Indian priest compares India's child labour to Africa slave trade

Speaking on World Day Against Child Labour yesterday, an Indian priest, Fr Jose Vattakkuzhy, claims that India's economic progress is made possible by conveniently ignoring the social malady of child labour.

According to Fr Vattakkuzhy, while India has always committed itself against child labour, the reality is that there are well over 100 million children working on "the altars of drudgery."

"India takes the first place in this most ignoble trade second only to the slave trade to Americas. We have been discussing this over decades but despite our successful symposiums and seminars, an effective remedy remains elusive," he said.

"Studies conducted into the reasons of child labour suggest poverty as the first villain. Indeed, poverty plays an undeniable part but not the only one. When the family is in need of extra income, they often find children as a source by way of labour."

Fr Vattakkuzhy says that case studies reveal that many children are victims of family separation and problems.

"When a young girl of 12 years was rescued by 'Child Line' workers from bonded labour, it was learnt that this girl was virtually sold by her own father for a sum equivalent to $A15, which he then spent on alcohol," he said.

"These children are the future of our nation and as such they should be provided with nutrition, education, health and child rights. Let us remind ourselves that we are not talking about a particular child or family but the very future of our society."

"We can give these children a better life," Fr Vattakkuzhy concluded.

SOURCEChild Labour: A Social Malady (Indian Catholic, 10/6/2006)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The end of child labour: Together we can do it (International Labor Organisation, 12/6/2006)

Jeeva Jyothi Indian NGO in Chennai

Child labour can be curbed in 10 years (Hindustan Times, 13/6/2006)

13 Jun 2006