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This article is written Roma Bennur, 3rd year BA LLB,St. Joseph’s College of Law, Bangalore during her internship.

Keywords: Child , Labour, Regulation, Reasons, Unemployment.


Child labour is a widespread issue that is not specific to any one nation. The use of children in any type of manual labour is referred to as “child labour.” A “child” is defined as a person under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 as someone who is under the age of 14. At such a young age, when children are encouraged to develop, enjoy childhood to the fullest, pursue education, and develop a strong value system, they are compelled to work and support their families.

It not only has an impact on the child’s physical and mental growth, but it also places a tremendous amount of responsibility on the child to provide for his or her family. Children are regularly seen being coerced into labour owing to challenges such a lack of solid financial support, enough food, clothes, shelter, and livelihood opportunities, among other things.[1]

International Labour Organization defines “child labour” as as a job that not only negatively impacts the children’s childhood but also prevents them from attending school regularly or receiving a quality education. Additionally, child labour robs children of their innocence, potential, and dignity. Children who labour before the age of 14 cannot grow morally, intellectually, socially, or physically.[2]

According to UNICEF

“It states that a child is regarded as labour when

  • His or her age ranges from five to eleven, and
  • He or she engages in at least one hour of economic activity each day or puts in at least 28 hours per week of domestic labour.[3]
  • If the children are between the ages of 12 and 14, either at least 14 hours of economic activity or at least 42 hours of household work must be performed each week for it to be deemed child labour.

Child Labour Issue:

Child labour is a serious problem not just in India but in other developing nations since it harms a child’s physical and mental development. Child labour has increased both globally and in India as a result of poverty. Children represent a country’s future and hope, so neglecting them is a social issue. Numerous laws have been passed to forbid child labour, but they haven’t been successful in reducing the issue. According to the 2017 statistic study, India is one of the top Asian nations due to the 33 million children who work as child labourer’s there. According to the 2011 Census, there were 259.6 million children overall, of whom 10.1 million were either major or marginal workers.[4]

Causes for Child Labour:

The main reasons of child labour include poverty, parental illiteracy, and family social and economic situations. The prevalence of child labour is further increased by a lack of knowledge about the negative impacts of child labour, a lack of access to a basic and quality education, cultural values within the family, and the environment in which one lives. Child labour is heavily influenced by both high unemployment and underemployment rates.

Children who drop out of school owing to family debt or who are expelled from school are more likely to work as children. Girls from socially excluded groups are more likely to be subjected to child labour abuse.

The main contributors to child labour in India are:

  1. Children are seen as the family’s helping hands in poverty- Controlling child labour in underdeveloped nations is nearly impossible because children not only have to feed themselves but also their family and earn a living for them. Because of the high rates of unemployment and underemployment caused by poverty, parents are forced to send their kids to work for poor pay.
  2. Prior debts: People take out loans as a result of their precarious financial situation. However, they are unable to repay the debts because they do not have enough money. As a result, they drag their kids to work in addition to working day and night to make ends meet.
  3. Professional requirements: Unlike the rough hands needed in the bangle industries, some professions call for delicate and sensitive hands. They therefore favour children for such jobs rather than adults.
  4. Bonded labour: Children are frequently forced to work long hours in the sun while going without food and drink. These kids are rarely compensated. Bonded labour contributes even more to the widespread rise in child labour.
  5. Small children frequently work as domestic helpers for well-educated families, who frequently accept them despite a number of regulations prohibiting the employment of children. This allows the young people to take care of both the families’ homes and their young ones.
  6. Child sex workers: Girls who have reached puberty are frequently coerced into prostitution in exchange for the promise of possibilities to perform glamorous occupations.[5]
  7. Forced begging: Families who are unable to support themselves subject their children to inhumane conditions while they beg on the streets. To increase their ability to extort money from the populace, they have their kids disfigured.

Consequences of Child Labour:

Children are more vulnerable to occupational dangers and accidents than adults are. Their lives are affected by these injuries, which cause them social and financial[6]suffering. Cuts, burns, lacerations, fractures, and dizziness are all common general injuries. The effects of child labour also include rape, prostitution, drug usage, drunkenness, sexual exploitation of females, STDs, and HIV/AIDS. In terms of food, clothes, housing, and medical care, they are also physically neglected.

They are unable to attend school as a result, depriving them of a foundational education and forcing them to live in poverty. Child labour also has implications for emotional maltreatment. Children are routinely subjected to physical abuse, such as beatings, which frequently results in physical deformities.

The Indian Constitution also grants children specific rights and forbids child labour. Some of these laws are as follows:

  • No youngster under the age of 14 may work in a factory, mine, or perform any other dangerous tasks.
  • The state, in particular, shall focus its policies on ensuring that employees’ health and strength, as well as the young age of children, are not exploited, and that citizens are not compelled by economic necessity to choose careers that are inappropriate for their age or strength.
  • Children are provided with the tools and resources they need to grow up in a healthy way, with freedom and dignity, and without fear of being exploited or abandoned in terms of their morals or their material possessions.
  • Within ten years of the constitution’s inception, the state must make free and mandatory education available to all children until they reach the age of fourteen.
  • All children between the ages of 6 and 14 must receive free and mandatory education in the way that the state may by law specify.

There are numerous laws that substantially uphold the rights and entitlements outlined in the UN convention and the country’s constitution.[7]


The nation still has an issue with child labour. The government has taken a number of actions to actively address the issue of child labour. However, due to socio-economic issues like poverty and illiteracy, which are the primary causes of child labour, the issue cannot be resolved until all members of the society work together as a team. We can overcome the problem of child labour and have a better, more developed India if everyone accepts personal responsibility for it. The issue of child labour can be greatly reduced if the public supports the government’s initiatives. The atrocity of child labour must be brought to light, and people must see the value of allowing children to develop and have a happy childhood because they represent the nation’s future.

[1]  Shivani Verma, Child Labour Laws in India, Ipleaders, ( July. 26, 2022, 5:20 PM),

[2]  ILO Organization,–en/index.htm, (last visited July. 26, 2022)

[3] UNICEF Organization,, ( last visited July. 26, 2022).

[4]  ILO Organization,–en/index.htm, ( last visited July. 26, 2022).

[5] Shivani Verma, Child Labour Laws in India, Ipleaders, ( July. 26, 2022, 5:30 PM),

[6] Shivani Verma, Child Labour Laws in India, Ipleaders, ( July. 26, 2022, 5:30 PM),

[7] Kabishna , Child Labour in India, Legal Services India, ( July. 26, 2022 , 5:30 PM),

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