” Rajesh (name changed) is 13 years old and fled his Biratnagar home about seven years ago for dream city, Kathmandu. And once here, he did what millions of other street urchins do – beg, clean cars and shoes, peddle drugs, and pick rags or even pockets. Kicked and abused (in more ways than one), survival was a race everyday. It seemed like a hellish meeting with life, head on… .” Sounds like something from a storybook vague and unrealistic.
Well this not a story, it is a creation of our doings, our actions and we call it,’ Child Labor.’ The reasons for child labor, and child trafficking, are complex. They include poverty; lack of schools; gender discrimination; poor health care; war; influence of poor friends, mistreatment of the stepmother, stern punishment given at school and home. These are but a few of the social disease that are affecting the nations future. A concern of child labor exists from poverty. Is there no poverty there will be no child labor. Only the other day my servant came in with her daughter to work.
The work, cleaning up the house and the dirty dishes, and the daughter barely six or seven years old. When her mother was washing the dishes I asked her daughter if she wanted to study. She had a slight gleam in her eyes when she heard study. On asking her mother why she had bought her daughter along she replied, ” to give her knowledge of the work she has to do when I am ill.
In America, people believe that child labor does not affect them, not realizing that the Persian rugs they put their feet on are made by suffering children in a dark, small room. They dont realize the soccer balls that their children are kicking around outside are made by children themselves, who slave away for little or no pay at all. In 1999, ap-proximately 250 million children are employed or ...
She and study! No use. But if she earns at least she can feed us.” We have to understand as why children go to work. The problem here is not child labor but the willingness of the parents to send their children to work. If parents don’t send their children to work I am sure factories will not be able to consume them.
Why poor parents feel children as their assets who will earn money for their home? The plight of young boys and girls is no better in any part of the country. According to an ILO/I PEC study undertaken in 1996, of the 6. 23 million children between the ages of 5-14 in Nepal, 2. 6 million or 42 percent are at work.
Of this 1. 7 million are economically active. This does not take into account many more, particularly girls, who help out in domestic chores. Given the open border between Nepal and India, thousands of children are annually trafficked and pushed into prostitution. The sexual exploitation of children is on the rise in urban Nepal too.
It is also estimated that a considerable number of children under the age of 16 are being used as commandos and human shield in the Maoist insurgency movement all over the country. Parents of these children are mainly illiterate or semi literate are unable to find jobs, which can provide enough salary. Dream of education to children is impossible unless suitable employment opportunities made available to at least one person in the family. Simply by opening schools and providing books are not sufficient measures. We need to understand the reason behind child labor that is poverty and unemployment.
Minimizing poverty and creation of more and more suitable jobs to parents are the only solution of eradication of majority of child labor problem.