August 2017 Report
India is the largest exporter of granite in the world, supplying to many building companies abroad, including 22 western companies. Recent research has found evidence that 7 of 22 quarries had child labour issues, and a further 12 with evidence of debt slavery.
3 Dutch firms who supply granite for worktops for kitchen suppliers, window sills for the building industry and stone tiles for gardens, floors and bathrooms, are taking action to stop the abuse. Dutch stone importers association, VNNI, note that ‘the quarries are in remote areas and there is often no school nearby so parents take their children with them to the quarry.’
According to a recent survey by the Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children (PCVC), in Jaipur -- about 650 children below 14 years were found working as labourers at various establishments including roadside shops, eateries, garages and general stores.
“A large number of shopkeepers are unaware about the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, and on educating them, they agreed not to engage children in work,” said the council. And “during a follow-up in May, it was found that 300 children were withdrawn from work, which was a positive sign of awareness among employers.”
The number was less because of ‘Operation Milaap’ launched by the police department; under the drive, police rescued children by raiding shops and factories, and united them with their families.
It is great to hear that they are enforcing child labour laws, more so than in many other regions, but is this the real solution to the problem? Where will these kids go instead and will their families have sufficient income?
The ILO and UNICEF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Dhaka, agreeing to reinforce collaborations in Bangladesh to combat child labour and strengthen child protection services.
In a press statement, UNICEF representative commented: “Combining the expertise, reach and influence of both UNICEF and ILO will play a critical role in ensuring achievement of the government of Bangladesh's goal of eliminating child labour by 2025, improving well-being of children and women and ensuring progress in other important areas for children.”