Even as the Union government has passed legislations and implemented special programmes to tackle child labour, the tentative Child Labour Survey Report 2011-2012 reveals that child labour is rampant in the State with over 51,108 children working in the State in both hazardous and non-hazardous sectors.
Successive governments have vowed to eliminate child labour by setting several deadlines, all in vain.
Interestingly, the report, which has the estimates of children working between the age group 9 and 14 years, states that the largest number of child labourers in the State are in the State capital — Bangalore (Urban) — with as many as 11,277 children working in the city. The districts with the least number of child labourers are Shimoga, Udupi, Hassan, Chickmagalur and Dakshin Kannada, all reporting less than 50 child labourers each.
NOT YET APPROVED
Except for Uttara Kannada and Kodagu, the survey was done by the Labour Department with the help of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The survey however, is yet to be approved by respective district collectors / deputy commissioners.
A Labour Department source attributed the concentration of child labour in Bangalore (Urban) to employment opportunities available in the hotels and dhabas in the city. The source also said children of migrant labourers, who come to Bangalore from other parts of the State, also end up working in the city. “Due to surprise raids by the Labour Department and increased awareness about child labour legislations, child labour [has] become invisible, making it harder to trace. Cases of child labour employed in households for domestic work are particularly difficult to trace.”
The official also pointed out that sometimes it was difficult to establish the relationship between employers and employees as children don’t work full time or work along with family members.