Child Labour Laws: Addressing Gaps In Legislation To Safeguard The Right Of Children


Child labor has persisted as a significant challenge, particularly in developing nations, despite efforts to address it through legislation and initiatives. Its historical presence spans not only impoverished regions of developing countries but also extends to developed nations until the early 20th century. Despite global attempts to eradicate child labor, it remains widespread. In India, the issue is deeply entrenched, with poverty serving as a major driver. While child labor occurs in both urban and rural areas, its prevalence is notably higher in rural regions, largely due to elevated poverty levels. Many impoverished rural families migrate to urban centers in pursuit of improved prospects, often resulting in the exploitation of their children for additional income and sustenance. This research paper aims to comprehensively explore the various facets of child labor discrimination, with a particular focus on its manifestation in India. Through critical analysis, it seeks to shed light on the complex dynamics underlying this pervasive issue and offer insights for potential interventions and policy reform.

Keywords: child labour, forms, factors, discrimination.


“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its Children.” – Nelson Mandela

As per the International Labour Organization (ILO), child labor is described as any form of work that robs children of their childhood, potential, and dignity, and is detrimental to their physical and mental development. It encompasses tasks that pose mental, physical, social, or moral risks to children, preventing them from attending school, forcing them to leave school prematurely, or compelling them to balance school attendance with excessively long and strenuous work.

UNICEF reports that there are around 10.1 million children engaged in child labor in India presently. This constitutes roughly 13% of the workforce, meaning one out of every ten workers in India is a child. These children are entitled to legal protections and guaranteed access to education and mid-day meals until they reach the age of 14.

Child labor remains a pressing social issue in our country, requiring serious attention from policymakers, government agencies, academics, and researchers across various disciplines, particularly law. There is a need to assess whether existing laws are adequate in addressing this issue or if they merely serve as superficial efforts to show a commitment to eradicating child labor, while allowing its continued prevalence to meet market demands. Child labor impedes economic development and perpetuates poverty by depriving underprivileged children of education and opportunities for social advancement. It persists not only in its current forms but also in evolving dimensions. The current laws aim to restrict and regulate rampant child labor practices occurring in various sectors including industry, domestic work, and commerce. from economic factors like poverty or if it’s also influenced by societal attitudes and norms, leading to its persistence despite decades of legislative efforts and social policies aimed at eradication.

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Author: Jaismeen Kaur