They Don´t Go To School

They don´t go to school

The 1986 Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act sets no age limit for entry into the work force, although hazardous occupations are theoretically off limits to children 14 and younger.

Indian officials have long appeared to distinguish between child labor, which arguably is inevitable and even necessary in a country with hundreds of millions of poor, and the rank exploitation of children.

Even that molasses-paced effort was prompted at least in part by Germany and other European countries threats to boycott imports produced with child labor.

India's smallest workers have few allies. When a group of coolies ages 11 to 15 at Delhi's I.N.A. Market formed a union to try to protect themselves from beatings and exploitation by shopkeepers and police alike, the Delhi Registrar of Trade Unions refused to legalize it, citing a 1926 law that forbids workers under 15 from joining a union.

As for organized labor, the plight of India's child laborers seems to interest it little. It is difficult enough to organize adults. What do you do with children?

These children know they are being exploited; no one has to tell them that. They know it's not fair that others go to school and they don't.

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