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Bangalore the hub of girl child labour force in Karnataka

Jun 12, 2018

Karnataka has nearly half a million working children between the ages of 5-14 years.

Bangalore: A worrying trend has surfaced from the figures released by Government of India on child labour. The south Indian state of Karnataka has witnessed a steep increase of 56 percent in working children over the last decade as the Census 2011 data suggests.

More than 45 per cent of Karnataka’s working children are girls with the capital city of Bangalore notoriously leading the total number of working girls in Karnataka. The state of Karnataka has nearly half a million working children between the ages of 5-14 years which is the school-going age for elementary education.

With around 29,069 number of girl children, Bangalore leads the trend followed by the districts of Raichur and Bellary. From the data available, it is seen that 80% of child labor in India is concentrated in rural regions, however Karnataka has shown a growth indicating that urban centers supporting child labour to a greater extent.

According to Child Rights and You (CRY), lack of education, poverty and a hope of better livelihood are creating a vacuum through which children are moving increasingly to urban centers.

The top five districts for working girls between 5-14 years in Karnataka are given below. Together these 5 districts account for 45% of the working girls in the state.

Number of working girls in various cities is as follows. Bangalore (29,069) Raichur (14,705), Bellary (13,882) Yadgir (13,812) Belgaum (13,301).

Suma Ravi, Regional Director, CRY, said that gender specific child labour roles highlighted that the girl children are mostly working in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors amounting to almost 62.8 percent.

“This is a worrying trend because child labour according to the current trend is being supported by the urban sector. We at CRY have a zero tolerance policy for child labour and are working to raising awareness and facilitating the preventive mechanisms to bring about a sustained change and impact,” Suma said.

The next highest sectors with the largest number of working girls is arts, entertainment and recreation, Activities of households as employers, undifferentiated goods and services and related sectors taking another chunk of more than a quarter (27.9 percent) of working girls.

In Karnataka, CRY is working on a targeted 99 villages or slum. CRY has been successful in reaching out to 12,832 children between 0-18 years out of which 6,312 of them have been girl children in the last one year.

CRY’s experience working on the issue for a long time reveals that under the purview of labour all children might not be covered due to exemptions in law, lack of societal willingness to come and discuss about this issue and unavailability of a child due to their long engagements with work and study making the data an indication than an actual representation of the problem.

In India, 10.13 million child labourers are between 5-14 years (2011 Census data). Child labour in 2011 has decreased by around 20 per cent from 2001 Census Figures. When compared with the 2001 figure percentage of girls and boys decreased by 23 per cent and 17 per cent respectively in 2011.

Children between 10-14 years compose 75% of the entire working children in India.

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