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The ILO places the number of child labourers at 218 million. South Asia has the largest number of child labourers with 21.6 million children aged between 5-14 years engaged in child labour.1

As per the Indian Census 2001, there are 12.66 million children engaged in child labour. 39% of children in Nepal, 13.4% children in Bangladesh were engaged in child labour.Children work mainly in agriculture, carpet weaving, sporting goods, stone quarrying, mining, brick kilns, domestic work

Most of the children in worst forms of child labour are also victims of trafficking. Trafficking is largely understood in the context of commercial sexual exploitation. More efforts are required to understand child trafficking for forced labour. Since trafficking is a mode of recruiting children for exploitative work, any effort to eliminate child labour must also address trafficking for forced labour.

An estimated 200,000 persons are trafficked into, within or through India every year as per the U.S. Dept. of State, and this doesn’t include trafficking within the country. No concrete figures on trafficking from Nepal and Bangladesh are present. Yet thousands of children from these countries and within the country are trafficked to work in zari embroidery sweatshops, jewellery units, domestic child labour, forced beggary and other unorganised sectors.

While child labour must be viewed with the additional perspective of child trafficking, the other intricately linked dimensions must not be neglected. Child labour, illiteracy and poverty exist in a triangular relationship where each is a cause and consequence of the other two leading to a vicious downward spiral. Child labour not only denies children of their present but also robs them of their future, by perpetuating illiteracy and poverty. Education is the bridge to a brighter future and a prosperous life and thus overall development, as laid down in the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs related to children’s education (MDG 2 and 3) necessarily require the elimination of child labour for their achievement. In fact, education is the single most important factor that hastens the achievement of the other goals related to poverty and health. It is thus a necessity to ensure that children are redirected to school from work.

South Asian region has been the leader in evolving diverse strategies and developing models to eliminate child labour and provide education for all. From the initiation of mass mobilisation, networking with partners, coordination of government efforts, interlinking child labour

elmination, education for all and poverty alleviation measures to promoting consumer awareness and ethical trade practices, South Asia has shown the way to combat child labour.

This is being accomplished by various organisations and agencies including governments and the civil society. In this context, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) and Global March Against Child Labour want to initiate a two stage process of identifying and sharing the good practices prevalent in the field. In the first stage, a Regional Consultation on the “Good practices in the elimination of child labour and trafficking of children for forced labour” on 26 September, 2007 is being organised by BBA and Global March with The support ofIndian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC).


The Regional Consultation has the following as its objectives:

To promote and reinforce the good practices, success stories, case studies and achievements in the elimination of child labour and child trafficking for forced labour and in providing education for all.

To promote partnership among the various stakeholders on child labour, child trafficking and education

To promote the replication of the good practices.

Good Practices

Any good practice, in this context, is that which enables a child to be removed from a situation of child labour and puts and keeps him/her in school. Any practice that not only facilitates this but also targets the underlying problems of poverty, sustainability is also a part of the solution. The broad categories of intervention that have been identified for the sake of the good practices are:

Direct action for victims’ assistance & Legal enforcement and intervention: Child labourers could either be rescued from work or withdrawn through persuasion or government directives. Direct action involves networking with various stakeholders, detailed planning and timely implementation. Prosecution through the various legal measures is the first step of any direct intervention. Thus direct intervention is not possible without legal enforcement. Legal measures are the first step for the removal of children from work. It takes away the right of the employer to employ a child and also obliges them to stick by the law, which would act as a strong deterrent measure. The linkage with rehabilitation (statutory as well as centre based) is as important. It is necessary for organisations to learn about these tactics related to the withdrawal/rescue of child labourers.

Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation could be divided into various components- statutory and centre based being the primary ones. Centre based rehabilitation is the focus of this theme. In the intial stages of withdrawal/rescue, child labourers need psycho-social counseling. This coupled with education/vocational training leading to empowerment is the focus of rehabilitation. Similarly, strong reintegration measures are required.

Education: Education is the most important tool to eliminate child labour. It is also the basic rehabilitative measure provided to child labourers. Formal education, non-formal and bridge courses are all means of rehabilitation. The success of the various education measures would enrich the knowledge base of all organisations.

Child participation: Creating an atmosphere that facilitates children to express their views on issues related to them and their immediate environment enables them to become responsible citizens. Practices that enable this are carried out by several organisations and the consultation aims to be a platform for sharing these practices to help build networks besides enriching the knowledge base.

Corporate social responsibility and ethical trade practices of businesses: Increasingly, Corporate Social Responsibility has taken various forms of community benefit. For the purpose of identifying good practices, we could CSR into two: a) how can businesses and industries that employ child labour at any point in the supply chain evolve child friendly measures? How can these be replicated to come up with an industrial code of conduct? b) What are the various measures that businesses are undertaking with respect to elimination of child labour and providing education for all?

Mass mobilisation: Organisations mobilise the necessary target groups that they work with in a manner that the results are sustained by the groups and replicated by others. The more the reach of an organisation, the wider its influence and acceptance of its practices. This is the goal towards which organisations work in order to widen their reach and effect.  

In the second stage, we are proposing a second conference on the good practices within 3-6 months of the Regional Consultation, where the success stories and practices in the aforesaid 6 areas would be rewarded. In this process, we would be inviting the case stories and practices from all stakeholders in each of the 6 areas (or a combination of the areas or any other exemplary practice). We are requesting a 3-member jury of outstanding individuals with a long track record and experience in this field to examine these practices. They will then select one best practice from each of the 6 areas. These chosen practices would then be rewarded in the second conference, published and widely disseminated. 


NGOs, state government officials, inter-governmental agencies, corporates and organisations working on the issue of child labour, bonded labour and child trafficking, would take part in this consultation. With the regional nature of the problem of trafficking for forced labour and similar situations of child labour, regional network of organizations in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh would also be invited.


Wednesday, 26 September, 2007


Conference Hall,


7, Lodi Road,

New Delhi-110003

Ph: 011-24361745


Bachpan Bachao Andolan
L-6, Kalkaji,
New Delhi 110 019
Tel: +91 11 2622 4899, 2647 5481
Fax: +91 11 2623 6818
Email: info@bba.org.in
Website: www.bba.org.in