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Indian Government not doing enough to stamp out child slavery

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Indian Government not doing enough to stamp out child slavery

Post  Panda on Sun 24 Jun - 3:43

10:48am UK, Saturday June 23, 2012

Alex Rossi, Asia correspondent

Human rights campaigners claim the Indian government is not doing nearly enough to stamp out child slavery despite a number of raids by the authorities in recent months.
They say too many youngsters are being coerced to work in factories across the country - although there are supposedly strict laws in place against child labour.

The last decade has seen huge growth in India's economy and many nefarious businessmen are taking children from poor parts of the country - like Bihar and Utta Pradesh - to the big cities to work in terrible conditions for little or more usually no money.

Charity workers say the children are either kidnapped, or their parents are promised cash for their work.

It is estimated millions of children are working illegally and against their will in India.

They are often forced to graft in the building or clothing industries and are frequently exposed to hazardous working conditions.

A little girl was beaten for not selling enough flowers

Many also toil in full view of the authorities.

In the capital New Delhi, gangs of children are used to hawk goods by the side of busy road junctions.

We witnessed one little girl being beaten for not selling enough flowers whilst the traffic police looked on and did nothing.

Renowned campaigners, like Kalaish Satyarthi, call it India's shame.

He compares the problem to Victorian England but says such practices should have no place in a supposedly democratic emerging economy.

He said: "Slavery means you have no dignity. You have no freedom. You have no childhood... Sometimes I come across those cases where children are sold at lesser prices than animals."

It is estimated millions of children are working illegally and against their will in India

The problem though is entrenched with the legacy of India's caste system still casting a long shadow over the country's poor.

For many middle class families, he explains, it is still socially acceptable to have a child worker from a poor background carrying out duties for the household.

Mr Satyarthi runs an Ashram on the outskirts of Delhi which helps rescued child slaves.

The Ashram uses dance and role play to enable youngsters make sense of their experiences but it is not easy.

Sakib, who is just eight, was rescued from a cosmetics factory.

He was forced to work in dingy conditions and was often hit by the factory manager. Unsurprisingly, he has nightmares about his experiences.

"These people have destroyed me. They beat me, make me work throughout and tell me lies that I will get paid."

Sakib will hopefully soon be reunited with his family. Many other children in India are not so lucky.

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