To curb child labour: DCPCR comes out with new guidelines

New Delhi: The Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has now asked factory owners and market/resident welfare associations to not employ child labour, especially considering the labour shortage that is likely to hit the Capital owing to the large exodus of migrant workers due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

The child rights body has come up with a new set of guidelines to curb child labour and trafficking in times of the Coronavirus pandemic, which include a proposal to have dedicated anti-child trafficking units at the district level, headed by a DCP and assisted by the Deputy Labour Commissioner, who can keep a record of offending employers.

"As migrant labourers are leaving Delhi, possibilities are that when factories, shops will be fully functional, owners of these establishments may employ child labourers and their families who are in Delhi to scale up their production work. We have come up with the guidelines to ensure the protection of children from trafficking and labour work," said Roop Sudesh Vimal, member DCPCR.

According to the guidelines, "It is very unfortunate that despite the plethora of laws which seek to prohibit child labour and child trafficking, many children are still engaged as domestic workers/ or in some establishments or forced into prostitution and their cases usually don't get reported to the Government Bodies. The traffickers, placement agents take advantage of their compromised situation and earn huge profit due to which minor children suffer tremendously."

The guidelines suggested at least SHO-ranked officers should hold sensitisation meetings with RWAs and MWAs to focus on child labour, trafficking and its legal consequences. "The rehabilitation amount of Rs 20,000 per child to be procured from employers who engage child labour (up to the age of 14 years) in a prohibited process and occupations as defined in Child Labour Act 1986 could also be the point of discussion. Issues like tracking, the role of touts, information gathering network, child labour helpline, success stories, liaising with various NGOs shall be imparted in such meetings," the guidelines added.

The beat constables should be regular in touch with MWAs and RWAs in order to fetch the information if any child being employed. Even if there is no information on the engagement of child labour, the meeting must take place to create a sense of fear amongst offending potential employers/traffickers.

Guidelines added that police should treat rescued children with respect and dignity and that the concerned area ACP should always at least be aware of rescue operations. "The SJPU representative of the concerned district who handles the prosecution process must be trained and oriented on the issue of child protection and rights," the guidelines read, adding that police training schools must incorporate modules on Child Rights and Child Protection issues into the training programmes.

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