Children of migrant labourers in the country are not only deprived of basic health, education, nutrition and security but also alarmingly exposed to exploitation and bonded labour.
A survey on “Status of children of migrant workers in seven cities of India”, conducted by Aide et Action across Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Patna has revealed that a significant number of children ended up as workers supporting their families in the worksites.
Around 12.17 per cent of the children were threatened and harassed at the worksites while 9.52 per cent met accident.
Around 0.54 per cent were beaten up by employers. The worksites had awful living conditions deprived of basic health, sanitation and education facilities. Around 39 per cent of the children were never enrolled in school and were frequently afflicted by fever, dysentery and skin diseases.
The study released here at a workshop organised in association with Barnard Van Leer Foundation assumes significance as the problem of migration is acute in Odisha with thousands moving out from the backward districts to work as bonded labour in other States.
The National Council for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has a special focus on issues of children affected by migration.
It is working with State Governments to deal with the issues.
“Approach to child issues has to be changed from welfare based to rights based,” said Chairperson of National Commission for Child Rights Protection Kushal Singh.
The workshop attended by former IAS Dhir Jhingran, Michael J Feigelson of Barnard Van Leer Foundation, Umi Daniel of Migration Information Resources Centre of Aide et Action and ILO representative Bharti Birla discussed issues on accessing education, protection and healthy environment both at source and destination areas.
Former State Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo also spoke.