Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bonded child labor in India

These young boys, aged 10 to 15, are bonded child laborers in New Delhi, India, rescued during a workplace raid not by the government but by an NGO. Although child labor is illegal under several laws & education is compulsory, India is estimated to have the highest number of child workers in the world--estimated by a government census to be nearly 13 million children but other estimates claim as high as 60 million. They are employed in many dangerous occupations including brick kilns, construction, fireworks manufacture, agriculture, leather tanning, as well as in silk, diamond, garment & shoe factories & as domestic workers.

Bonded labor, which is illegal in India, are children sold by parents for a petty sum to pay off debts. It is an employer-slave relationship since the time period could become a lifetime & is usually for little or no wages. One estimate claims there are 15 million bonded child workers in India. The several laws against child & bonded labor are not enforced, of course, because private wealth is dependent on exploitable & cheap children workers. The original caption to this photo said child labor is used because “certain industries that involve intricate machinery or delicate handiwork prefer their smaller hands.” What arrant nonsense! It isn’t their tiny hands but their inability to defend themselves against exploitation, coercion, & violence that makes them so profitable. And not just to the Indian oligarchs. Multinational corporations that profit from child labor in India include the biggest predators in business: Primark, Monsanto, Unilever, Bayer, Emergent Genetics, Syngenta, Advanta, Cargill, Gap, Hanes, Nike, Walmart, J.C. Penney. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/AP)

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