Child labor in India remains immune to laws
Just two months before full implementation of a landmark 2010 law mandating that all Indian children between the ages of 6 and 14 be in school, some 28 million are working instead, according to Unicef. Child workers can be found everywhere — in shops, in kitchens, on farms, in factories and on construction sites.
In 2010, Impulse, a nongovernmental organization based in Shillong, Meghalaya’s capital, reported that it had found 200 children — some as young as 5 — working in 10 local mines. The group estimated that as many as 70,000 children worked in about 5,000 mines.
In the coming days Parliament may consider yet another law to ban child labor, but even activists say more laws, while welcome, may do little to solve one of India’s most intractable problems. While the Indian government has laws banning child labor and unsafe working conditions, states are mostly charged with enforcing those laws. The country’s police are highly politicized, so crackdowns on industries sanctioned by the politically powerful are rare. Police officers routinely extract bribes from coal truckers, making the industry a source of income for officers. More On Story