Forced child labour and abandoned women in India

According to the International Labour Organization, about 160 million children are forced to work. Seventy-two million children are working in sub-Saharan Africa alone. The most severe causes of child labour include armed conflicts, crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme poverty and inadequate social protection measures. For example, in Cameroon, minors work as street vendors. In Mozambique, in a diamond mine, in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they work in gold mines and South Sudan as minor soldiers. In Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, more than 2 million children are involved in cocoa production.

The Sundarbans are the world’s largest mangrove forest and one of the most climate-sensitive places. Climate change has triggered population migrations and reduced people’s income from farming and fishing. Members of the local population are increasingly at risk of being involved in or becoming victims of child trafficking. That’s why Goranbose Gram Bikash Kendra (GGBK) educates women and children about the dangers of human trafficking and helps the police track missing people.

According to government officials and activists, tens of thousands of Indian women have been abandoned by their husbands who work abroad. Women are often imprisoned in their in-laws’ homes, following local social customs, with no access to their property. This is the case, for example, in Punjab, which has long been the centre of Indian emigration. Moreover, few specific legal remedies are available to women whose husbands flee abroad or return to work.

Previous issues