Call to enforce Child Labour Act stringently

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Dec. 7. The Child Labour Act should be enforced stringently and more occupations should be included in the hazardous category to check child labour in the country, according to the Chairperson of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, Andal Damodaran.

Delivering a talk on `The growing concepts on Child Rights' at the headquarters of the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare here today, Ms. Damodaran said many factors hampered the enforcement of the Child Labour Act in several States.

At present, children have been prohibited from working in only 38 industries. Children employed as domestic help were being treated badly and cases had been filed against those involved following the council's initiative, she said.

Ms. Damodaran suggested that the 93rd Amendment of the Constitution be used to check rampant child labour prevailing in many States as it stipulates that every child in the age group of 6 to 16 years in the country be in school.

The country has a long way to go to fulfil the rights of the child, the chairperson said. The statistics regarding children in the country were incorrect and even statistics regarding sex wise details of children are not available, she said.

The syllabus in the schools should be looked into and vocational training should be provided. The schools should be made child-friendly and the teachers should be dedicated and properly trained. She regretted that those who fail to make it to other professions often take up teaching as a profession.

According to her, providing education up to the 10th standard for all children in the country will go a long way in giving them a better future. Excellent facilities prevail in some schools in the country, but only a minority have access to it.

Ms. Damodaran said more minors girl were being pushed into the sex trade in the country as it is believed that they are comparatively free from AIDS. The pushing of young boys into paedophilia, especially in and around tourist destinations, is a disturbing trend.

"It is turning to be difficult as many parents never bother to reveal it," she added.

Ms. Damodaran said all children should be made aware of their rights. All concerned should take steps to ensure that children hailing from affluent families are made aware of the rights of the child so that they are empathetic to others.

The Chairperson lamented that NGO's were not coming forward to work in difficult areas such as rehabilitating young girls rescued from the sex trade. "More often, you see NGO's interested in running nurseries and taking up other activities," she added.

The Chairperson of the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare, Bindu Mohan, and the general secretary, Sunil C. Kurien, were among those who attended the function.

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