Child labour steals children of their right to an innocent childhood. We all should do our bit and make conscientious effort to assist in stopping it. We should take steps by making informed decisions and spreading awareness.
How can we raise our voice for the children of the world trapped in child slavery? If you feel for the deprived kids, then whenever you see a ‘bunty’ working at a dhaba or a ‘chutki’ cleaning utensils in a posh locality, do something to stop this.

1. Start with yourself
Let’s agree to the fact that those who employ children at their homes or places of work under the pretext of giving them an opportunity to earn a living instead of starving, are not a benevolent act as it seems to be. They benefit greatly from the children they look upon as nothing more than cheap labour. Here is what we need to know: Change begins with YOU. Avoid keeping ‘chutkis‘ to take care of your toddlers, do your dishes or mop your floors. Instead, employ the needy adults looking for work to sustain their families. Please remind yourself that child labour is illegal!

2. Be observant and report abuse
Keep your eyes open and look around you and notice if any form of child abuse or exploitation is happening around you. Remember, such children need us to be their voices. Know about the concerned authorities in your locality such as NGOs active in your area. When you come across any case of child labour in your surroundings, immediately inform personally or by writing the authorities / police or call the Child Helpline at 1098. Phone calls or letters can be used to keep your identity anonymous in case the offender is someone influential.

3. Talk to the parents of child labourers
Many times, there are children working around us along with their parents. This gives you a good chance to talk to these parents about the serious impact that child labour has on children. Try ad-vising the parents of these children and insist them to take the children out of work and enroll them in schools instead, thus helping the children move towards a different and better future. While the parents are likely to give reasons like poverty, you can counsel them to understand this never-ending cycle. Poverty leads to child labour and child labour in turn, ensures that poverty continues. If there has to be an economically bright future for these families, their children must be provided with quality education and skill development.

4. Get acquainted with the laws
One of the first steps to making the society free of child labour is to yourself know about the provisions laid down in our Constitution for the protection of children. We should make ourselves educated about the various laws in place to stop their exploitation and ensure prosecution of offenders. Once you are aware of this, you are better equipped to assess the situation at hand and to warn the of-fenders around you.

5. Volunteer with NGOs working against child labour
Volunteer at the nearest branch of the concerned NGOs to understand this issue in detail and understand what’s being done and what needs to be done, moving forward. You will be touched to know of the enormity and the pitiless conditions these children are subjected to, in many cases. The organisations always need self-motivated volunteers in their endeavour to stop child labour. Take some time out from your weekend and be a contributor in whichever way you can.

6. Be an informed voter
Look for the agenda of the candidates in your constituency. If elimination of such practice is not a part of their agenda, do not be afraid to bring that up in meetings and other interactions with them. If they don’t condemn child labour, or show indifference in working towards its total elimination, don’t vote for them. Spread this awareness among other voters around you.

7. Ensure a community free of child labour
Engage with the Resident’s welfare association in your locality to address the issue of child labour. Persuade them to make it a key priority to ensure that the locality is child labour free. Regular meetings with residents can be organized, where they are encouraged to keep adults as maids and helpers, and are asked to report cases of child labour around them.