Child Labor Banned in India

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Seven-year-old Salaj Mohammed Kasim weeps during a police raid on a Mumbai (Bombay) embroidery workshop on March 4, 2004.

Many children are worried about the financial implications of the October 10, 2006, law banning some forms of child labor in India. The 80 rupees (about U.S. $2) that a child working in the city may make in a day can be crucial to the survival of the family back home.

Rama Chandran, 13, has worked in a small restaurant in Delhi for four years. He sends money home to his widowed mother and three younger siblings in southern India. "If I didn't send money home, they would starve," he told the Associated Press.

Social workers also caution that sufficient safeguards have not been put in place to protect children who could find themselves homeless as a result of the new law.

"Abject poverty … is the most important and fundamental issue why children are laboring," Rita Panicker told AP. Panicker heads Butterflies, an Indian nongovernmental organization that works with street children.

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Photograph by REUTERS/Sherwin Crasto
 
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