Sunday, June 16, 2024

Somy Ali on World Child Labour Day

  • Somy Ali on World Child Labour Day: Child labour can result in extreme bodily and mental harm, even death… also lead to slavery, and sexual or economic exploitation

Many children all around the world are not just orphaned, deprived or tortured, but the alarming increase in child labour has been a point of concern. Their poor working conditions at a time when they are supposed to go to school is something that needs immediate attention. World Child Labour Day observed on June 12 aims at fuelling the movement against child labour worldwide. Actor turned humanitarian Somy Ali, who now runs her NGO No More Tears, opens up on the pressing issue.

“The International Labour Organisation states in its latest World Report on Child Labour (2020) that there are around 265 million working children in the world— almost 17 percent of the worldwide child population. Global estimates in 2022 showed an increase of 8.4 million children in child labour in the last four years and a 6.5 million increase in the number of children engaged in hazardous work. As these figures suggest, there are still far too many children in exploitive work,” she begins by stating the real statistics to highlight the gravity of the situation.

She adds, “Watching children working on the streets, railway stations etc is absolutely despicable and barbaric and I am being conservative in my phrasing here. Children belong in school not in workshops globally. It’s disgusting and appalling to even know that this exists. Child labour can result in extreme bodily harm and mental harm, and even death. It can lead to slavery and sexual or economic exploitation. And in nearly every case, it cuts children off from schooling and health care, restricting their fundamental rights.”

We even see parents sending their children to beg and sell things on the road for quick money. They know a child selling something will evoke emotions in buyers and help in running their business.

“In my opinion either the parents are ignorant to what could happen to their children or they have numbed themselves due to their desperate and dire circumstances. Because no mother or father would do something so viscous to their own blood without the above mentioned psychological state and literal state of the entire family starving. But let’s not forget that there are actual gangs of thugs who kidnap children globally and cut off their hands and legs to extract more empathy from a passer-by in a car or otherwise who has a clear vantage point to this barbarism. These thugs play with people’s emotions and they are masters at it. This is literally labour human trafficking and No More Tears has rescued many women and men in the US who’ve been victims of labour trafficking, not just children,” she shares.

Child labour is getting worse in some countries. Agreeing, Somy says, “That is because those countries’ foundation is standing tall due to the never-ending aspects of bribery and supply and demand. Unless there is law enforcement and politicians with values and principles this will never stop similar to the trafficking of drugs, weapons, body organs and above all, sex trafficking which is growing rampantly. Again, it’s all about people with ethics and the aspect of supply and demand. When the majority of the world is self-absorbed and only cares about money and fame, in this instance money, I don’t foresee any changes for the better. And now with the permeation of social media forums it has become far too easy for traffickers to dupe and recruit. Let’s not forget and I am not being cynical, but pragmatic here, people are extremely self-centered and the majority only cares for themselves. There are very few good-hearted people who are making changes and doing something like Malala Malala [Yousafzai], Sonu Sood, Shah Rukh [Khan], Greta Thunberg and so on. This is why we have very few heroes if we look back in our history books because it’s in our DNA to put ourselves first and our thoughts circle around only what benefits us. In short, unless we eradicate bribery and corruption, I do not expect to see any changes which are severely depressing.”

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