys are from Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh. They have bank passbooks and Aadhaar cards. They live with other families from their State and make cotton candy when not involved in fishing,” he says.

Young workers from other States too are engaged in fishing activities, a phenomenon unheard of in the past.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.