Known statistics of Child Labour in India is over 10million children. But the coronavirus has brought to light that child labour and child trafficking is rampant in India. More than the local charities and campaigners had realised.

This article by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, looks at the shocking revelation that child workers and child trafficking is rampant in India. And it shares stories of children whose lives have been impacted.

Lockdown reveals rampant child labour in India as kids stream home

“Vijay Kewat waited patiently at Gaya station, ready to receive 100 child workers who were headed home under India’s lockdown. He was speechless when 500 streamed off the train instead.

“It was an extraordinary sight and even officials were stunned,” the child rights activist said.

Abandoned by employers and packed with haste onto a special train carrying migrant workers home. The children poured onto the platform at Gaya in eastern India last week, Kewat said.

And many promptly disappeared into nearby streets, he added.

“That day at the station, everyone realised that there were thousands of trafficked children being sent back home as factories were closed and nobody was documenting this return,” said Kewat, who works at the charity Centre Direct.

Over the last two weeks, similar instances have been reported from Rajasthan to Assam to New Delhi, all states where children have been rescued and sent to quarantine centres.

India has launched multiple campaigns to check child labour in recent years. Cracking down on factories where children are hired to make bangles, stitch shoes or sequins.

The vigilance has only driven the trade deeper underground, child rights campaigners say. With the scale now visible as fearful employers abandon or banish the children, many of whom were trafficked into illegal work.”

Read the full article. 

Australia’s Supply Chains and India

As Australia has just signed a new partnership agreement with India, now more than ever, we need to be thinking about our supply chains. If the local campaigners are shocked, how are businesses in Australia going to report risk in the Modern Slavery Statement? This will be a huge challenge for our new panel of modern slavery experts, guiding the Government.

The Freedom Hub partners in the fight to end global slavery. We also run workshops to help businesses prepare their Modern Slavery Statement.