India fight against child slavery

If you can rely on Indian statistics, 90% of households with household employees prefer maids from 12 to 15 years. Last Tuesday, however, entered into force a law that prohibits these tasks to minors of 14 years, which may not work in the hundreds of thousands of street stalls of food (dhobas), tea houses, restaurants and hotels that are employed, according to the NGOs, some 20 million minor Indians. Many work more than 12 hours a day for an average of ten euro salary per month.

The Government, however, argues that the new law affects only 185,000 employees children’s home – mostly girls – and 70,000 employees of street stalls and catering – mostly children-. “Actual numbers are very difficult to know because it’s children hidden behind the doors of a House,” says Carlotta Barcaro, responsible for one of Unicef programmes against child labour.

Occasionally, the police made a RAID and freeing hundreds of slaves

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Slavery is abolished in India, but only on paper. In reality, there are millions of children working in slave conditions after having been delivered to employers by their parents, who are those who agreed and in many cases receive the salary. In 1986, the Government issued the first Ordinance against child labour in seven sectors and trades known as ‘dangerous’, to which have been added in recent years other 63, ranging from mining to construction, the pyrotechnic industry and carpet weaving.

Occasionally, the police made a RAID and “frees” some hundreds of slaves, who after a few days again in 90% of cases the same work, said the forum for child workers and street, which brings together 35 NGOs.“The law only forbids, does not offer solutions to the problems. That is not the way to end the exploitation and child slavery”, says Zaved Nafis Rahman, Assistant social Butterflies, an NGO dedicated to the support of children in india’s capital.

UNICEF, however, which has worked closely with the Government of Manmohan Singh for the elaboration of the approved standard on July 10, with a period of three months for its entry into force, argues that “the law is a step in the right direction” and that is a step forward towards the protection of the rights of the child. For Unicef, the law is not the end of the road, but rather the principle, which should rest on a comprehensive system, including from compulsory education to support the families of child workers, so that they can leave his job without damaging the family’s meager finances.

“Only in New Delhi there are more than 400,000 child workers, of which 50,000 live in the street”, says Zaved, 27-year-old and with five experience in child care. Zaved, which stigmatizes the law of “cosmetic”, ensures that if it has any effect will be negative because the Government cannot ask employers that they fired the children without preparing a place to accommodate them and educate them. “Many will fall into prostitution and the majority will be more exposed than before to abuse because now her work is illegal,” it stresses. The new law imposes on employers sanctions from 10,000 to 20,000 rupees (one euro has 56 rupees) and prison terms of one to two years.

The sex industry exploits hundreds of thousands of Indian children and is where major abuses and violence occur. They are authentic “sex slaves” exposed to a myriad of diseases and death, while nobody claims their tiny bodies. Many of the children from the brothels of big cities have been previously sold by their wretched parents the mafias of sex, which also practice the abduction and rape to make sure new workers.

The figures of the exploitation of children in India are overwhelming.Including agriculture, where almost all of the 800 million farmers employed at least full-time part-time and unpaid to their children, there are more than 100 million children engaged in adult jobs. Of these about 20% work in conditions of slavery in the entire range of the economy, starting with the domestic service.

The problem is the endemic poverty of a large part of the population, which is still benefiting from the enormous economic boom experienced by India in the last 15 years. According to Satyavir Singh, 32-year-old with experience in child-support 10 “boom, by contrast, has brought higher employment of children in some of the prohibited dangerous sectors more than one decade ago, as the construction”.

Construction fever has taken over India, yet very little machinery is used and the weight of the activity lies with workers who load, unload, transport and hand climb very heavy material. In addition, in good part of the work without protection and children are the first victims of the accident.

In what Government and NGOs are fully agree is on increasing callsChildline (children phone). These lines phone, which operate 24 hours, have become the salvation of many children who, directly or through a neighbor who listens to shock or abuses, denounce the abusers or violators, allowing his rescue and his admission to a reception centre.

Schools in the street and money in the Bank

Sameer is 13 years old and two that went from his home in the State of Jharkhand, one of India’s poorest, to try their luck in New Delhi. He spent a year in a printing press for 1,000 rupees a month (18 euros). Now works only in the afternoon for 40 rupees and morning attends classes that gives the NGO Butterflies in a park.

In the shade of a tree and surrounded by trash, goats and indigent, the master grab Ali Chaudhry AC game with writing, sport, and arithmetic. It has 70 students aged 9 to 15, though it is rare the day attending more than 20. “All work in factories, in tea houses or collecting between the garbage that can be sold. Many sniffed glue and stay asleep or not wanting to nothing,”said Chaudhry.

An infinite sadness is reflected in the large eyes of Sameer, confessing that life in the big city is “more difficult” than at home, where he does not return for fear that his father hit by have escaped. The boy sleeps only in the streets of the area.

He came, tells his master, without knowing a single letter and in less than a year has passed the basic skills and prepares to examine in April 3rd primary school. At this time, Sameer has managed to save 120 rupees, which has delivered to the master so that you store them in the infant Bank opened by Butterflies to support the finances of child workers. His dream is to learn English, to have a good job. Your employer not to spank, but insults him.

These schools outdoor education programme includes civic education, in a way that children learn that they have rights. Sameer already knows that a new law prohibits work to children of their age as servants or in the hospitality industry. “With this law we will die of hunger,” he says.

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