Every day, millions of children in India wake up with nothing to look forward to except hours of back-breaking labour working everywhere from stone quarries to carpet factories to rice mills. Children as young as 5 years-old are kept from school, forced to work 7 days a week for up to 18 hours a day and end up with crippling injuries, respiratory disorders and chronic pain.Because these children are often left illiterate and plagued with health problems, they are - in a cruel twist of fate - less likely to find employment once they reach adulthood. This continued enslavement of children traps generations of Indians in a vicious cycle of slavery, illiteracy and poverty.With the fate of millions of children at stake, it is appalling that the Indian Parliament passed on the chance last December to vote on a bill that would abolish child slavery in their country. The Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill:
1. Prohibits the employment of children up until 14 years of age,
2. Outlines harsher sentences for violators of child labour laws and
3. Provides for monitoring of suspected instances of child slavery.
The newly announced Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, has also, for the first time prohibited 'trafficking in persons' and 'employment of trafficked persons'. This Ordinance:
1. Prohibits trafficking of humans in all forms,
2. Provides for harsh punishments of up to life in prison for child trafficking,
2. Prohibits employment of trafficked children as well as adults in conditions of slavery or forced labour.
For every day that this bill is delayed, millions of children in India will continue to be at risk to be bought and sold to work in unimaginable conditions of sex slavery, bonded labour and domestic servitude.
The Parliament of India will begin the first session of the year in the third week of February. They need to know that any further delay in the passage of this historic law ending the enslavement of children in their country is simply unacceptable. Child rights groups in India and the rest of the world are already calling on government of India to prioritise the Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill but we need your help to build massive public pressure that leaders in India cannot ignore.
Call on the Indian Parliament to immediately pass the Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill and end child slavery in India.