Child Labour – spiritual murder

The menace of child labour must not be romanticized. It is a curse and it should be projected as such. In the name of speaking highly of child labourers - their accountability and usefulness, we can only do them a disservice. If we employ a child labourer, we indeed accelerate the vicious cycle of poverty. It should never be glorified, even if there is a good relation between the employer and the child labourer. As a matter of fact, it is a bondage of slavery and that cannot be promoted as a spiritual bondage! Child labour means spiritual murder. It nips a child's potentialities in the bud.

It is time that we unlearn the myth that poverty is to be alleviated first and then only we can solve the problem of child labour. This myth makes us unsure about how to react to someone who says that she/ he is doing a great favour to a child's family by employing their child.

Nobel laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, points out that this excuse is as lame as it gets. He says that poverty does not breed child labour, but it is the child labour that perpetuates poverty. To get to his point, we can consider a poor family consisting of parents and their two sons – one adult and one child. The market force will try to employ the child as a cheaper option of labour. This will have a negative impact on the child’s health, education and his acquiring necessary skills to cut the vicious cycle of his family's poverty. A child’s entry into the job market will certainly hamper his elder’s (or at least one other adult’s) prospect of getting employment.

Now, if the adult brother gets the job in place of his little younger one, then their family income will, definitely, shoot up as a child labourer usually earns much less than his or her adult counterpart. Moreover, there is every possibility that the parents will send their 'unemployed' child to a school. Therefore, in this case, the child with the help of increased family income and school education can become a game changer for his family in particular and for his country in general. So, it is not at all possible to eradicate poverty without giving top priority to end child labour.

Those who think that they are helping a poor family by providing employment to a child are actually pouring fuel in a bid to put out fires of poverty.



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