The Guardian: “How child labour in India makes the paving stones beneath our feet”

“Despite promises of reform, exploiation remains endemic in India’s sandstone industry, withchildren doing dangerous work for low pay –often to decorate drivways and gards thousands of miles away.”

By Romita Saluja


Sonu and his mother work eight hours a day, usually six days a week, making small paving stones, many of which are exported to the UK, North America and Europe. Sonu began working after his father died of the lung disease silicosis in 2021. “First, he made five stones, then 10, and then he quit school to work full-time,” his mother said. The pair sit on a street close to their home, amid heaps of sandstone rubble, chiselling rocks into rough cubes of rugged stone. Sonu is paid one rupee – less than a penny – for each cobblestone he produces. These stones have a retail value of about £80 a square metre in the UK.


Read the story here.


[Published in The Guardian March 28, 2024]