June 12 - Millions of children in India continue to be driven into labour by poverty, as the world marks World Day Against Child Labour. Sarah Sheffer reports.
Millions of children in India continue to be driven into labour by poverty. Many now are demanding stringent laws to curb the practice, as the world marks World Day Against Child Labour on Tuesday. These young children work selling roasted corn in the streets of New Delhi. Nine-year-old Akash, who works with his mother, says he wishes he could attend school instead. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) AKASH, A CHILD LABOURER, SAYING: "I pick up sticks and sell them in the market, and I am paid a meagre amount of money. I wish to go to school, so that I can also play and study in the school and the teachers will also teach me over there." He is one of an estimated 60 million children who are forced to work as labourers under severe financial duress. One analyst says there is no shock or outrage in society to help generate firm action. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRPERSON OF NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF CHILD RIGHTS (NCPCR), SHANTHA SINHA, SAYING: "Somewhere I think as a country all of us must express a sense of outrage, not accept children in labour force and bring pressure on the government to see that there is a strict enforcement of the laws and get children to schools." Though child labour is illegal in India, children as young as five years of age still work long days to earn meagre wages in hazardous conditions. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters