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  • Writer's pictureStambh Organization


Updated: Mar 13, 2022


The doctrinal research method is used for this project report. Doctrinal or “black letter” methodology refers to a way of conducting research that is usually thought of as “typical legal research”. A doctrinal approach to research will focus on case-law, statutes, and other legal sources. It differs from other methodologies in that it looks at the law within itself; a purely doctrinal approach makes no attempt to look at the effect of the law or how it is applied but instead examines law as a written body principle that can be discerned and analyzed using only legal sources.

We have used secondary sources for research purposes. In the study, the help of various sources like law reports, Articles in Law Journals, Law Reviews, etc. have been taken. The relevant information necessary for its completion has also been gathered from sources available in newspapers, proceedings of the seminars, conferences, and websites, etc.



Childhood is an important stage of human development and children are the future of our society. Today child has been defined differently by distinct sections of society. Children are sent to work for various reasons like when families face financial challenges, due to poverty, sudden illness of a working family member, or job loss of a primary wage earner. Child labor is a major issue our country faces and nearly 1 in 10 children are subjected to child labor worldwide.


An African proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child, but one can also say that it takes the whole world to protect one child. Child r is labour human rights violation and also open exploitation. A child doing normal household chores doesn’t amount to child labor, but if the labor given to children deprives them of their basic rights such as education and affects them socially, mentally, and physically then it can be harmful to a child’s life which destroys their opportunity to have a brighter future. They grow up unable to live securely or to avail opportunities and end up as unskilled poor workers for the rest of their lives. Child labor comprises both paid and unpaid works primarily concentrating on agricultural and industrial works. Africa, Asia, and the Pacific regions together account for almost every nine out often children in child labor worldwide. Now there are around 150 million child laborers around the world which is almost 17 percent of the worldwide child population.


  • To study the factors relating to child labor

  • To examine appropriate solutions for eradicating child labor


Definition of a Child

According to UNICEF, the definition of a child is for the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, the majority is attained earlier.

Child rights convention defines a child as for the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, the majority is attained earlier.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. This declaration may well be the most important document in international agreements between countries on human rights, including the rights of children.

The International Convention on the Rights of the Child (ICRC) recognizes the right of every child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing work that is hazardous or harmful to their health and development or that interferes with their education. It also requires governments to set a minimum age for employment and to provide for appropriate hours and conditions of employment.

The most concrete international agreements on combating child labour are the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) concerning the minimum age for admission to employment and on the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour.


  • Almost 152 million children are victims of child labour

  • The ILO reports that at the ending of 2008, the number of child laborers among 5- to 14-year-olds was 10 percent and the number of children in hazardous work fell 31 percent.

  • Child labour is more prevalent among 11-17 years old children.

  • Child laborers who are aged 5-11 are almost half of 152 million

  • Children who are aged 12-14 comprises 48 percent of child labour worldwide

  • Children who are aged 15-17 comprises 24 percent of child labour worldwide

  • 10.5 million children work as domestic servants in the world

  • There are almost 50 above African countries with human trafficking problems.

  • Around one million children work in mines around the world

World-level child labour: children involved in child labour and hazardous works (2000- 2016)


Child labour is one of the most overlooked dilemmas in India. Child labour is prevalent on a large scale in the country. Children start going for crucial works at a young age due to their poverty level or lack of knowledge on the importance of education. Child labour in rural areas mostly comprises agricultural works and in urban areas, it comprises mostly of industrial works. In India, there are over 8.3 million child laborers aged between 5 and 14. States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, etc comprise half the child laborer population in the country. The psychological effects caused by child labour are equal to the physical effects of the labour as the trauma they face at a young age may turn into depression and anxiety in the future. Even though there are enough statutory measures taken by the government, there is always a lack of implementation of child laws in India because the authorities usually overlook the issue of child labour.

Causes of Child Labour

  • Poverty: Children from families who have low income are forced to go to work for fulfilling the needs of the family and to escape from their starvation and hunger.

  • Lack of knowledge: Often the parents of the child labourers and the children themselves are unaware of the importance of education and unknowingly go to hazardous works without knowing the future outcomes of it.

  • Unemployment: when the breadwinner of a family loses their job, the children are sent to work for their poor parents at a low wage. The owners/employers are often interested to employ Children because they are the easiest to exploit.

  • Family debts: When the poor illiterates find it hard to pay back their debts to their lenders due to economic conditions, they are forced to send their children to work.

  • Human trafficking: Sometimes when families end up in poverty, they sell their children to human traffickers which results in the sexual, physical, and mental assault of kids.

Effects of Child Labouramong Children

  • Malnutrition

  • Depression

  • Low quality of life

  • Illiteracy

  • Physical and mental exploitation

  • Loss of confidence

Year Percentage of working children (5-14) Total number of working children (5-14) (in millions) RuralUrbanTotalRuralUrbanTotal20015.

Distribution of working children by type of work in 2011

Area of workPercentageNo. In million cultivators 26.02.63Agricultural labourers32.93.33Household industry workers5.20.52Other workers35.83.62

Child rights in India

Various statutory steps have been taken by the government to prevent child labour

Part III of the constitution of India deals with fundamental rights:

  • Article 21 A of the constitution provides that “the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the state may, by law determine. “This fundamental right has been operated with the enactment of the right of children to free and compulsory education act, 2009.

  • Article 24 prohibits of employment of children in factories, etc.: No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any hazardous employment. The court in MC Mehta v. the State of TN noted that the menace of child labour was widespread. Therefore, it issued wide-ranging directions in the context of employment and exploitation of children in Sivakasi, prohibiting employment of children below the age of 14 and making arrangements for their education by creating a fund and providing employment to the parents or able-bodied adults in the family.

  • Article 39(e) directs the state to work progressively to ensure that the tender ages of children are not abused.

  • Article 39(f) directs the state to work progressively to ensure that “children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in the condition of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment”.

  • Article 45 directs the state to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of 6 years.

  • Article 51 A imposes a fundamental duty upon the parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

The Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009

The right of children to free and compulsory education act, 2009 is intended to outline the provision of quality education for all children between the ages of 6-14 as per the constitutional fundamental right awarded to the children in the 86th amendment.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

The Commission considers that its mandate “to ensure that all laws, policies, programs, and administrative mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enriched in the constitution of India and the UN convention on the rights of the child”

Commission had asked to form special cells in schools to solve problems of children. The cell will examine the mental and physical torture against children.

Role of NGO’s on the elimination of Child Labour

The NGOs see child labour as major exploitation of human rights and abundantly work towards the betterment of children. Many improvements made on child welfare can be credited to these organizations. NGO’s not only educated the children and parents about the effects of child labour but also reach out to employers and owners to educate them about the consequences of employing a child. The NGOs consider it essential to maintain a relationship between the village locals to report on child labour and abuses.

Steps were taken by NGOs

  • NGO conducts campaigns and workshops in rural areas about the necessity of education.

  • They help in improving education quality for maintaining the presence of students.

  • They help children to escape child labour and enroll in schools.

  • They create a wall between the employer and child laborers.

  • Rehabilitation and counseling of former child labourers


Children are the brightest stars of our country and every member of society should acknowledge this so that these bundles of innocents don’t lose their shine. The government should stop overlooking the issues of child labour and should start acting upon it. We should stop normalizing the “chotu” (little boys working in shops) culture where we subconsciously ignore the fact that these little boys under the fear of their employers are deprived of their basic rights and happiness. The first step of doing something about this is to realize that child labour is a stigma to our society and that everyone is born equal and free.










  9. V.N Shukla – the constitution of India

  10. Dr.S.R Myneni – Human Rights law

  11. Dr.S.R Myneni – Labour Laws

  12. Anil K Nair – Human rights under international and Indian-law

: - Lakshmi Maadhusoodanan,

Research Intern

Stambh Organisation

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