Child labour will go by 2008, says govt

Child labour will go by 2008, says govt

CM assures speedy approval and funds for the programme

Parikshit Joshi

The state government’s administrative college, YASHADA (Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration), has chalked out a detailed action programme to eradicate the practice of child labour.

The programme, involving altogether 25 departments including those of labour, education, police, women and child welfare, health and revenue, has set a deadline of 2008 for eradicating the practice of child labour.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has assured an early approval for the programme as well as funds needed for its implementation.

While labour commissioners and district collectors will be working in their respective jurisdictions to root out child labour, a co-ordination committee headed by state’s chief secretary will oversee the programme’s implementation and evaluation at the state level.

Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil had set a deadline of August 15, 2006 to do away with the practice in Mumbai. But sources in the labour commissioner’s office said it would not be possible to meet the deadline.

They said the labour commissioner’s office along with the BMC, police and NGOs had undertaken a drive against child labour in the city. Altogether 38 raids were conducted at units where child labourers were working and 1,541 children were rescued.

However, they agreed that the number of children employed in zari, jewellery and leather units is still high. “We need to take a systematic campaign besides creating awareness among the people,” they said.

VITAL STATS

• According to the 2001 census, the number of child labourers in Maharashtra was 7.06 lakh. Previously, it was 10.68 lakh.

• The state has 6.07 per cent of the total number of child labourers in the country.

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In Nagpur, they are children of a lesser god no more

Nagpur, July 30 (IANS) As Pinki and Shweta, children of sex-workers, conduct health check-up camps and run errands in the hostel they live in, no dark secret from the past dares to cast a shadow on their future.
Perhaps the only facility of its kind in India, Nagpur’s Vimlashram is home to some 40 children of commercial sex workers operating in the city’s red-light area.
The children of Vimlashram were picked up from the so-called ‘alleys of sin’ – the red-light area of Nagpur, curiously called Ganga Jamuna, about 860 km east of Mumbai.
Today they are getting an education and employment. Pinki and Shweta are studying in a social work college in the city. Another girl here is waiting for her polytechnic diploma and a boy here is eyeing a degree in commerce.
This service for the hapless children started in the early 1980s as an offshoot of a three-pronged effort to save the sex workers from losing their only possible means of survival, end the pernicious brothel system in which minor girls are forced into prostitution and ensure that the activities in the red light area do not cause any nuisance to the mainstream society around it.
The ‘save-the-prostitutes’ mission was initiated by former MP Jambuvantrao Dhote as an answer to the ‘Ganga-Jamuna hatao’ agitation (close down the red light area) launched by the citizens of the adjoining neighbourhood.
On Dhote’s entreaty, Ram Ingole and Krishnakumar Kusum then studied the problems of prostitutes, the prospect of their rehabilitation into mainstream society by providing them alternative means of livelihood and ways to end the trafficking of women.
‘By setting up ‘Amrapali Sangathan’, an organisation of sex workers and their friends, we succeeded in ending the exploitative brothel system and keeping pimps at bay for eight years during which not a single prostitute was allowed to enter the red light area,’ Ingole told IANS.
However, efforts to rehabilitate a few willing sex workers by finding some dignified modes of self-employment for them failed except in a couple of cases.
With Ingole concentrating on saving the children of prostitutes from the scourge of the oldest profession, the brothel system managed to return to the red light area.
Vimlashram, set up initially in a rented accommodation with the help of a few friends, has now been shifted to a three-storey building that the children can call their own, thanks to liberal financial support of the Rotary Club, Sai Seva Samiti and some other social organisations and individual donors like former MP Datta Meghe.
Arti, a final year student of Datta Meghe’s Polytechnic in Nagpur and one of the senior-most inmates of Vimlashram, looks after the administration side.
The younger ones, studying in different stages of school down to nursery level, follow in the footsteps of their seniors – learning to keep themselves clean and tidy, helping the needy and doing their homework.
‘The children must become sensitive to the miseries of the less fortunate and be helpful to them,’ says Ingole.
In order to inculcate the spirit of social service in them, Ingole involves them in service projects for slum and street-children, lepers and beggars.
While the younger children of Vimlashram are growing up merrily, the senior ones are focused on laying down the foundation of Ingole’s ambitious project of setting up a residential school for the children of quarry workers in nearby Panchgaon.
Ingole first started a weekend school for the children who would hang around in utter neglect near the quarries as their parents worked inside them. With quarry workers responding slowly but positively, he converted it into a daily school.
‘But I soon realised that our effort was largely wasted as the quarry workers hailing from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa go to their native place thrice a year causing many long breaks in their children’s schooling. A residential school would be a solution to this problem,’ he reasons.
© 2006 Indo-Asian News Service
Nagpur, July 30 (IANS) As Pinki and Shweta, children of sex-workers, conduct health check-up camps and run errands in the hostel they live in, no dark secret from the past dares to cast a shadow on their future.
Perhaps the only facility of its kind in India, Nagpur’s Vimlashram is home to some 40 children of commercial sex workers operating in the city’s red-light area.
The children of Vimlashram were picked up from the so-called ‘alleys of sin’ – the red-light area of Nagpur, curiously called Ganga Jamuna, about 860 km east of Mumbai.
Today they are getting an education and employment. Pinki and Shweta are studying in a social work college in the city. Another girl here is waiting for her polytechnic diploma and a boy here is eyeing a degree in commerce.
This service for the hapless children started in the early 1980s as an offshoot of a three-pronged effort to save the sex workers from losing their only possible means of survival, end the pernicious brothel system in which minor girls are forced into prostitution and ensure that the activities in the red light area do not cause any nuisance to the mainstream society around it.
The ‘save-the-prostitutes’ mission was initiated by former MP Jambuvantrao Dhote as an answer to the ‘Ganga-Jamuna hatao’ agitation (close down the red light area) launched by the citizens of the adjoining neighbourhood.
On Dhote’s entreaty, Ram Ingole and Krishnakumar Kusum then studied the problems of prostitutes, the prospect of their rehabilitation into mainstream society by providing them alternative means of livelihood and ways to end the trafficking of women.
‘By setting up ‘Amrapali Sangathan’, an organisation of sex workers and their friends, we succeeded in ending the exploitative brothel system and keeping pimps at bay for eight years during which not a single prostitute was allowed to enter the red light area,’ Ingole told IANS.
However, efforts to rehabilitate a few willing sex workers by finding some dignified modes of self-employment for them failed except in a couple of cases.
With Ingole concentrating on saving the children of prostitutes from the scourge of the oldest profession, the brothel system managed to return to the red light area.
Vimlashram, set up initially in a rented accommodation with the help of a few friends, has now been shifted to a three-storey building that the children can call their own, thanks to liberal financial support of the Rotary Club, Sai Seva Samiti and some other social organisations and individual donors like former MP Datta Meghe.
Arti, a final year student of Datta Meghe’s Polytechnic in Nagpur and one of the senior-most inmates of Vimlashram, looks after the administration side.
The younger ones, studying in different stages of school down to nursery level, follow in the footsteps of their seniors – learning to keep themselves clean and tidy, helping the needy and doing their homework.
‘The children must become sensitive to the miseries of the less fortunate and be helpful to them,’ says Ingole.
In order to inculcate the spirit of social service in them, Ingole involves them in service projects for slum and street-children, lepers and beggars.
While the younger children of Vimlashram are growing up merrily, the senior ones are focused on laying down the foundation of Ingole’s ambitious project of setting up a residential school for the children of quarry workers in nearby Panchgaon.
Ingole first started a weekend school for the children who would hang around in utter neglect near the quarries as their parents worked inside them. With quarry workers responding slowly but positively, he converted it into a daily school.
‘But I soon realised that our effort was largely wasted as the quarry workers hailing from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa go to their native place thrice a year causing many long breaks in their children’s schooling. A residential school would be a solution to this problem,’ he reasons.
© 2006 Indo-Asian News Service

Help on way for abused maids

Help on way for abused maids
By EUNICE del ROSARIO

A REPORT on the mistreatment of housemaids in Bahrain is to be released by a human rights watchdog early next year, it was revealed yesterday.It will include statistics on the number of rape, sexual harassment, physical and psychological abuse cases among others.
The yearlong study, which is currently in progress, is already bringing to light some disturbing realities, said Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) society regional and international relations director Faisal Fulad.The society hopes that the report would further encourage the inclusion of housemaids into the labour law in Bahrain.There is an estimated 40,000 maids in Bahrain, the majority are from India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia.
“The number of abuse cases filed are too many to count – but this is what we hope to find out, exactly how rampant abuse of maids is in Bahrain because this has to stop,” said Mr Fulad.
He said that the compilation of information in Bahrain followed the 93-page report filed by the US-based Women’s Rights Division of the Human Rights Watch, which revealed that maids face a wide range of grave abuses and labour exploitation in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
These include physical and sexual abuse, forced confinement, non-payment of wages, denial of food and health care and excessive working hours with no rest days.
“The report released in the US brought up several issues, which also mentioned the amount of abuse maids go through in Middle Eastern countries,” said Mr Fulad.
“Abuse happens all the time here and the BHRWS feels that the Bahrain government, particularly the Labour Ministry, needs to focus on several issues, the most important of which is that maids must be included in the labour law.
“It is also very important to have a law in Bahrain that puts a stop to human trafficking.
“Recruitment agencies must also be monitored by the Labour Ministry.”
Mr Fulad said that many maids complain about the manpower agencies that brought them here.
“Many of these maids come here to try to earn a good living for their families,” he said.
“They come here with the hope that they can earn and save money.
“But many of them are fooled by their agencies, which tell them one thing when they are in their countries, but upon arrival in Bahrain tell them another.
“Many of them think they are coming to work in Bahrain as nurses or teachers, but end up working as maids.”
Despite these ongoing issues, Mr Fulad said that the BHRWS was aware of the efforts exerted by the Labour Ministry.
“We know the ministry is doing everything to try to minimise the number of abuse cases in Bahrain and we always get cooperation from them.
“But still there is a definite weakness in this area and frankly it is worrying because it is not giving Bahrain a good name abroad.
“There must come a time here when housemaids are guaranteed the ability to work with dignity and freedom from violence.
“They are workers that need protecting too.”
In the study by the Women’s Rights Division of the Human Rights Watch, it stated that the number of women migrants has increased significantly over the last 30 years.
They now reportedly comprise approximately half of the estimated 200 million migrants worldwide.
The ‘feminisation’ of labour migration is particularly pronounced in the Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, where national-level estimates include that women comprise 60 to 75 per cent of legal migrants, many of whom are employed as maids in the Middle East and other parts of Asia.

Centre, Delhi, Bihar Govts. to meet on child labour

Centre, Delhi, Bihar Govts. to meet on child labour

New Delhi, July 29 (PTI): With the maximum number of child workers in the national capital coming from Bihar, officials from the Centre and the two state governments would soon meet to chalk out a rehabilitation programme for the children.

Giving the information while inaugurating a Transitional Education Centre for working children here, Delhi Labour Minister, Mangatram Singhal, said the Union Ministry of Labour would organise the meeting in the Patna.

“The Government of India and state governments of Delhi and Bihar will draw a comprehensive programme for the rehabilitation of children who are compelled to work because of economic compulsions,” Singhal said.

The Minister said Delhi Government wanted to make the capital a “no entry” zone for child labour and warned that strict prosecution measures would be initiated against those found employing children.

“On the other hand, the government will initiate steps to provide rehabilitation, of which education will be the core aspect, to such children who are compelled to work due to their economic misfortune,” Singhal said.

The transitional education centre for children withdrawn from work, opened in Jahangirpuri area of the city, will be run by the NGO Kiran Deep Society for Women and Child Rights.

The Delhi Shops and Establishment Act, 1954 prohibits employment of children who have not completed their 12 years of age. The Factories Act, 1948 prohibits employment of children who are not yet 14-years-old.

Domestic labour: Reddy promises action

Domestic labour: Reddy promises action
——————————————————————————–

::EXCLUSIVE::

Tejeswi Pratima

Watch story

Saturday, July 29, 2006 (Mantada):

Following NDTV’s report on how children as young as six were being bought as domestic help for Rs 7000 a year, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister has promised immediate action.

But the labour minister says one has to tackle the problem from the roots.

Chief Minister Rajasekhara Reddy saw the NDTV story and promised the practice would stop immediately.

“I have already instructed our officers to get the matter verified and if it is true, I will take every needful action to see that it is stopped. Child labour is something that every one of us has to do to stop.

“They have to be given education, it is their constitutional right. It is their birthright, nobody can snatch it away,” said Reddy.

The responsibility to initiate action rests on the state’s labour minister G Vinod. He will have to start from scratch as his ministry has no statistics on how many children are employed in labour or more specifically, domestic labour.

“The laws in the country at the moment are not made out to look at domestic child labour. We are certainly going to see how we can regulate domestic child labour because we are looking at how it can addressed properly,” said G Vinod, Labour Minister, AP.

NDTV has been getting reactions from various people on their shock at the agonising story of the innocent children of Mantada. But it is not a story restricted to Mantada alone.

Thousands of innocent lives are victims to an urban society that puts its necessity ahead of someone else’s childhood.

Auction market

Mantada village is virtually an auction market where children can be hired off the road to work as domestic labour.

Twelve-year-old Durga worked as domestic help at a home in Hyderabad for one year to earn Rs 7000 rupees but now she is back home waiting to take up her next assignment.

In the meanwhile, she is learning to cook because that will fetch her more salary.

“If children stay back in the village, they will get spoilt and that’s the reason we are sending them to work in houses. They will have better health, facilities and also earn money in the process,” said Suramma, Durga’s mother.

Durga knows she cannot hope to go to school like the children at the home where she worked.

Her parents are landless agricultural labour and there are four mouths to feed.

“In the house that I used to previously work in, had children of my age. Everyday they would prepare to go to school, I also felt like studying,” said Durga.

Mantada village, which is 40 km from Vijayawada, is almost like the child domestic labour capital of the country.

Supply of children for domestic labour is a well-entrenched and organised trade here.

Virtually every family sends out a child to work in faraway homes not just in Andhra Pradesh but even Delhi and Kolkata.

Idly Appana, who runs a Tiffin centre, is one of the 20 brokers in Mantada.

“For every placement I get thousand rupees and each time the salary increases I charge an extra hundred. If the placement is good sometimes I even get paid two thousand rupees or more,” said Appana.

Appana says every year, at least 200 children are hired from Mantada and the contracts are usually for an year.

Contract labours

Locals tell NDTV that there is an option of renewing the contract every year on June 1.

A seven-year-old girl will get Rs 4000 while a 14-year-old who can also cook, will cost Rs 15,000. Half of that amount has to be paid as advance to the parents.

Girls are preferred over boys because they are presumably better at domestic work and also more submissive.

“It seems that they are being sold away like cattle and people from all over the country come to pick the best, the most healthy person and again bargain for rates and conditions of work and take them away and go.

“It is, I think, quiet appalling, shocking and outrageous that in a civilised world like today that we are tolerating children who are trafficked like this. It is as good or as bad as flesh trade,” said Shanta Sinha, Child Rights activist.

Mantada has only been gaining in notoriety over the last two decades as a place from where children can be just bought off the road to work as domestic labour.

Preventing trafficking of women

Preventing trafficking of womenBy Rita BhowmickFri, 28 Jul 2006, 09:11:00

Women and child trafficking is not only for prostitution but also for pornography which wasn’t included in the SAARC Convention, according to the theme presenter Prof. Ishrat Shamim, President, Centre for Women and Children Studies, Bangladesh and she also highlighted that according to ILO Convention no.182 and Second Optional Protocol CRC Article No.3- child pornography is an offence, but it was not also included.Centre for Social Research of New Delhi and Community Action Centre of Nepal jointly arranged a Regional Consultation on “Effective Implementation of the SAARC Convention on Trafficking” on 5 July 2006 in Kathmandu. Nepal with the financial support of South Asia Regional lnitiativel Equity Support Programme, AED.Prof. Ishrat Shamim further said that in the Ninth SAARC Summit, held in Male, the capital of Maldives in 2002, the member countries expressed a combined commitment against the trafficking in women and children and the Member States signed a Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution.

In 2005, the Member countries ratified and agreed to fulfil the assigned commitment.In her paper titled “Trafficking of Women and Children in Bangladesh : Prevention and Protection”, the Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Government of Bangladesh Dr. Yeameen Akbory said her Ministry is doing a lot of work to combat trafficking of women and children. She said that a task force has been created to tackle the problemme of trafficking under the project ‘Coordinated Programme to Combat Child Trafficking’ to combat child trafficking, followed by the Counter Trafficking Framework Report: Bangladesh Perspective, a training module has been developed and training has been arranged for the law enforcement officers such as Police, BDR, Ansar, etc. She also said that to reduce trafficking of young girls, a training module named ‘Life Skill Management’ has been developed and girls are being trained. Underprivileged and poor women are also included in the training programme to increase their level of consciousness.

Through the Information Ministry, TV spots, drama and folk songs these are transmitted regularly. Besides these, the elected members of the local govt. are helping community leaders and Imams to increase consciousness against trafficking and implementing similar projects. Posters and leaflets are also been circulated to make people conscious.President of the Centre for Social Research of India, Dr. Ranjana Kumari said that in all countries, gender imbalance is the main cause of women depression, such as torture, rape, family quarrel, sex victims, etc. Trafficking is also a matter like this. A victim of trafficking is more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. These women are being forced to become prostitutes. Media is also helping to make women a sex object and as a result young boys and girls are easily attracted to indulge in sexual relationships. Now-a-days tourism is also helping the sex business.South Asia Network Against Trafficking (SANAT) is working in the member countries to combat trafficking, but time has come to work in the very interior regions of these countries.

Discussions and dialogues should be done on a regular basis within Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. On the other hand, media should step forward with all its resources to increase massconsciousness. Law making and its implementation is also a very important work to combat trafficking.Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child of India Nandita Misra said, trafficking violates the basic human rights. So, we must take trafficking as a serious matter. The main objective of this meeting is to combat trafficking, reducing it, compensating it, giving the victims their life back and identifying regional task force. Every year 5 to 7 thousand girls are being trafficked to India because India is the transit, as well as a destination country, she said.Police Super of Delhi, India Mr. Sankar Sen said, girls of 12 to 20 years are being trafficked from Bangladesh and Nepal by alluring them a dream of better life. But ultimately they are being sold to the brothels. Because of the beauty, the Nepali girls have more demand than others. He said that the traffickers have good connections, but the police have no coordination. As a result, to combat trafficking we have to work jointly. He suggests to build coordination among law enforcers working in the border areas, as well as to involve people to combat trafficking by making them conscious. It can be done by a joint venture between government and the civil society, instead of blaming each other for the failures. Mr. Sen also said that the law enforcers, the prosecutors and the court are not giving importance to this matter which must be changed. To eradicate this, a social revolution is needed.The President of Community Action Centre (CAC) of Nepal

Mr. Tulasa Lata Amatya said, now-a-days trafficking in South Asian countries is increasing. Research shows the grave reality in Nepal which is very tragic. In all the SAARC Summits, the traffciking agenda has been discussed, but no joint step has been taken yet. Though a national action plan and a road map have been developed in all SAARC countries, but the implementation has never been undertaken. It is necessary to act jointly by the law makers, planners and ministries.A SAARC Convention on Trafficking of Women and Children in the South Asian region recently has been held in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. Different problems of trafficking, possibilities and what to do in the SAARC countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives) were the main topics of this regional consultation. The representatives of SAARC countries promised to work together to solve the problem on the basis of the existing issues in their own countries.
by The New Nation

http://nation.ittefaq.com/artman/publish/article_29510.shtml

Number Of Children For Hire In India On The Rise

Number Of Children For Hire In India On The RiseJuly 28, 2006 3:05 p.m. EST
Jacob Cherian – All Headline News Staff Writer
Andhra Pradesh, India (AHN) – Poverty is the driving force behind parents trafficking their children into the domestic service field in India. An average price for a child worker in Hyderabad, India is $152 a year.
If they can cook they will fetch a higher income. These children do not attend school, often engaging in child labor from the age of 6 or 7. The parents of children in this category are sometimes not aware of their whereabouts for up to four months. Despite this, conditions in India are encouraging parents and brokers to actively participate in trading in children for domestic labor.
NDTV reports confirm the Muttadu village in Andhra Pradesh in the Krishna district sends children off to faraway places like Delhi, Kolkota and Hyderabad. Two hundred children are contracted every year from this village alone.
A seven-year-old child trades for $87 on the market, whereas a 14-year-old can get a broker up to $330 for a period of one year. Half of the money is split with the parents. Girls are preferred over boys due to their submissive nature and for staying out of trouble.
When reporters from NDTV asked the Minister of the district about the appalling trade of children, he said that he was unaware of the existence of such a practice and that he would inquire about it.
Many social advocates feel that since domestic labor is considered non-hazardous, the issue is not taken seriously. However, an NDTV reporter cited physical abuse – in a case when an employer blistered a child for boiling milk 10 minutes late.
An estimated 30,000 – 40,000 domestically employed children are said to be working in Hyderabad alone, driven by the high demand for domestic help, poverty and the vested interest of brokers.

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7004363100