Hyderabad turns into child labour capital

TNN | Nov 11, 2013, 12.55 AM IST

HYDERABAD: While the state government is yet to fully set up the much delayed child rights commission for the welfare of minors, child labour continues to be rampant in Andhra Pradesh with a large number of cases being reported from the twin cities.

Last month, a child rights organisation conducted a raid in Miyapur and found 22 children working for commercial establishments. Mahita, an NGO, found many children employed at hotels, grocery shops and even liquor stores. Another organisation working in this area 'rescued' 216 child workers from across the city in the past three months. According to its findings, 97 were girl children, many of who were also found to be victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Recent raids in several pockets of the city have exposed existence of active rackets who supply child labourers to be employed as domestic help, workers at construction sites and at commercial establishments.

"Most of these children are migrants who have come from states like Odisha and Bihar. Some of the girl children have been forced into begging by middlemen who brought them to the city. With the geographical expansion of the city, the scope to drag children into various forms of illegal employment has also increased," said Swarup Kumar, official at Mahita. In a survey done by the group last year, it was found that 8,000 underaged children were employed as domestic help in the city.

As per the 2001 census, AP has the dubious distinction of being the second largest employer of children with the figure touching about 13.63 lakh. In addition, a few more thousand child beggars are estimated to be found in the Greater Hyderabad region. Hundreds of these children, forced to live in deplorable conditions, die every year due to lack of proper healthcare.

"Many times the same children keep getting rescued because their families send them back to work to help support them financially. The most unfortunate situation is that many educated and working professionals also hire such children to work as domestic helps," said child rights activist, Achyuta Rao.