Every year as we come together to celebrate World Day Against Child Labour, my faith in each one of you strengthens, that one day you all will play a leading role in restoring safety, liberty, dignity and education for all children of the world. And that day starts today.
With 168 million children still in child labour, all business supply chains run the risk that child labour may be present. We are party to the menace of child labour if we keep on buying products made by children. Most brands advertise their products as "not tested on animals" but not many disclose, child labour in their supply chains. You will rarely see brands marketing their products as "Child Labour Free" because we are okay with child labour. We condemn and boycott products tested on animals then why not speak up against products made by children. They too are human beings. And let me remind you, every hour a son, a daughter is being sold like animals; probably cheaper. This has to stop!
It is still not too late to change this harsh reality for millions of children trapped to work for businesses, sacrificing their desire to be educated. Like you, many people took a stand to boycott items made by child labourers in the year 2000 and beyond, when there were 246 million children engaged in labour, and decided to do their bit. It is time that you do your bit. On this mass day of pledging, I urge you to instil within you the value of being a responsible consumer and pledge to buy items that are #notmadebychildren.
Let's hold hand of every child left-behind and take them from exploitation to education.
(on behalf of our children)
ENDING CHILD LABOUR IN COCOA-GROWING IS EVERYONE'S BUSINESS
The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) has released its 2015 Annual Report, highlighting the organisations' key achievements for last year and emphasising that successful approaches to tackling child labour in cocoa growing still need to be taken to scale through collaborative action. The report was launched on World Day against Child Labour, this year held under the theme "End child labour in supply chains - It's everyone's business!"
In 2015 ICI worked in 157 cocoa-growing communities, 93 of these in Côte d’Ivoire and 64 in Ghana. A total of 313,273 people benefited from community development and over 24,470 farmers’ households were reached through ICI's innovative child labour monitoring and remediation system (CLMRS), integrated in the cocoa supply-chain.
As a direct result of ICI's activities, which included construction of classrooms, primary health centres, teachers’ accommodations, and organising income-generating activities for vulnerable households, 6,185 children were newly enrolled in school in 2015, compared to 2014, in the 157 ICI-assisted communities.
The launch of ICI's Annual Report also comes on the heels of Chocovision 2016, a strategic conference bringing together senior international business and opinion leaders in the cocoa, chocolate and retail industries, and two weeks after the third World Cocoa Conference in the Dominican Republic. At both events, ICI participated in panel discussions on child labour and social sustainability, profiling its work in the cocoa supply-chain and highlighting the progress made, the potential identified and the challenges anticipated.
Celebrated each year on 12 June, the World Day against Child Labour is observed by the International Labour Organization, other UN bodies, governments, trade unions and civil society to bring attention to the global issue of child labour, and the action needed to eliminate it. This year’s theme focuses on supply chains – in agriculture and fishing, manufacturing and mining, services and construction – which, according to the ILO, contain many of the 168 million children still in child labour, globally, today.
India has come under criticism after its parliament approved several controversial amendments to the country's child labour bill.
The new bill prohibits children under the age of 14 from working - but makes an exception for "family businesses", including extended family.
It also reduces the number of jobs 15-18 year olds are banned from doing.
The government says the law will help poor families earn a living and give children a chance to acquire skills.
However, the UN children's agency UNICEF and Indian Nobel prize winner Kailash Satyarthi are among those to have criticised the bill.
Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told parliament that the exemptions would allow the government to "practically implement" the act.
"We have enabled many safeguards in the new bill," he said.
Under current legislation, children younger than 14 are only prohibited from working in jobs that are defined as "hazardous".
The Indian government proposes younger children be allowed to work
The new bill, which is awaiting assent from President Pranab Mukherjee, will expand the ban on child labour to all sectors and increase penalties for those employing children.
But activists say that the exemption that allows children to work for family businesses after school hours and during holidays clears the way for children to be employed in industries like diamond cutting, scavenging, brick kilns, slaughterhouses or as domestic help.
"Under the new Child Labour Act, some forms of child labour may become invisible and the most vulnerable and marginalized children may end up with irregular school attendance, lower levels of learning and could be forced to drop out of school," UNICEF India's Chief of Education Euphrates Gobina said in a statement.
The agency estimates that there are approximately 10.2 million children working in India.
Indian Nobel peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi said the bill was a "missed opportunity" for India.
"The definition of family and family enterprises is flawed. This Bill uses Indian family values to justify economic exploitation of children. It is misleading the society by blurring the lines between learning in a family and working in a family enterprise," he said in a statement, adding that the government had failed its children once again.
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Statement by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi on the passage of the Amendment Bill
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016 is a missed opportunity.
The definition of family and family enterprises is flawed. This Bill uses Indian family values to justify economic exploitation of children. It is misleading society by blurring the lines between learning in a family and working in a family enterprise.
The Bill reinforces the status quo in society by hindering socio-economic mobility of the marginalized and furthers the rigid norms of social hierarchy.
Children of any age, under the guise of being employed in family enterprises, can now legally work in brick kilns, slaughterhouses, beedi making, glass furnaces and other hazardous labour.
BBA undertakes massive rescue operation in Ranchi area; rescue 49 children in a single day
June 23, 2016: Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) conducted a rescue operation with the Jharkhand Child Labour Commission officials, rescuing 49 children from various locations in Ranchi, Jharkhand on Thursday, June 23, 2016.
The children in the age group of eight to 17, were working in motor garages, steel work units and roadside restaurants in Khadgarha, Dangratoli Chowk, Kantatoli Chowk and Bahu bazaar. Almost 15 of them had been trafficked from neighbouring states such as West Bengal, Bihar and neighbouring districts of Ranchi, and brought to work in Ranchi. Most of them were working in oppressive situations with little or no payment for their labour.
BBA, founded by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, had identified large-scale child labour presence in and around Ranchi prior to the rescue operation. “We estimate through our surveys that almost 4 to 5,000 children are working in Ranchi, on the connecting highways and around Ranchi,” said Rakesh Senger, director Victim Assistance, BBA, who led the raid in Ranchi. “We had raised this issue with the state enforcement agencies in the past but did not get help. We commend Jharkhand Child Labour Commission chairperson Smt. Shanti Kindo for paying attention to the problem and for accompanying and aiding our activists in the rescue operation on Thursday,” he added.
7 trafficked children rescued from steel logo-making unit; Dell and HP logos found
June 6, 2016: Can you imagine an eight-year-old working for 15 hours a day, 7-days a week, making steel logos using a knife, acid and kerosene oil with his bare hands?
This was the situation of just one of the 17 boys Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) rescued in a raid on 6 June from the densely populated area of Jaffrabad area in North-East Delhi. The children were making seemingly original steel logos of Multinational companies like Dell and HP. Paid 20 to 60 Rs a week, the children were slaves of our rapidly industrialising world.
The activists executed an extensive day-long raid operation to rescue children aged between eight and 15. They were found working in utter squalor with sharp metal cases, acid and kerosene oil. At the time of raid, the children were making the steel logos and logos of garment brands and buttons for denims. The small room where they lived, worked, ate and slept was on the top floor of a four-floor building and had no ventilation. It stank of kerosene and hot acid, with which the young boys cut the sharp logos using no gloves or protective gear.
A few of them had been working in the unit since two years, while others were only a few months old. It must be noted that almost all the children had been trafficked from the Araria district of Bihar, which due to proximity to the borders of Nepal and Bangladesh is a hub of trafficking. A few other children were from villages in Nepal, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Some of the children were aware about their parents having received some advance amount from the trafficker in lieu of them, while others were unaware.
The raid and rescue operation was extremely challenging because of the intervention of the local crowd numbering to almost a 100, who refused to let the children be taken away, all the while hampering the proceedings of BBA activists and heckling them. The area is notorious for illegal activities and lawlessness. It was found out that even the area police and local officials do not often venture out into the locality. The Shahdara SDM who accompanied BBA activists, along with a few policemen, 2 labour officers and Delhi Civil Defence Volunteers helped aide the rescue.
The children were produced before the area Child Welfare Committee. As per its order, they have been sent to BBA’s short-term rehabilitation home Mukti Ashram in Burari, New Delhi - where they will be given medical, physiological and psychological support.
The BBA team will facilitate in receipt of their back wages and release certificates, along with completion of other legal formalities. FIRs will be lodged against the owners under relevant sections of the law.
Before I do so, I wanted to check with you that it is still alright for you to talk to us about your Nobel Prize Winning friend on Sunday May 15th. followed by a shared lunch.
THIS MONTH'S ANNIVERSARIES
August 22, 1839:Death of Benjamin Lundy
August 23:International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition
August 24, 1759:Birth of William Wilberforce
Many of these children were rescued in commando style-raids which the Society funds.
Many of our supporters ask us why these raids are necessary.
Early direct intervention in the form of unarmed commando-style raids can rescue children from further abuse and exploitation.A commando-style raid is the fastest and most efficient way to rescue them, as children who are being exploited or abused cannot wait indefinitely.
These operations must, however, be handled in a professional manner and with the utmost care.
Most parents have no idea where their children are.Many of them approach our partners, the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, asking them to help them find their children.
A raid and rescue operation starts with trying to find the child, collecting intelligence on his or her whereabouts.Agents of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan launch a detailed investigation and collect intelligence from their sources, especially in those States such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh where child labor is endemic.
As soon as a child is located, this intelligence is passed on to the parents.
THE SOCIETY IN ACTION
The Society continues to fund commando-style raids that rescue children in northern India, as well as providing some funding for the Bal Ashram center, run by our partners, the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which is a transit rehabilitation center for rescued children.The Society has provided further funding for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
THIS IS THE SOCIETY IN ACTION
The Society wishes once again to thank all our members and supporters for their support.In this issue we profile some of the children you have helped to rescue or support.
The raid is then carefully planned.The local administration is informed about the impending raid to ensure police protection, if needed, during the operation.
However, the precise location and exact date of the raid has to be kept secret from the authorities, the police and local politicians.This is because many local politicians and administrators are corrupt and are bribed by the owners.
This was the reason why one of the raids in late 2011 was unsuccessful.Agents had procured 500 children, either by kidnapping or by false promises to their parents.The children were destined for sweatshops in Mumbai (it used to be called Bombay), a major city in India.The agents were taking the children to Mumbai by train.The police were ready and waiting to seize them and rescue the children when the train arrived at Mumbai train station.News of the impeding raid was leaked to the agents — which was very easy as they had cell phones.The agents disembarked with the children en route before the train arrived at its destination.
A raid and rescue operation, of course, involves considerable personal risk for the rescuers.
Although these commando-style raids are unarmed, the wicked men who beat and abuse these children usually employ armed thugs and goons.An article on page 5 of this issue describes such an attack in March 2011 and an apparent attempt to kill Kailash Satyarthi.
I remember Rama Kant Rai showing me the wounds that he had received from owners’ thugs while carrying out raids.Others have been dragged in chains behind cars and threats made against their families.Some owners have even attempted to murder rescuers.Several attempts were made to murder my friend and colleague, Kailash Satyarthi, who was chairman of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan and spearheads the effort to free children from the various forms of child slavery, bonded child labor and child pawnage, thus directly undermining their profits.
Raid and rescue is not an end in itself.Rehabilitation, social reintegration and restoring them to their parents complete every rescue.Rescue without effective rehabilitation and repatriation is futile, as there is a real risk that a rescued child will once again fall back into the cycle of exploitation.
After children are rescued, their official release certificates must be secured from the local administration.These release certificates help them obtain their statutory rehabilitation package.This can take a long time, and obtaining these release certificates and rehabilitation packages from government bureaucracies places an enormous pressure on the Bachpan Bachao Andolan’s resources.
The freed children are currently staying in the transit rehabilitation center of Bal Ashram (Jaipur), Rajasthan, before being restored to their parents.Rehabilitation centers like Mukti Ashram and Bal Ashram allow rescued children to recover before being restored to their parents.Bal Ashram in Rajasthan is a rehabilitation center where rescued children are given basic education and vocational training, along with special care and attention to their individual development.They also participate in sporting activities.Children aged 13 and over are also provided with vocational training in a trade of their choice (such as carpentry, tailoring, welding, motor winding, screen printing, painting, organic farming and kitchen gardening).The vocation is chosen keeping in mind their interest in a particular trade and their earning prospects in the local area when they finish.
Who carries out these commando-style raids?
Our partners, the Bachpan Bachao Andolan.They are based in New Delhi, India.Your support helps fund these raids.
The government has laws against these practices, but they are often not enforced.Some labor inspectors who were interviewed by the BBC World Service explained that they will not investigate unless they receive a direction from their superior or from a Supreme Court judge or from an executive magistrate.It is therefore often rather futile forwarding complaints to the Labour Department and waiting for it to act.
RAID ON SHOE STITCHING AND WOOD CUTTING FACTORIES
On November 30, 2011, 15 children were rescued from shoe and wood cutting factories in Nangloi in the North West district of Delhi.
Fourteen boys were rescued from the shoe factories where they worked stitching uppers to shoes, while one boy was rescued from the wood cutting factory.
They were aged 10 to 14 years.
They had to work for 12 to 14 hours a day in extremely unhealthy conditions.Most were not paid.
Most of the rescued children were from Bihar.
Three factories were closed and an owner was arrested.
The raid was led by a sub divisional magistrate, accompanied by police, the Labour Department and Bachpan Bachao Andolan activists.The raid was conducted as a result of intelligence provided by our partners, the Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
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