June 15, 2021

Child Labour

Child Labour means employing the child to do the work in the factories and other places. The children are the future of any nation and they should be protected and given the special care. Child is an individual whom has not attained the age of 18 years.[1] Definition of Child is defined in different laws. A child is a person who has not completed the age of fourteen years.[2] The child and adolescent have defined separately also, Child defined as the person who has not completed 14 year. Adolescent defined as the person who has completed his 14 year but not completed his eighteen year.[3]

In today’s era there are millions of children are confined in the child labour due to which they are not able to enjoy their childhood, such children are also deprived from their right of education and health. The children do the work to help their families but the parents forget that their future is more important than the present work. Different laws are made to protect the children from the child labour but still child labour is prevailing.

Definition of Child Labour

Child Labour is defined as “The work that deprives the children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development of the children. Child labour refers to the work that is socially, physically and mentally harmful to the children and also interferes with their schooling by, depriving them of the opportunity to attend school, obliging them to leave the school, or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.[4]

Child labour is a taken participation of the child who is less than 17 years of age in the economic activity and give or not given the child wages or profit. The participation which is taken can be mental or physical or both. The work includes the part time or unpaid work on the farm, family enterprises or any other activity such as the milk production, cultivation for the sale or consumption. This definition is given by the India’s Census in 2001.

Reasons for the Child Labour

There are various reasons due to which child is forced to do the work instead of getting education and to live their childhood. The most of the children are forced to do the work due to various reasons. The main and basic reason is poverty as due to this parent are forced to sent their children to work rather than study, they think that if their children are able to earn than they can get the food and other basic facilities. There are people also who wants that they can hire the children for the work as they can hire them in low wages and also take more work from them.

Even some people kidnap the children for begging and for other reason. There is other reason for the child labour also which are lack of education, weak legal framework, economic uncertainties, lack of awareness, lack of employment etc.

Consequences of Child Labour

The child labour effect the children very much as their childhood is snatched from them, their life is all about the work and exploitation also done with them when they go for the work. The children have the negative impact on then both on the physiological as well as psychological level which includes specific concerns and consequences on mental health. In a study it is found out that 1/3rd of the children who belongs to the developing world are not able to get the education of four years.[5]

The children who are urban Lebanese aged 10- 17 years of age working as a full time in the small industrial shops, their comparison done with the school going children who are not working. So, the in the working student’s majority had the bad physical health, had ear complaints or noticeable skin lesions an also have the social care needs.[6] The Children mental is very less researched in the child labour.[7] But the children mental health is very important and students working in factories and in other also have the impact on their mental health. A study which examined around 200 children working in the handicraft sector have found the respiratory, digestive and other skin conditions with the mental health problems like insomnia, migraines etc.[8]

A cross-sectional study in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, assess the prevalence of mental disorders in 528 child laborers and street workers, and other child workers whose age is between 5 and 15 years. And such children prevalence of mental disorders was as high as 20.1% compared with 12.5% in the other general population.[9]

Laws related to child Labour

There are various laws related to the child Labour which are made to protect the children from the exploitation and from the child labour.

The Indian Constitution contains the provision for the child labour. The provisions are:

· Article 23 which is a fundamental Right prohibits the human trafficking and forced labour.

· Article 24 prohibits the employment of the children in the factories etc. This article states that “ Child below the age of 14 years shall not be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.

With these articles the constitution also contains the certain provisions which allow the state to make the special provision for the children for their benefits.

The Acts which are made for the protection of the children are:

Ø Plantation Labour Act, 1951

Ø The Apprentices Act, 1961

Ø The Beedi Cigar Workers (Condition of Employment) Act, 1966

Ø The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986

Ø The Children (Pleading of Labour) Act, 1933

Ø The Factories Act, 1948

Ø The juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act, 2000

Ø The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958

Ø The Mines Act, 1952

Ø The minimum Wages Act, 1948

Ø The Motor Transport Workers Act,1961

Ø The Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education, 2009

Ø The Schools and Establishments Act,1961

These are the act which came for the protection of the children time to time all the acts contains the provisions for the benefit of the children. There are international organisations also who are working for the child labours also conventions are there to protect the children.

Role of Government and Judiciary

The different government takes steps to control the Child Labour. Even the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act passed by the government to make the child labour illegal and for the protection of the child. Various state makes the Child labour Welfare funds and also made the labour cells so that the child labour issue can be reported in these cells.

The Central government introduced the National Child Labour Projects for providing the children informal education and for developing the pre vocational skills in the children. The Government also launched the Sarve Shiksha Abhiyan to give education to the poor and employed children in states. Women and Children Ministry also providing the education and training to the children. Government also established the Anganwadi for the children also midday meal program established in the schools. So, government has taken various steps for the benefits of the children.

The Indian Judiciary also has given the different guidelines time to time regarding the children working in the industries for their betterment. The directions are issued by the Supreme court in context of the exploitation and employment of the children in the village of Sivakasi, it prohibits the employment of the children below 14 years and also direct to make arrangement for giving themeducation and provide the employment to parents or other adults of the family.[10]


Child labour is the very serious issue after taking the various steps to protect the children by the government and other children are not safe. The main reason is the poverty due to which parents are not ready to understand, they always thought that if their child will go to work than they get the helping hand and will able to get the food of two times. There is need to take different steps for the protection of the child as although there are different laws but still child exploitation is happening.

There is need for proper implementation of the laws and also awareness should be given so that more and more people can get aware that it is very necessary to provide the children education. And child labour can also be controlled if people are aware and there are proper implementation laws regarding it.

[1] Defined in United Nations Convention on the Rights of child, 1989.

[2] Defined in The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, also in The Motor Transport Workers Act 1961 , also see The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966.

[3] Separate definition given in The Plantation Labour Act, 1951

[4] “What is Child Labour”, International Labour Organisation, 2012.

[5] International Labour Organisation Combating Child Labour through Education,2003, Geneva, Switzerland.

[6] Nuwayhid I A, Usta J, Makarem M, Khudr A, El-Zein A; Health of children working in small urban industrial shops. Occup Environ Med. 2005

[7] Khan H, Hameed A, Afridi AK. Study on child labour in automobile workshops of Peshawar, Pakistan. East Mediterr Health J. 2007

[8] Laraqui CH, Caubet A, Laraqui O, Belamallem I, Harourate K, Curtes JP, et al. Child labour in the artisan sector of Morocco: Determinants and health effects, Sante Publique; 2000.

[9] Fekadu D, Alem A, Hägglöf B. The prevalence of mental health problems in Ethiopian child labourers. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2006

[10] See MC Mehta V State of Tamil Nadu and others (1996) 6 SCC 756

Author Details: Shreya Agarwal is a student at Banasthali Vidyapith.

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