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  • Writer's pictureDean Clark

The Use of Child Labor and Slavery in India

Often overlooked by news outlets, child labor in India is prevalent, with over 8.3 million children ages 5-14 involved. The exploitation of child labor is present mainly in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, with 50% of child labor in these states, according to Save the Children.

Because of a ⅓ poverty rate in India, as well as poor living conditions, lack of job diversity, and general need for money in the country to the point where some families sell children to child traffickers to lessen economic burden.

While child labor and child trafficking is such a big issue, countless organizations such as UNICEF have focused on combating these issues, bringing awareness to children that have dealt with this issue along with companies to try to root out the support of this labor.

Similarly, in private companies as well as homes, slaves are illegally held in India more than in any country in the world. However, it works as a debt system, where if a family or individual owes another person money, they are required to work if unable to pay. If they miss because they are sick or unable to work, debt grows. The inhumane conditions, insane working hours, and interest rates that keep people enslaved and never able to repay debts and make a life for themselves. Adults and children can fall victim to this, as well as people being trafficked and sold into slavery, which adds to the approximately 8 million enslaved.

There are countless solutions to the slavery problem in India. First off, education and informance of slavery’s illegality, especially to those who own slaves and to rural citizens at risk of becoming slaves. Showing those enslaved how to miraculously break out of slavery and regain their rights can be the best immediate, direct way to preventing it from happening again.

Secondly, the forming of community vigilance centers to challenge slave owners and prevent others from bondage will be another direct way to stop slavery. Involving police, trying to keep children in safe schools, better healthcare, and general economic development can be a result of this.

Finally, having plans for those that are enslaved is a big part of reintroducing them to society. If the citizen is a child, getting them back into schooling no matter where they left off can help to get them better jobs as well as be a better functioning member of society, able to read and write. As for educated adults that fall victim to slavery, finding a new occupation, craft, or other way to make money is crucial so that they are able to be financially stable and not fall into debt with someone again, stuck in a cycle of slavery.

Both of these issues are equally important to not only be made aware, but also to be put to an end. No child should be deprived of education or a childhood because of inhumane labor, and no person should be subjugated to slavery. These torturous conditions ultimately are mentally and physically detrimental, and can be very hard to come back from. It is imperative to have plans put in place to stop slavery and child labor, as well as actions that help victims return to society safely. Since India is a leading country in both of these demographics, many strides can be made to put an end to both, governmentally as well as organizationally.

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