Child Labor touches many other products.

A Better Brick: Addressing Child Labor in Nepal’s Brick-Making Industry

bricks

 

 

By Deborah Andrews

Prior to the April 2015 earthquake, Nepal was in the midst of a construction boom that was struggling to keep up with the rapidly increasing population and urbanization trends. After the earthquake, the need to rebuild further increased the demand for bricks. For workers on Nepal’s kilns, the brick industry played a much needed role as a source of income for unskilled labor, although the industry has been characterized by exploitative employment practices.

The Global Fairness Initiative (GFI) with its partners – GoodWeave International, Brick Clean Group Nepal (BCN) and Humanity United (HU) – recognized the importance of the sector and saw an  opportunity to create incentives based partnerships to bring improvements to an informal, migrant, working population with little government representation or oversight. A project named Better Brick Nepal (BBN)’ is paving the way for nationwide change throughout the brick kiln industry.

 

Here are the top 10 facts you need to know:

  1. The number of kilns currently operating in Nepal is thought to be between 1,200 and 3,000 –with a large number of unregistered kilns. Many kilns exist on the periphery of communities where there is little government oversight, community organization or worker association representation which leaves the workers wide open to exploitative practices.
  1. Approximately 250,000 people are thought to work annually in kilns throughout Nepal, of that as many as 60,000 are children. Brick workers are largely an unskilled, migrant population. Most are migrating from within Nepal, but some are from northern India, resulting in many children living temporarily in a community which speaks a different language to their own and being part of a school system which is completely different and non-transferable – if the school is willing to take them in at all. A number of educational deficits take place.

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The Real Cost of Cheap Goods is High: The Scary Truth Behind Some Christmas Ornaments

With the holidays upon us, many American look forward to trimming their Christmas tree and spending time with their loved ones, especially their children. For many kids, Christmas invokes the happiest of memories, but not all kids are so lucky.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is now the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, noted earlier this month that many children in India are virtually enslaved in sweatshops that manufacture Christmas ornaments. Check out what Brown had to say in this video and learn about the “nightmare” suffered by Indian children who make ornaments for consumers in the U.S. and other countries in the Western hemisphere.

In the video, Brown talks about a rescue raid by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) which freed 14 of the child laborers—some as young as eight—from a sweatshop in Delhi. BBA, like the Child Labor Coalition is a member of the Global March Against Child Labor, an international umbrella group that works to reduce the worst forms of child labor.

“Children are being asked to work 17, 18, 19 hours a day,” said Brown. “They are being asked to work in unsanitary conditions. They are being asked to work without sunlight. Some of them are lacerated because they are working with glass. We found these children in this basement, they were not being paid, they had been trafficked…” Several children had been beaten by their crew leaders. The rescuers actually found 12 of the children imprisoned in a locked 6-foot  by 6-foot cell

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Roadblocks to Child Labor Elimination in India

VASUDHA VENUGOPAL [from The Hindu 2.13.2012]

The HinduA child at a brick kiln in Tiruvallur. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Every evening on the Marina, 10-year-old Karunakaran is among the several who urge visitors to buy a packet of pattani sundal. Around 5 p.m., he returns home from school, picks up the basket of 50 sundal packets and rushes to the beach eagerly looking for a ‘certain anna’ who lets him play snake game on his mobile phone. In Pudupet, another boy, Raj, struggles with bolts at an automotive spare-part manufacturing unit. ‘Fifteen’ he says in a seemingly trained way, the moment you ask him anything about his age. Originally from Rajasthan, he really hopes to get out of the unit, and be employed in a house, “like my cousin, a 14-year-old who works in a house in George Town here.”

Anything that interferes with the development of the child – that is the UN definition of Child Labour. And by this standard there are innumerable children in and around the city, employed in various professions, some grappling to come out, and some with no control over the situation.

The Labour Department has been regularly sending teams to industrial units to rescue child labourers but sources feel there is a concerted effort against such drives from employers who often manage to get parents on their side. The mobile education drive started by the department to identify children on the street and take them into fold of education is no longer functional either.

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Factory owner beats 10-yr-old worker to death

Indrani Basu, TNN | Apr 18, 2011, 04.24am IST [from the Times of India:]

NEW DELHI: Delhi was again confronted with the ugly truth of child labour in its midst when a 10-year-old migrant working in a beedi-making unit died after being allegedly beaten up by his employer. The boy was about to be buried on Sunday morning when an alert cemetery caretaker called the police.

Moin, who had come from Madhubani in Bihar, had blue bruises all over his body, the police said. It’s not clear whether he died of asphyxiation or of injuries received on Saturday night.

Kaleemullah, the owner of the beedi unit being run from a rented room in northwest Delhi’s Bharat Nagar, is absconding since Saturday night. Neighbours claimed that the child had been working there for almost two months.

”It appears that the suspect beat the child on Saturday night and when he died, fled the spot. The child had been bathed and wrapped in cloth as per burial rites and was taken to the cemetery by Kaleemullah’s brother and others. We are interrogating them to check if they knew about the cause of Moin’s death,” said a senior police officer.

The cops are now waiting for Moin’s family to arrive from Bihar. “After the family identifies him, we will get a postmortem done,” he said.… Read the rest