*This image is only for the representation purposes
Absence of a typical or socially acceptable level of wealth or material things is known as poverty. People are said to be in poverty when they lack the money and resources to meet their fundamental necessities like food, clothing, and shelter constitutes poverty. But poverty is much more than just a lack of resources. Hunger and homelessness are the two major symptoms of poverty. One of the main reasons for child labour is poverty. Child labour is any activity that robs kids of their innocence, potential, and dignity and is detrimental to their physical and mental growth.
It is the work that is mentally, physically, morally and socially dangerous to children. By denying children the chance to go to school, forcing them to leave early, or forcing them to try to balance school attendance with overly long and heavy employment. Child labour interferes with their education. The worst types of child labour entails youngsters being enslaved, separated from their families, uncovered to severe dangers and illnesses and left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age and the nature or the situation in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.
Child maltreatment is always a byproduct of child trafficking, which is also connected to child labour. All types of abuse—physical, mental, sexual, and emotional—are committed against trafficked children. Children who have been trafficked may be forced into prostitution, forced into marriage, or unlawful adoption. They may also be made to work as housemaids or beggars or offer cheap or unpaid labor. They may also be recruited into armed forces. Children who are victims of trafficking are exposed to violence, sexual assault, and HIV.
Child Labour And Its Impact On Mental Health
Child labour, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), is the unlawful exploitation of children that robs them of their youth, potential, and dignity and endangers their physical and mental development. Approximately one in ten children, or 160 million youngsters, are working as children worldwide, according to a UN report.
Child labour denies children their right to an education and, rather than breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, promotes it. While governments and other civil society organisations concentrate on getting kids out of these dangerous situations. Their emotional and psychological well-being is largely ignored. It is critical that there be a greater emphasis on the mental health of children. Who are affected by child work because the psychological impacts are just as severe as the physical ones.
A 2022 study discovered that children who experience child labour—long working hours, physical and verbal abuse—are more likely to experience mental problems in the future. Particularly, it has been discovered that some physical and mental health problems brought on by childhood employment can last into adulthood. Anxiety, depression, low confidence, antisocial behaviour, and lack of sleep are a few of the impacts. As a result of the toxic workplace environment they work in, the majority of them get post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, they are more likely to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance misuse, making them more susceptible to mental illnesses.
How To Prevent Child Labour
It is possible to prevent child employment and other types of exploitation by using comprehensive strategies that enhance access to and the standard of education, strengthen child protection systems. While also tackling poverty and inequality, and mobilise public support for upholding children’s rights.
1) Providing access to therapy
Children rescued from these working conditions frequently reject aid and deny experiencing any damage. Through counselling and therapy, it is possible to assist people comprehend and accept their circumstances. While also energising them to look forward to a brighter future. Services for mental health rehabilitation are now required by the Juvenile Justice Act. Professional counsellors for children affected by child labour are still lacking, especially in rural areas. It is crucial that these kids have access to resources for mental health in order to become better.
2) Improved access to education opportunities
Even if the National Child exploitation Project (NCLP) Scheme offers vocational training and other alternatives, there is still a need to expand the number of children rescued from child exploitation who have access to high-quality education. Comparing NCLP school students to their peers at Government schools, a recent study found that they had difficulties in school.
This study suggested increasing financing for these institutions to raise educational standards. However, the government made the decision to close NCLP schools across the country in March 2022. The youngsters were left in this plan during the pandemic and the recession. Their few educational options are no longer available. Many people have referred to the cancellation of this project as a “disaster.” The government needs to assess the academic needs of the children it has rescued and give them opportunity to pursue education.
3) Working to end poverty
One of the major reason of child labour is poverty. Children who live in households that are close to the poverty line are more likely to be encouraged to start working young in order to support the family. Improved and early detection of these families and their rehabilitation can aid in breaking the cycle of intergenerational child labour.
It is crucial that the children who have been rescued from servitude have good mental health. They must have access to counselling and therapy without facing prejudice based on caste, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. When we provide rescued children the tools and assistance they need to recover and enhance their quality of life, we may hopefully put a stop to the cycle of child labour.
Teachers and other members of the educational system can act as frontline protectors for kids and can notify other parties, such as social workers, when kids show signs of distress or suggest they work a lot of hours. In order to allow families to choose education over exploitative jobs, broader reforms in public policy are also necessary to get kids out of the workforce and into school.