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Conducted by

Karunalaya Social Service Society

108, Seniamman Koil Street, Tondiarpet, Chennai 600 081.



Conducted by

Karunalaya Social Service Society

108, Seniamman Koil Street, Tondiarpet, Chennai 600081

Supported by

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

New Delhi, India.

Introduction Karunalaya Social Service Society is a recognized voluntary organization working for the protection and development of street and working children in Chennai City for the past 16 years. Karunalaya provides shelter home for runaway street children and offers counseling, education, health care, family tracing and reunification. Rescue and enrollment of children working in the fishing industry in the formal school through transit school programme and empowerment of street youth and women in the slums and pavement dwelling families are the other core areas of intervention. Prevention and progressive elimination of child labour is one of the core focus areas in protecting the rights of the children. The recent campaign initiative of Karunalaya last year through the childrens clubs opened up the truth that many children were still employed in various organized and unorganized sectors in North Chennai, one of which is the textile stores. Karunalaya planned to address this persistent issue with a creative initiative, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in India, through the Project for Child Labour Prevention and Intervention in North Chennai. The exact number of children employed in this part of the city is not known. Moreover the efforts in the past have been on identification of child labour through house to house survey and enrolment in school and not directly concentrating at the Work place and employers. Through this Rapid Assessment Study, it was planned to identify the Child Labour Employing Industries and Establishments in various sectors and the number of children employed and to sensitize the employers and other stake holders to prevent employing children as labourers. Objective of Identification of child labour The main objective of identification of child labour is to identify the industries that employ children as labourers in North Chennai and the type of work children are engaged in and the type of industry which employs children the most. This will help us to remove children from labour force and to ensure that such industries will not employ children in the future through advocacy, lobby and sensitization programme of the project. It is not our intention to enumerate child labour through survey, as it is not a simple task and would require a huge man power and financial inputs to do so. Therefore a rapid assessment study was conducted with the following objectives;

a) To enlist the list of industries employing children based on the observation and peer information from former child labourers b) To identify the type of work children are engaged in such industries. c) To identify which type of industry engages child labour the most. d) To identify the areas from where children come for employment. e) To implement child labor prevention and intervention project activities among such employers. f) To carry plan for Advocacy and Lobby amongst the employers to rescue child workers and to prevent children being employed in the future. The simple rapid assessment research on the industries employing child labour was handled by experience social workers and field staff having experience of conducting different types of surveys regarding child abuse, domestic violence and gender studies. Moreover students from different colleges may also be requested as volunteers for the observation study. The realization of the above objective will enable to propose remedial measures against employing children and to educate its consequences to the parents and employers in North Chennai.

Though a number of studies have been carried out in the past on the topic, they have been done in different context, culture, community and background. Replicating the same design for the present study was found to be unsuited being a different locale with unique characteristics and the hidden nature. Instead of house hold surveys and establishment surveys, a rapid assessment study with purposive sampling technique has been adopted due to the hidden nature of the situation, for the study. UNIVERSE The universe of the present study includes the children employed in organized and unorganized industries in North Chennai who are below 14 years of age, boys and girls.

LOCALE OF CHILD LABOURERS IDENTIFIED The North Chennai is known for underdevelopment with slums and innumerable unorganized sector, while the South Chennai is the habitation for elites of the city and center of technology and fashion, and the Central Chennai known for various educational institutions, universities, and the government secretariat. The identification of child labour was limited to North Chennai and further limited to the following areas in north Chennai. S.NO. 1 2 Royapuram MC Road Area Street Name Adam Sahib street, Singara thottam, Telugu chetty street Narayanapan Naiken street, Perambalu street, Nallapar Vathiyar street, Andiappan street J.P. Koil street, Ranga Thottam street Kalingaranjan street A.E. Koil street, Cross road, Jeeva nagar, Irusappa Maistry street, Avoor muthaiha street, Pondithangammal street, Rathna Sababathy street Varatharaja Perumal street, Solaiappan street, Cement road, Sanjeevarayan Koil street, Ramanuja Iyer street, Bharath theatre bus stop, Old washermenpet market, Mayor babudev street, Venkatapathi street, N.N. Garden, Aandiappan street, Marikandan street, Valluvan street, Nataraja Mudali street, Vijayaragavelu street, Narayana Vathiyar street, J.P koil street. V.O.C. nagar, T.H. Road, Rettai kuli street, Mottai thottam, Tondiarpet market, Agastiya theatre, Varadaraja perumal koil street, Vaidhiyanathan street, Appasamy street, Tondiarpet railway station Perumal Koil Thottam, Vijayaragavelu street, Mannapa muthali street, Samiyar thottam, Elaya street, RadhaKrishnan street, Appasamy street, Rk nagar high road, Anna nagar 3rd street, Sunnabu kalvai, Korukupet high road, Ennore high road, Harinarayanapuram, Stanley Nagar main road, driver colony, Manoj salai

New Washermenpet

Old Washermenpet

Tondiarpet & Clock Tower



8 9 10 11

Mint Kalmandapam Kasimedu Mannady/ Broadway

Main road, sundara pallayam, bojaraja Nagar, tiyagaraja street, amman koil street, ajis nagar, sundram pillai nagar, durga devi nagar, devikarumariyamman koil st,manali road. Sowcarpet, Nainiyappan Mastiry, Bunder street, Stringer street, Narayana Mudaliyar street, Govindappan Naicker street, Rasappa chetty street, Anderson street, Annapillai street, Paramandha Mudhaliar street, Big uttandi street, Marimuthu Lane, Pookadai Bus stand, NSC Bose road, Vengu Street, Nainiyappa Naicker street, Maliya Perumal street, Moorthy Lane, Kasichetty street, Devaraj Mudaliyar street, prakasam street, Godown street, Mint street, Portuguese church street, Annaikaram street West Kalmandapam, Pudumanaikuppam Philips Road, Erabalu street Singama Naicker street, Mannady street, Thambu chetty street, Shanmugarayan street, Portuguese street, Lingi chetty street, Ramasami street Near RPF Police Station


Waltax Road


The rapid assessment study of identification of child labour was conducted using Non participant observation method and purposive random sampling technique in choosing the area of observation as the identification itself was conducted on an exploration for over 4 months. Identification process A meeting was conducted among the community people to get the areas where children are employed. From this a list was prepared. Discussion was held with the project staff about the areas where children are employed.

Collected information from peer groups who were former child labourers. Guidelines, Rules for child labour identification were framed for the staff regarding dos and donts in the field. Ethical standards were also discussed to protect the identity and safety of children and for the safety of the field staff. We focused the listed areas and involved in identification. Photographs were taken where it was possible, for documentation and authentication purpose. The industries in which most children were engaged were indentified. The type of work the children were employed were identified. In order to identify children employed in North Chennai, a detailed plan was prepared with the help of the experienced social workers and field staff members. The situation demanded that the identification need to be nonintrusive due to the hidden nature of the situation, while photo documentation also demanded the same strategy to ensure a level of authenticity and proof of the child labour situation, upholding ethical standards. Since the employers are much aware of child labour issues and the consequences of law, they are much vary of unknown people and were resistant. The identification was planned to be completed a couple of months before but due to the resistant situation, it took more time. Data Processing and analysis The identified industry and the name of the industry, shop, unit was noted along with the address and the type of work the children are employed. Then the child was photographed nonintrusive as proof, with all ethical concerns addressed and identity protected. The datas were fed into the computer and the same was updated every day based on the field staffs report. The identifications authenticity was then verified by supervision visit to cross check the identified data with that of the physical situation, when matched the data was taken confirmed. Photographs were also verified confirmed and ensured for documentation. Thus the consolidated data was tabled in a simple table form with the percentile depiction of the results which forms part of the major findings. Problems in Data Collection Since the employers are much aware of child labour issues and the consequences of law, they were much vary of unknown people and were resistant. We went like customers to the shops to find the children and to get information.

Owners were hiding the children in godowns Some shops do not have correct address Children were wandering from one shop to another so it was difficult for the staff to find out the actual shop where the child was employed. Owners and Neighbouring shop owners started to attack the staff while taking photo. Since owners were alert it was difficult to take photo from the absence of the owner. The identification was planned to be completed a couple of months before but due to the resistant situation, it took more time. Since camera cannot be used we used several methods like pen camera and mobile phones for documentation. In most of the places the researchers had to pose as customers and buy a sample item to ensure smooth identification of children employed there in. Limitation of the Study Identification of child labourers were conducted on an exploratory basis and therefore the findings does not cover the entire north Chennai industry. The very objective of Rapid assessment study is for collecting information on children in hidden forms of child labour. The output is mainly qualitative and descriptive and limited to a small geographical area. The areas identified were only selective on purposive random sampling basis; therefore it does not authenticate the holistic situation of child labour in North Chennai. But the identification shows the depth of the issue and broadens the scope of such initiative to answer the questions of the number of children employed and the types of industries employing children in north Chennai, the areas from where children come for employment.

Major Findings S.No 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Textiles Mechanic / Automobile Departmental/ Provisional Store Tea/ Cool Drinks Shop Hardware/Chemicals/Traders

Type of Sector

Total No. Children 70 66 42 24 21

Percentage 18.8 17.7 11.3 6.4 5.6

6. 7. 8. 9.

Steel Works/ Company Metal / Vessels Plastic Enterprises Hotel/ Tiffin Centre

16 14 13 12 11 10 8 7 6 6 6 6 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 371

4.3 3.7 3.5 3.2 2.9 2.6 2.1 1.8 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.3 1.1 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 100

10. Cycle Shop 11. Sweet Stall 12. Welding Shop 13. Waste Paper Company 14. Mutton/ Chicken Stall 15. Flower Shop 16. Agencies/Shoe Shop 17. Book center/Stationeries/Binding 18. Ply Wood 19. Fancy/ Bag/ Medical 20. Vegetables 21. Electrical/ Sound Service 22. Paani Puri 23. Marine 24. Saloon Shop 25. TASMAC 26. Glass Work 27. Flour Mill 28. Tailor Shop 29. Photo Studio 30. Sewing Machine 31. Bakery 32. Paint Shop Total

Majority (18.7%) of the children are employed in Textiles. They involve in sales, Packing & canvassing. 17.7 % of the children are working in Mechanic / automobile, they work as helper.

11.3% of the children are employed in Departmental/ Provisional Stores. 6.4% of the children are working in Tea/ Cool Drinks Shop. They do cleaning and serving tea to nearby shops. The study has found that 371 children have been employed in the specific areas of north Chennai. Out of which, the study has revealed that, textile stores and godowns employ children the most with 18.8% (70 children) out 371. This could be due to the fact that GA road is known for the textile stores where the entire stretch of the road has a wholesale and retail market for textiles, this industry employs children. Children are engaged for sales, packing, sorting and canvassing customers to their shop. The next type of industry that employ children is the automobile mechanic shops 66 children out of 371 in which 17.7% employed as helpers. The departmental store has 11.3%, tea and cool drinks shop employs 6.4%, hardware traders, steel and metal industries, plastic and hotel industries employ children in significant number. The other industries listed may appear insignificant in numbers, the rapid assessment nature of the study brought out the tip of the ice bergs and the type of work children engaged in some of these industries are hazardous in nature particularly in the Mutton and chicken centre, welding works, TASMAC, electrical sound service and plywood industries that involves dangerous equipments harmful to physical and moral safety. Nature of Employment The average Hours of work was about 10 hours a day. The shops in which children are employed and their nature of work is listed below Textiles Sales, Packing, Sorting and Canvassing Mechanic/ Automobile Cleaning, Oiling, errand Departmental/provision stores Loading, Packing, Home delivery Tea/ Cool Drinks Shop Dish washing, glass cleaning, tea delivering Hardware/Chemicals/Traders cleaning & delivery Steel Works polishing, packing, counting Meta/vessels - polishing, packing, counting Plastic shop counting, packing Hotels dishwashing , table cleaning, serving Cycle shop oiling, cleaning

Sweet stall- sales Welding shop helper Waste paper shop sorting the materials Mutton chicken stall cleaning, cutting Flower garlanding, sales Shoe Shop sales, cleaning, sorting, packing Binding pasting, counting Plywood sorting the waste material Fancy Stores / Bag stores / Medical shop sales , packing, dusting Vegetables sales Electrical / Sound Service - helper Paani Puri - sales Marine cleaning and helper Saloon cleaning , sweeping Tasmac delivery, helper Glass work wiping Flour mill cleaning , sweeping , helper Tailor stitching button , cleaning Photo studio cleaning Sewing Machine - sales Bakery packing , helper Paint shop - helper Though the Child labour (prohibition and regulation) Act 1986 prohibits employment of children below 14 years of age in any hazardous industry, the regulation of other type of industry is not effectively implemented. The unorganized nature of the industries violates the law and the rights of children. Some of the type of industries and establishments are hazardous in nature even though they are unorganized and small scale units. The hours of work and the regulations of the work place as per the Act are non existent. Hygiene, health care, physical and moral safeties of the children are no guarantee in such work environment. The employers, when asked about why children are employed, they replied that they were requested as a help for their family, therefore they employ them as a measure of support.

Most of the employers are aware of the law and the prohibition of child labour but they continue to employ children and are vary of any intrusion from unknown people. They are even prepared to hide the children or send them away if they suspect people and the intrusive environment. Rescuing children form child labour is not an easy task, rescue protocol and the team with the will and skill is required for effective enforcement and sincere prevention and rehabilitation. Recommendations 1. Child labourers in these industries/establishments should be rescued forthwith and placed in educational programmes 2. The parents of the child labourers shall be provided alternative job opportunities 3. The mothers of child labourers shall be encouraged to join women self help groups and benefit from the micro credit facilities for entrepreneurship initiatives 4. The Government shall formulate protocol/guidelines for rescue of child labourers in line with the protocol/guidelines for rescuing bonded child labourers 5. The Rescue team shall be set up and make them operational to rescue child labourers for appropriate rehabilitation 6. Awareness and sensitization programmes need to be initiated to motivate employers to stop employing children. 7. The employers need to be sensitized not to employ children, rather help children to go to school. 8. Industry and Establishment Monitoring need to be strengthened by the Government on the identified industries and establishments to prevent children being employed. 9. The most important recommendation is to define a child as a person below 18
years of age in all the legislations and to declare all forms of child labour as

hazardous and repeal the present child labour act which regulates child labour.


Conclusion The term child labour reflects the engagement of children in prohibited work and, more generally, in types of work to be eliminated as socially and morally undesirable as guided by national legislation, the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), as well as their respective supplementing Recommendations (Nos 146 and 190). Child labour may be measured in terms of the engagement of children in productive activities. In the context of India, The right to education Act should be the basis for protection of child rights and based on that context, any type of child labour shall be viewed as

hazardous and depriving fundamental right to life under article 21 A of the Constitution of India. The best investment we can ever make for our country is educating our children with equity and good conscience without discrimination. Though poverty is cited as the cause of child labour in India, in a city like Chennai, poverty is not the major cause, but the socio-cultural situation in the family plays an important role, which reflects in the lifestyle, habits, myths and misconceptions. Children are pushed and pulled into labour. Some parents also feel that a formal education is not useful, and that children learn work skills through working. Children grow up illiterate because they are working and not attending school. There is a need to deal with the underlying causes of child labour and the enforcement of laws. This rapid assessment study has brought out the types of industry that employ children, more needs to be done in terms of rescuing them and ensuring education of all these children.