Ethics Case Study – 42


Child labourers are exploited, exposed to hazardous work conditions and paid a pittance for their long hours of work.

Forced to forego education, shouldering responsibilities far beyond their years, becoming worldly- wise when their peers have yet to leave the cocoons of parental protection, these children never know what childhood is.

That children have to work is sad, but that they should work in conditions dangerous to their health and safety is totally unacceptable.

Nor can the problem of child labour be left un-tackled until economic conditions and social structures are fundamentally improved.

The child workers have no shelter, no food and no education. They run the risk of contracting various ailments and skin diseases.

They are vulnerable to exploitation by almost anyone-the employer, the parents, the cops, and even the common man. They become easy targets of drug pushers. They are even sexually abused.

A large number of the child workers are virtually confined in small rooms under inhuman conditions and in the most unhygienic surroundings.

Most of these children come from extremely poor households. They are either school drop-outs or have not seen any school at all.

They earn a very meagre wage and work in most unsafe conditions.

The hazardous conditions take their toll. Children suffer from lung diseases, tuberculosis, eye diseases, asthma, bronchitis and backaches.

Some are injured in fire accidents. Many become unemployable even at the age of 20. If injured or incapacitated, they are discarded mercilessly by their employers.

Toiling long hours for a pittance, these little breadwinners accept exploitation as a way of life. They only know their sorrows.

Silent acceptance is writ large on their faces. Each day adds more to their growing numbers.

Though it is true that labour helps children in their survival, should the children be made to pay for the government’s inability to provide alternative employment or inability to curb poverty?

Should they be forced to inhabit an adult world, bear adult responsibilities, and suffer abysmal exploitation?

  1. a) Discuss the steps to get rid of child labour in India.
  2. b) What are the social and economic consequences of abolishing child labour in India?

25 marks / 300 words.

Please write the answer in comments section

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