Waking up every day to a never-ending list of chores sounds like something out of a movie. There’s household work to be done, breakfast to prepare and serve, groceries to shop for, and meals to cook; staying up until 1:00 am or 2:00 am is not desired. A Cinderella story, you could call it. Yet, unlike our favorite childhood princess, this situation is a very real one for many children our age and younger. Deprived of fond childhood memories, children of India are forced into child labor at the [far too] early age of five. Rather than going to school and receiving a basic education, these preschool-aged kids have worked long and tireless hours for little or no pay. Jobs can range from domestic work to factory employment — and many more. With so many child workers and such horrible conditions, it borders slavery on a very thin line. Based on the inappropriate age, the lack of a normal childhood, and the unfathomable conditions with no pay, child labor in India must be stopped.
Child labor is beginning to give a feeling of déjà vu, bringing memories back to times of slavery and civil rights movements. Child domestic workers are becoming more popular in India. As they work in urban areas, conditions are usually unregulated, pay low wages, and often exclude care or sustenance. Some will argue that families place their children in domestic work with consent because the homes offer care and employment, however, they do no such thing. There have, in fact, been many cases of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse to child domestic workers and they continue to have to work in unsafe and harmful environments. Another current example resembling some form of slavery is bonded child labor. When a child is bonded to [or is passed on debt from] their family, the child is forced to work under sometimes illegal and hazardous conditions, often including agricultural labor. Many of these bonded laborers are migrant workers, which gives way to more exploitation; the kids are likely to experience physical and sexual abuse as well as [neglect, leading to] death. The horrendous conditions they grow up with sadly ensure a lack of social skills, psychologically or mentally disturbed.
This country continues to overlook its moral compass and endanger young generations on a daily basis. Child labor restricts our newest generations from going to primary school and receiving a basic, formal education. An estimated 20% of India’s economy is dependent on child workers, which is equivalent to about 55 million children under the age of fourteen.