National: According to the census data of 2011, India has around 10.1 million children engaged in child labour. Studies also show that there is a general trend of an increase in child labour and a decrease in children going to schools during prolonged periods of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has considerably worsened the situation, but joint and decisive action can reverse this trend.
The multi-layered impact of the lockdown has led to a significant upswing in child labour in distress. Older children especially girls are involved in cropping and other farm activities. The pandemic has particularly pushed young girls from underprivileged backgrounds to take up paid jobs. In this situation, girls are more vulnerable in terms of involvement in child labour, domestic labour, migration/trafficking forcefully, child marriage and so many hidden scary situations. Closure of schools will also lead to school dropouts and children engaging in labour work to help their families make ends meet.
To spread awareness and prevent children and adolescents from unlawful practices of child labour, NGO, Jatan Sansthan, has started a nationwide campaign. This 24-day campaign ‘Jatan Against Child Labour’ has been launched to observe World Day Against Child Labour on June 12, 2021. The NGO has a wide experience of building capacities of communities including children as well as different structures, stakeholders and community-based organizations. This will be an ongoing campaign and will be conducted through virtual platforms to reach out to a larger audience. The aim is to increase awareness among communities against child labour during, and post-COVID-19 eras through various social media and digital platforms.
While launching a poster of their campaign virtually on May 20, Executive Director of Jatan Sansthan, Dr Kailash Brijwasi said in his address, “Jatan Sansthan is committed to the safety of children and their rights. The objective of this campaign is to prohibit child labour and sensitize citizens so that children can be free from exploitation of labour from an early age. We want to ensure the fundamental right to education to these children, and for this, we need more and more citizens to join us so that we create a better future for them.”
The main objectives are to push the re-enrollment of dropouts due to the pandemic. Building awareness among all stakeholders (parents, teachers, SMC/SDMCs/ PRIs/executive/working professional) on child labour issue and improved positive changes in their mindsets.
This campaign will roll out pan India and cover all the States and districts. The campaign aims at reaching out to approx. 3-5 lakh people across India digitally.