Eighty seven per cent of children in the age group of 14-18 in the State are working in the unorganised sector uncovered by an labour laws, according to a study conducted in 25 districts of the State.
The study, Understanding Adolescent Poverty in Tamil Nadu, was conducted by Little’s Trust – A Centre for Children, Madurai with the help of Samakalvi Iyakkam, Tamil Nadu and Child Relief and You (CRY) and was released in the city on Tuesday. The study says that most of these children work as daily wage earners in mills and construction sites, as domestic servants and restaurant boys, among others.
The study was conducted at the macro level, with a sample size of 2,436 respondents from 25 districts. According to the results, a majority of these adolescents don’t have access to the money they earn, with 72.9 per cent of the workers handing over their salary to their mothers, while 15.8 per cent claimed that their fathers collected their salary. A majority of the fathers spent the money on alcohol, said the study.
The study also brought to the fore the prevalence of bonded labour in the State. “We found that seven per cent of the respondents were working as bonded labourers,” said Little’s Trust – A Centre for Children, Madurai trustee T R Parvatha Varthini. “As per the definition of bonded labourers, adolescent children work for the advance amount received by their parents from their employers. It can range from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000,” she said.
Most of the study’s respondents are willing to go back to school and continue education, if given a chance. “They wanted to become someone ‘big’, like doctors, engineers, teachers, policemen,” she said.