Child Worker



In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, 96.000 children, many of whom are only 10, are employed in the match and fireworks industries of Sivakasi. In Orissa, every 20th child is a worker, most of them girls.

A Labor Ministry official estimates that 300,000 youngsters work in India's carpet industry alone. In Jaipur, 10,000 to 20,000 children do menial tasks associated with the cutting and polishing of sapphires, lapis lazuli and other gems. On tea plantations, an army of children cull the fragrant leaves for the beverage that will show up on European and American breakfast tables.

Indian law bars minors from being on the job more than five hours a day. But surveys show two-thirds of the country's laboring minors put in eight to 12 hours each day. The average daily income for almost three-quarters of them is 10 rupees--less than 20 Euro cents. Often they are at the physical or sexual mercy of their employer. A Bombay entrepreneur forced boys from Tamil Nadu to sell snacks in the bazaar, then beat one 8-year-old who tried to escape with hot iron rods and bicycle inner tubes so savagely, the child died.

Child Worker

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