New Delhi: Millions of children across the world are engaged in child labour which deprives them of basic education, good health, and their basic rights. Many of them are victims of child trafficking and exposed to hazardous working environments like- drug trafficking, prostitution and many other illicit activities.

Today on the occasion of World Day against Child Labour, many NGOs and other institutions have come forward with the objective of eliminating Child Labour and other violations of the fundamental rights of children from the society. The day is intended to serve as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labour.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is organizing various programmes around the country in collaboration with UNICEF and ILO. An official statement said the theme for this year is Justice for Children - End Child Labour.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an NGO working for children in India, said a large number of children are trafficked from poor and underdeveloped states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh to cities like Delhi and Mumbai and made to work in various industries for paltry wages.

BBA conducted 164 raids across India from January 2012 till June 6 and rescued 1,742 child labourers. In Delhi alone, it conducted 78 raids and liberated 1,049 bonded labourers. Almost 90 percent of the rescued children spoke of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their employers.

"Most of them are weak, look starved, have scars on their bodies and are emotionally traumatised. To keep them awake, certain employers play popular Bollywood and Bhojpuri songs," Preeti Sharma, a volunteer said.

Narrating his story, Rizwan, a rescued boy, said, "I was brought to Delhi in the name of better livelihood opportunities. I was told that in Delhi I can study and earn as well. But here I was made to work for 16 hours a day and was given Rs.200 a week. Once the supervisor hit me so hard that from then on my vision is blurred."

Social activists say that in the capital alone more than 2,000 placement agencies are operating, of which only 24 are registered with the government.

"It is known to everybody that most of the placement agencies working here are functioning illegally. Every now and then, we rescue children, particularly girls who are brought to work as maids from poverty-stricken states," BBA chariperson R.S Chaurasia said.

"A political will and stringent laws are needed to curb such activities," Chaurasia added.

There are many laws for child protection like- The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986- but there is a clear lack of execution by authorities in their implementation.

JPN/Agencies