17 October 2006

Child Labourers

More than 50 child labourers from several tribal villages in Jawadu hills were rescued in Tiruvannamalai by the Terre Des Home Core Trust over this last week.

The children, mostly girls, were about to be sent to cotton fields near Attur in the Salem District. The children who are between the ages 10-14 were compelled to give up their school studies to work. All the rescued children have now been handed over to the Child Welfare Committee.

A spokesman for the Terre Des Home Core Trust has reported that a member of their Trust keeps watch at Tiruvannamalai Bus Stand for incidents of child trafficking and that local people, (including auto rickshaw drivers) have also been asked to be vigilant in reporting cases of the suspicious transit of young children from the Bus Stand. The spokesman for the Trust reports that it has been their increased vigilance in Tiruvannamalai that has exposed this child trafficking trade and have insisted that action be taken against the perpetrators.

The main reason for the exodus of children from hill villages is poverty. Previously there have been sporadic instances of child labourers being rescued. But what makes this trafficking of young children to the cotton fields more serious is the inherent dangers of working in such heavily contaminated areas. For more information here is an extract from a report entitled: "Children's development undermined by pesticide use in India":

'A unique study investigated the chronic impacts of pesticides on children in India.

In 2003, researchers with Greenpeace India tested almost 900 children living in cotton-growing areas in six States for their developmental abilities, using a range of tests designed to measure analytical abilities, motor skills, concentration and memory. They found that children living in regions in which pesticides are widely used performed significantly worse in these various developmental abilities than children in a control group living elsewhere.

The investigation reveals that children from regions as diverse as Tamil Nadu and Punjab, who have nothing in common but their exposure to pesticides, appear to share an inability to perform simple play-based exercises; such as catching a ball or assembling a jigsaw puzzle; simply because they have been exposed to pesticides over a period of time.

Cotton uses some of the most highly toxic pesticides, including significant levels of organophosphates, which affect the nervous system. The quantities of chemicals applied are massive: while cotton occupies less than 5% of cultivated land in India, it uses more than 50% of all agricultural pesticides. India is a major user of pesticides . . .'

To read the full report please check link:


Divyakka said...

How awful! With India using all sorts of chemicals banned in other nations throughout the world, the effects on children (and indeed, all living beings) should not be a surprise.

What effect does the cotton chemicals have on cotton clothes?

Arunachala Living said...

I expect cotton chemicals don't have that much effect on cotton clothes because the cotton goes through so many processes before it is made into an outfit and worn.

If I find any information on this I will post it on this site.