In many countries, child labour is mainly an agricultural issue. Worldwide 60 percent of all child labourers in the age group 5-17 years’ work in agriculture, including farming, fishing, aquaculture, forestry, and livestock. This amounts to over 98 million girls and boys. The majority (67.5%) of child labourers are unpaid family members. In agriculture, this percentage is higher and is combined with very early entry into work, sometimes between 5 and 7 years of age. Agriculture is one of the three most dangerous sectors in terms of work-related fatalities, non-fatal accidents and occupational diseases. About 59 percent of all children in hazardous work aged 5–17 are in agriculture.
In this context, NAPP Sugar Network of India progressed to ‘Say No to Child Labour’ and ideated on the protection policy for children and vulnerable adults during the month of October 2018.
The discussions were loaded with definitions of various terminologies that led to protection issues, understanding child rights, the importance of education for children of seasonal migrant, traditional practice of engaging children in agricultural activities, role of youth within the community and contribution of women in this sector.
Few highlights were:
- Drafting policy on child protection and vulnerable adults in the local language.
- Originating “Sugar Camps” focusing on ensuring ‘Education for children’ of seasonal migrants in the sugar sector in two districts of Karnataka, India as a pilot project.
- YICBMR program for a sustainable approach to insist and install “Protection Mechanism” within the community.
NAPP – Sugar Network members have sturdily engaged in the process and are expected to build awareness on the policy post the finalization of the policy. This forum looks a promising space for NAPP to address child labour issues at the State and National policies and programs and its monitoring activities.