India's national and state governments share responsibility for protecting bonded child laborers. Their most basic obligations are to prevent children from becoming bonded in the first place, to remove those who are from bondage, and to prevent them from becoming bonded again. On paper, the government has developed a wide array of laws and policies on bonded labor and child labor, which in theory should protect bonded children. In practice, these are never implemented for most bonded children. Without effective enforcement of either bonded labor or child labor laws, children in bondage-the most vulnerable of all working children-are without recourse.
In the mid- and late 1990s the Indian government, under scrutiny from local NGOs and international organizations, paid increased attention to child labor and, to a lesser extent, bonded labor. In August 1994, then-Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao announced an initiative to bring two million children out of hazardous labor by 2000. In December 1996, the Supreme Court outlined a detailed framework for punishing employers of children in occupations deemed hazardous by law and for rehabilitating the children. In 1997 the Court ordered the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to supervise states' implementation of the bonded labor law, and the NHRC then began appointing special rapporteurs who applied pressure in certain regions and industries. There were some high-profile raids on employers, and a few were prosecuted. Through the efforts of both government bodies and NGOs, public awareness that some forms of child labor and bonded labor are illegal increased. While states continued to deny the presence of bonded labor in their territories and grossly underestimated the use of child labor and bonded labor, the steps taken were promising.
However, by 2003 most government promises have not materialized. States are still rarely freeing and rehabilitating bonded laborers, and the central government, with the exception of the NHRC, is acquiescing. Almost all government officials whom Human Rights Watch interviewed for this report denied that children were bonded. Both the central and state governments are backing away from their limited efforts to enforce the child labor law, and, with the notable exception of a few individuals, most government officials with whom we met took a dim view of it. Some argued that families need the children's income and that children would be pushed into more marginal and dangerous occupations. Others contended that law enforcement was irreparably ineffective and, therefore, not worth pursuing, even when they were themselves responsible for ensuring effective law enforcement. Rehabilitation programs for both bonded and child labor remain promising but extremely limited. Tellingly, eight years after former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao's announcement, the secretary of the Ministry of Labour told Human Rights Watch that the goal of removing two million children from hazardous labor by 2000 had been pushed back to 2005.215
Overview of the Two Systems: Bonded Labor and Child Labor
The bonded labor regime is based on the same tenets as those of hazardous child labor: finding, freeing, and rehabilitating the bonded worker, and punishing the employer. The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, which prohibits all forms of bonded labor for people of any age, establishes this framework. However, compared with the child labor law, the bonded labor law allows for a longer maximum prison sentence, protects children over as well as under fourteen years old, extinguishes the debt, and actually codifies the rehabilitation requirement. In addition, offenses under the bonded labor law, unlike the child labor law, are cognizable, meaning that a police officer may arrest without a warrant and initiate prosecution.218
Despite these two sets of laws, there are no specific programs for bonded children, who fall at their intersection.
District, State, and National Responsibility for Bonded Labor
District magistrates are appointed civil servants and are the top authorities at the district level. They oversee government administration, including the administration of justice, and some fifty to sixty distinct departments.222 Their wide array of duties includes identifying cases of bonded labor in their districts, freeing the laborers, initiating prosecutions, making sure available credit sources are in place so that freed laborers will not be forced into bondage again, and constituting and participating in the vigilance committees.223 The vigilance committees are charged with advising the district magistrate to ensure that the bonded labor law is properly implemented; providing for the economic and social rehabilitation of freed bonded laborers; coordinating the functions of rural banks and cooperative societies to help ensure freed bonded laborers have access to credit; monitoring "the number of offenses of which cognizance ought to be taken under the act"; and defending freed bonded laborers against attempts to recover the bonded debt.224 In 1996 Human Rights Watch found that very few vigilance committees had even been formed and was unable to find any district in which such a committee was operative.225
In April 2002, officials in the Ministry of Labour told Human Rights Watch that vigilance committees had been created for every district. But regardless of whether they exist in name, almost none are actually functioning.226 According to NHRC Special Rapporteur Chaman Lal, the commission investigated and found that the vigilance committees "were non-existent or defunct and, where they had been revived, they were not doing work."227 The commission has been trying to revive them, he said.228 According to a high-ranking government official in Tamil Nadu:
Local activists confirmed that most vigilance committees were not functioning.230 Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, an NGO member of Varanasi's vigilance committee, told Human Rights Watch: "I am a member, and in my official opinion, the vigilance committee in Varanasi district is defunct. The vigilance committees are totally pro-employer."231 According to Dr. Lenin, Varanasi district's vigilance committee was formed only after the NHRC sent a letter to the district magistrate, who then organized meetings in 1997 and 1998. In 1999 the committee met once, and from 2000 through September 2002, the committee met twice: once on December 18, 2000, and once the last week of July 2002.232 "The district vigilance committee was made because of pressure from the NHRC, but it's an eyewash," he said.233 It should be noted that Dr. Lenin also reported that his organization, the People's Vigilance Committee for Human Rights, has been able to enlist police cooperation to conduct raids on employers to free bonded children, provided they did not reveal the location in advance (see below).234
Government Failure to Protect Children with the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976
To clarify, Human Rights Watch then asked the secretary if he meant that the ministry did not know of "situations where parents receive an advance for the child to work for someone else, the child is not free to change employers, and gets paid much less than the minimum wage?" He responded:
K. Chandramouli, the Ministry of Labour's joint secretary for child labor, told Human Rights Watch:
Manohar Lal, the Ministry of Labour's Director General for Labour Welfare, the position directly responsible for bonded labor, told Human Rights Watch that he did not know how many, if any, freed bonded laborers were children, and that there were no bonded laborers at present, although "in the years to come," he said "stray cases may be reported."238
Varanasi Deputy Labour Commissioner Rakesh Kumar, who is responsible for four districts in eastern Uttar Pradesh, told Human Rights Watch: "There is no bonded labor in the silk industry. I have been here since 2000, and I haven't gotten any information on bonded labor in the silk industry. Last year bonded labor was identified in the brick and carpet industries, but I have no information on bonded labor in the silk industry."239 According to the deputy labor commissioner, his office did a survey "with a lot of detailed questions, for example, parents, education, status of family" to determine where to send children to school, and it did not find bonded child labor in this survey, "just child labor."240 On the same day, Human Rights Watch interviewed six bonded children working within two kilometers of the deputy labor commissioner's office.
Some officials in interviews with Human Rights Watch did not seem to understand what constitutes bonded labor. The Varanasi deputy labor commissioner told Human Rights Watch: "In the silk industry, it's all neighborhood children so they can't make them bonded."241 The district collector of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, said of children working on silk handlooms:
The then-labor commissioner of Karnataka, E. Venkataiah, when confronted with around eighty bonded children in Magadi's silk twisting factories, said to the press in January 2002 that "we can't do anything about the loans they have availed of."243 These are clear misstatements of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, which does not require any physical instrument for bonded labor to exist and which extinguishes bonded laborers' debts.
A Tamil Nadu government official, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed that many district magistrates (district collectors) do not understand, or disagree with, the definition of bonded labor and, therefore, do not enforce the law:
Accordingly, as the Varanasi district labor commissioner's statements illustrate, officials tend to conceive of all children, bonded or not, as eligible only for protection from the child labor law. A February 2002 document obtained by Human Rights Watch on the identification, release, and rehabilitation of bonded labor in Tamil Nadu confirms that in some districts, bonded children are, as a matter of policy, treated under the child labor regime, not the bonded labor regime. An explanatory note reads: "Out of 1,692 [bonded laborers identified by NGOs in 1996-97 survey], 1532 were identified as child Bonded Labourers and were suitably rehabilitated then. Hence, the total no. of Bonded Labourers originally identified is 160 only."245
Police not only fail to enforce the bonded labor law (for children or adults), they have also forced children to return to their employers. Deepak M., thirteen years old, said:
Staff of NGOs in Karnataka told Human Rights Watch that even when they intercede directly with police on children's behalf, police will not act without a direct order from higher authorities, even though it is their job to do so.247
Human Rights Watch has extensively documented police abuse of Dalits, religious minorities, women, and street children, among others.248 The need for widespread police reform has also been documented by numerous Indian human rights groups and the NHRC and is part of a larger problem of people's inability to access justice.
Without the protections of the bonded labor regime, children's debts are not extinguished, they are not entitled to rehabilitation as bonded laborers, and their employers enslave them with impunity.
Data Collection about Bonded Labor
An estimated twenty to sixty-five million people are bonded laborers in India. Nevertheless, Director General of Labour Welfare Manohar Lal, the person most responsible for bonded labor in the Ministry of Labour, told Human Rights Watch that although stray cases might arise, there were no bonded laborers in India at that moment to be rehabilitated:
According to the Ministry of Labour's figures, in all of India, only seventy-one bonded laborers were identified and released from 2000 to 2001, all from Uttar Pradesh, and 13,450 rehabilitated, most from Tamil Nadu.250 From 2001 to 2002, 1,724 bonded laborers were identified and released, and 3,889 rehabilitated, almost all from Tamil Nadu.251 No data is being collected on how many of these were children, nor does the Ministry of Labour make any mention of bonded laborers yet to be released.252 Moreover, the central government's data conflicts with that state officials gave Human Rights Watch. According to the central government, Karnataka released thirty-six bonded laborers in 2001-2002. However, a caseworker for bonded labor under the deputy commissioner for Bangalore Rural District, one of twenty-seven districts in Karnataka, told Human Rights Watch that his office alone had identified 154 bonded laborers in 2001;253 in ten districts in Karnataka, following training on bonded labor in 2000 and 2001, government officials identified about 10,000 bonded laborers (but then failed to rehabilitate them).254 The central government reports that every one of the 65,573 bonded laborers whom Tamil Nadu has identified and released since 1976 has been rehabilitated.255 But according to state-level statistics, of 37,082 bonded laborers identified since 1996, only 11,733 were even released.0 Of the remaining cases, 20,836 were investigated and dropped, apparently leaving 4,513 laborers who were not released and their cases not investigated.1 Rehabilitation was "initiated" for 11,387.2
The Indian government does not collect nationwide data on the age, gender, and occupation of the bonded laborers who are released or rehabilitated; thus the Ministry of Labour's Director General for Labor Welfare was unable to tell Human Rights Watch how many, if any, of the bonded laborers ever released and rehabilitated were children.3 Officials' statements that they treat child workers, bonded or not, under the child labor law suggest that they are very few.
Rehabilitation of Bonded Laborers
Under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, bonded laborers have a right to immediate rehabilitation.6 The Supreme Court has explained that the state's duty to "suitable rehabilitate" its bonded laborers is also required by article 21 of the Indian Constitution, guaranteeing the right to life and liberty, and article 23, prohibiting the practice of debt bondage and other forms of forced labor or slavery.7
As of 2003, a bonded laborer identified and released by the state is supposed to receive a rehabilitation package of Rs. 20,000 (U.S.$417), paid in equal parts by the Ministry of Labour and the state, that includes:
Nevertheless, even those districts that manage to free bonded laborers often fail to rehabilitate them. According to staff at an NGO that works to release and educate bonded children: "if [bonded child laborers] get rehabilitated according to the law, they get Rs. 20,000, but the government takes some and by the time it gets to the child, he is an adult."9 Part of the problem is district magistrates' failure to issue release certificates to bonded laborers when they are freed, without which they are not eligible for rehabilitation.10 NGO staff in Varanasi explained: "A lot of time is spent getting release certificates. NGOs spend so much time arguing that it is bonded labor."11 In Karnataka, of the some 10,000 bonded laborers identified in ten districts following training of government officials on bonded labor in 2000 and 2001, none had been rehabilitated at the time of writing, only some had received release certificates, and of these, none had received the initial Rs. 1,000 due from the government to each bonded laborer upon release.12 According to Kiran Kamal Prasad, the director of JEEVIKA, the NGO that trained the officials, the released bonded laborers "are in a bad shape. Some have had to migrate to find work."13
Prosecutions and Convictions
In Tamil Nadu, according to state government officials and documents obtained by Human Rights Watch, only one hundred prosecutions were initiated from 1997 to February 2002, although 37,082 bonded labors were identified during this period.16 Although Human Rights Watch was not able to obtain data on how many prosecutions, if any, resulted in convictions, a Tamil Nadu government official who wished to remain anonymous told Human Rights Watch that "most of the cases where charges were started ended up in acquittal . . . ."17 In Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, where there are an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 bonded child laborers in the silk industry,18 only one bonded labor prosecution had been initiated as of February 2002.19
In Varanasi, the deputy labor commissioner told Human Rights Watch that prosecutions had been filed with the court judicial magistrate against the employers in twenty-one bonded labor cases identified in 2001, but none had resulted in conviction as of March 2002.20
In Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka, no employers have been convicted under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, according to a bonded labor caseworker in the office of the district's deputy commissioner;21 at the time of writing, no one had been convicted in the some 10,000 cases of bonded laborer that the Karnataka state government identified in 2000 and 2001.22
Human Rights Watch saw evidence that in some areas, the government now is taking steps to train its officials in how to enforce the bonded labor and child labor laws. This needs to be vastly expanded. Training is a critical first step and should be encouraged and conducted nationwide. However, it must also be accompanied by consequences for officials who fail to enforce the laws.
In Tamil Nadu, the government in August 2001 published a manual on enforcing the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, and rehabilitating bonded laborers.23 The manual explains what bonded labor is, what the law requires, and how government officials should enforce it. It also clearly states that children are bonded and directs labor inspectors to initiate actions against employers who bond them.24 Human Rights Watch was told the manual was distributed to every sub-district (taluk). The Kanchipuram district collector independently confirmed that it had been distributed throughout his district, although he is still not implementing the bonded labor law for children in his district, suggesting that further training, monitoring, and accountability is needed.25
In Karnataka, following training of officials in ten districts by the NGO JEEVIKA in 2000 and 2001, the state reportedly saw a sharp increase in the numbers of bonded laborers identified in those districts, although Human Rights Watch was not able to learn how many, if any, of these were children.26 Moreover, at the time of writing, none of these bonded laborers had been rehabilitated.27 Karnataka's 2001 plan on child labor directs the deputy commissioners (called district magistrates in other states) to use the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, for children who are bonded.28 And the state's manual for labor inspectors on prosecuting child labor cases also instructs inspectors to include in their reports "advances/loans taken from employer."29 However, there is no direction that these cases also be pursued under the bonded labor law; where the child is found to be underpaid, the manual suggests prosecuting under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, as well as the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, but does not instruct the inspector that nominal wages can constitute bonded labor.30
States bear primary responsibility for withdrawing children from illegal work, for rehabilitating them, and for punishing employers.31 The Ministry of Labour is ultimately responsible for the states' compliance with the law and determines which industries are hazardous.32 The ministry also runs child labor elimination programs, consisting primarily of transitional schools for some 181,000 former child workers.
Because sericulture and silk weaving are classified as hazardous, employing any children in these sectors up to age fourteen-bonded or not-is illegal under Indian law.
Acknowledgment of the Child Labor Problem
One effect has been to push the work from factories into private homes, where children working for their parents are not covered by the Child Labor Act and where compliance is harder to monitor.35 A silk trader who employs roughly 250 weavers around Varanasi told Human Rights Watch, "We don't have any factories-the work is done in houses."36 Staff of a local community health organization told us that he had seen a decrease in children working in factories "because of enforcement, because of vigilance committees. There's pressure on factories not to have children, but poverty still compels people to work. The factory lends money to whoever needs it, and the factory puts a loom in the person's home, and then they bring it [the sari] to the factory."37 Similarly, a study sponsored by the National Labour Institute, the Ministry of Labour's autonomous research body, found that silk weaving had moved to rural areas around Varanasi
In contrast, in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, child labor in silk weaving was very open, perhaps because child and bonded labor law was not being enforced there. Employers spoke to Human Rights Watch openly about bonding children and showed us children working on the looms, apparently unaware of the law or unafraid of its implementation.39 For example, a man whose family owns six looms and uses bonded child labor told us explicitly that with the workers he had "no blood relationship. Anyone can come to work."40
How much increased public awareness has actually decreased the use of illegal child labor is difficult to measure. And to the extent that a decrease was premised on the fear of being caught, the government's current backpedaling on prosecuting offenders may undo any gains. According to Mahaveer Jain, a child labor expert for the National Labour Institute who trains government officials and others on enforcing the child labor laws, "people know about child labor. Earlier the issue was awareness."41 Now, he says the challenge is to get action.42
Various state level officials in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka readily admitted that children are working in hazardous industries, including the silk industry. For example, the deputy labor commissioner (region one) of Karnataka told Human Rights Watch that most child labor in Karnataka was in "hotels, restaurants, workshops, and sericulture";43 staff for the deputy commissioner of Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka, told Human Rights Watch that "70 to 80 percent" of those working in sericulture are under age fourteen.44 Similarly, the district collector of Kanchipuram had established night schools so that children could continue to work days on silk handlooms.45
In contrast, high-level officials with the most power over the silk industry and over employers denied that the problem existed or denied responsibility for it. The secretary of the Ministry of Labour stated categorically to Human Rights Watch that no children were working in factories and mines, and blamed the Ministry of Education for not providing quality schools.46 The ministry's joint secretary for child labor told Human Rights Watch that factory owners were only employing children with their parents' permission, which was not something the government could penalize the factory owners for.47 (This is a clear misstatement of the law, as discussed below.) The head of the Central Silk Board, P. Joy Oommen, readily admitted to Human Rights Watch that children are working in silk reeling and twisting. "We know there are children working in the sector," he told us, "and from our point of view, we consider it hazardous because of the steam, boiling water, the dust."48 However, the Central Silk Board, which regulates and subsidizes all aspects of the silk industry, takes the position that it can only intervene at a technological level, that is, to promote multi-end reeling systems that do not rely on child labor. As explained above, these systems are very costly and, according to the Board's own data, hardly used in India.49
Enforcing the Child Labor Law
The Supreme Court in 1996 ordered the states to conduct surveys of child labor in their territories, which they did in 1997 and 1998.55 The reported findings wildly underestimated the incidence of child labor.56 For example, Tamil Nadu reported 10,118 children working in hazardous occupations, Uttar Pradesh 32,000 (hazardous and non-hazardous), and Karnataka 44,070 (hazardous and non-hazardous).57 Government officials continue to rely on these numbers, as well as the 1991 census.
Subsequent government efforts to find children working in hazardous occupations do not appear to be more accurate. We asked a local leader in a Varanasi neighborhood where we saw many people, including children, weaving in homes, if he had ever seen a labor inspector. "No one has ever come here to conduct a survey, ever," he answered.58 We also asked a group of eleven boys from the area, all of whom worked weaving silk for non-family members outside the neighborhood, if they had ever seen a labor inspector. None had ever seen one. When we asked a Varanasi silk trader who employs about 250 weavers whether officials from the Labour Department visited him, he replied: "No one has come from the government. The government sees how the saris are made, but they don't ask questions about the labor situation."59 A member of the National Child Labour Policy (NCLP) committee in Varanasi district, which is responsible for identifying children in hazardous labor, told Human Rights Watch: "We told the district magistrate that the way surveys are conducted they were not going to find child labor because the loom owners wouldn't admit it. The format was such that they would go and ask for child labor, but the loom owners wouldn't admit it."60
In Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka, where thousands of children are bonded in silk thread production, the deputy commissioner's office in a July 2001 survey was able to find only 160 children, and of these, only thirty-three girls, working in hazardous occupations.61 This was an increase from the seven found the previous year.62 The Karnataka Department of Labor reports that there are only 2,140 children working in hazardous labor despite the fact that an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 children work in sericulture, which is only one of thirteen industries and fifty-seven processes classified as hazardous labor.63
Prosecutions under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, for employing children in occupations deemed hazardous have been rare and convictions rarer still. Both appear to have declined since the mid- to late 1990s. The secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Vinod Vaish, and his joint secretary for child labor, K. Chandramouli, refused to give Human Rights Watch nationwide data on prosecutions and convictions under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986. When we asked the joint secretary for this information, he told us that prosecuting employers is no longer necessary because after prosecutions in the mid-1990s, employers have stopped using children.64 "Now in the present situation, I don't think this particular kind of action needs to be taken now," he told us. "Either they have learned to circumvent the law, or else they are not employing children. . . . If I give you figures, they are not going to indicate anything because child labor is decreasing."65 Documents obtained by Human Rights Watch, citing data from the Ministry of Labour in New Delhi, stated that in 1996-1997, 13,090 inspections found 509 violations. Of these, 374 were prosecuted and fourteen convictions obtained-a conviction rate of less than 4 percent.66 Human Rights Watch was unable to verify these data's accuracy. In addition, according to former Secretary of the Ministry of Labour Lakshmidhar Mishra, even where employers are convicted, trial courts impose only negligible fines.67
Nevertheless, Human Rights Watch was able to obtain statistics at the state level that further reveal how few employers face sanction for using children. In Karnataka, the government initiated 1,018 prosecutions against employers under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act from 1997 to 2001 and obtained 101 convictions, a conviction rate of less than 10 percent.68 However, only 986 "child labourers" were "detected" during this same period, suggesting that either the data are flawed or that some prosecutions were for violating other parts of the act (such as conditions of employment where children are working legally).69 For the 986 child laborers, Rs. 206,975 (U.S.$4,312) in fines was collected from employers-1 percent of the Rs. 20,000 ($417) per child that should have been imposed.70 Under the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961, which supplements the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, the government identified 1,271 child laborers from 1997-2000, imposed Rs. 58,175 (U.S.$1,212) in fines, initiated 306 prosecutions, and obtained nineteen convictions, a conviction rate of about 6 percent.71
In Varanasi, according to the deputy labor commissioner in March 2002:
However, a study commissioned by the National Labour Institute, the Ministry of Labour's autonomous research wing, found that most of these prosecutions-546 of the 575- were launched between August 1997 and March 1999, suggesting that the Varanasi government is no longer seriously pursuing offenders.73
In Tamil Nadu, the state identified 10,118 children working in hazardous industries in 1997 and, as of March 2002, had released 157 children and lodged 8,799 criminal cases, most of which ended in acquittal.74
The decline in prosecutions appears to be in accord with official government policy. In April 2002, high-level officials at the Ministry of Labour told Human Rights Watch that the ministry no longer favored prosecution under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986. The secretary of the Ministry of Labour said:
As detailed throughout this report, Human Rights Watch did, in fact, find numerous children working in hazardous occupations, both in factories and in homes.
Similarly, when asked how working children are identified and withdrawn from work, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Labour K. Chandramouli told Human Rights Watch that the districts do this "through awareness raising, movies, and going around the village and announcing the ills of making children work. . . . But we use the NGOs and others to identify kids. Then we go and persuade the parents."76 The joint secretary did not favor prosecuting employers:
Without a major change in policy at the highest levels, enforcement of the child labor law cannot be expected to improve.
Even in the uncommon case in which an official tries to enforce the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, deficiencies and loopholes in the act itself make enforcement very difficult. Compared with the bonded labor law, the child labor law has broad loopholes for family-based labor and determining age, and carries lighter penalties. It is also more difficult for officials to initiate cases.
First, the act excludes any work done in the family or in government-run or recognized schools, even if the act prohibits children from doing that work in any other context.78 This exception creates an incentive for factory owners to contract with or bond adults for work to be done in their homes. The adults then use their own children or bond other children to help with the work, claiming, if inspected, that the bonded children are their own. This has happened in the silk industry in Varanasi;79 the match and beedi industries in Tamil Nadu are other well-known examples. Labor inspectors told researchers at the National Labour Institute: "Most of the employers claim the child workers as their family members, while the child workers' physical appearance such as tattered clothes, undernourished and underdeveloped physical physique, etc., belie the employers' claim[s]."80 Gilbert Rodrigo, director of the Tamil Nadu-based NGO Legal Resources for Social Action (LRSA), also explained: "Statistically, there has been a decrease in child labor [prohibited by law]. Employers make a contract with adults, then they take the work home and their children do it full time."81 The project director for Kanchipuram's night schools for working children told Human Rights Watch: "The Child Labour Act is not sufficient-it doesn't provide protection. The Child Labour Act will not help [children] to come out of the labor problem because they are working in homes."82 The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, should be amended so that household enterprises and government schools and training centers are no longer exempted from prohibitions on employing children.
Second, unlike the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, is not cognizable, meaning that a police officer may not arrest without a warrant. Instead, it is incumbent on labor inspectors to bring cases against employers. Because the act is not cognizable, it is more difficult for inspectors to collect evidence. The former labor commissioner of Karnataka, who reportedly took steps to enforce the law, described surprise inspections conducted on October 13, 1998: "In every factory that we visited, it took us nearly 10 to 30 minutes to persuade the employers to allow the inspecting team inside. It is my assumption that this resistance was only a ruse to gain time to let the children escape through back doors."83
Third, the act, which only covers children up to age fourteen, places the burden on the inspector, not the employer, to prove with a doctor's certificate that a child is under age.84 A former Tamil Nadu labor inspector for more than ten years who recently left the post explained how this thwarts enforcing the law:
The deputy commissioner for Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka, told us that problems with establishing the age of the child has been a major reason why none of the few prosecutions in his district had resulted in conviction.86 Similarly, former Secretary of the Ministry of Labour Lakshmidhar Mishra has written:
The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, should be amended so that employers are made responsible for proving that their employees are of legal age to work. All employers should be required to have and show on demand proof of age of all children working on their premises. Failure to have adequate proof should constitute a separate violation of the act. In the event of a dispute about a child's age, the onus should be on the employer to prove that the child is above the age of fourteen years.
Many inspectors are not adequately trained to enforce the law. The National Labour Institute has found:
The National Labour Institute has produced enforcement manuals and training materials for child labor inspectors and is training government officials and others, including district magistrates, inspectors, unions, and NCLP directors.91 Training is critical and should be encouraged and offered nationwide. However, training officials on how to enforce the law will not get results if government officials at the highest levels discourage law enforcement; if problems of corruption, apathy, and caste and class bias (discussed below) are not addressed; and if the failure to enforce is not sanctioned-or even monitored.
Long delays and low conviction rates also discourage officials from pursuing prosecutions. It should be noted, however, that some of the same officials who complain about the process bear responsibility for improving, not abandoning, it. The district collector of Kanchipuram, who is responsible for the administration of justice, told Human Rights Watch that his office does not support prosecuting employers. Instead, it is trying to address the lack of education by providing night schools (discussed below) and to address poverty by organizing women's self-help groups. "Blindly implementing the law doesn't work," he told us.
Researchers at the National Labour Institute have found that "[w]hen many prosecutions are unsuccessful, Inspectors become discouraged while employers are encouraged to continue to engage children."93
The National Child Labour Policy (NCLP) and the National Authority for the Elimination of Child Labour
The policy is administered by committees (entirely distinct from the bonded labor vigilance committees). The NCLP committees are charged with generating awareness about child labor, conducting surveys to identify child labor, running special schools that provide vocational and non-formal education and mainstream children into formal schools, enforcing child labor laws, and conducting adult education and activities related to income and employment generation. In practice, most committees just run the special schools. According to the government's own evaluation in 2001, the committees do almost none of the other tasks, and many hardly meet at all.96 The evaluation concluded that "[t]he enforcement of child labour laws has seen virtually no improvement ever since the projects were launched, with one or two notable exceptions."97 A separate evaluation in 2000 of NCLP projects in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka found similar results in those states.98 Human Rights Watch's investigation in Varanasi suggests that the Varanasi NCLP committee has done slightly better. In addition to supervising thirty-six schools (thirty of which started up in September and October of 2001), the committee is conducting surveys of child labor. However, according to committee member Rajeev Kumar Singh, the survey methodology precludes accurate results. He also noted that not all committee members actually attended meetings and that meetings were only held two or three times in 2001-2002.99 However, he concluded: "Before, there was nothing-now there has been some start. Now there is some accountability. Someone is responsible and someone has to answer. This didn't exist before."100
In contrast, in Karnataka, local NGOs said that most committees were defunct. According to a local activist: "We called a meeting of the committee [in Ramanagaram], and the members didn't know each other. . . . The only reason they meet in Ramanagaram is because we created it. The other committees haven't met."101 Another frequent criticism is that the NCLP committees, like the bonded labor vigilance committees, are staffed by those apathetic to or actively employing child labor. "There is a conflict of interest-members of the committees often work in industries that employ child labor," the activist said.102 "Many members of the committee don't even believe in the eradication of child labor."103
Operating special schools for former working children who lag far behind children their age in regular schools and may not be acclimatized to a school environment is, in theory, a good idea. However, the NCLP schools serve very few children compared with the number still working, and channel even fewer into a vocation or into formal schools. Most of the 3,369 schools operating in 2001-2002 opened in the preceding two years and covered 181,004 children in one hundred of India's 593 districts.104 This was an increase of only 792 children from the previous year, and only 1.61 percent of the 11.29 million working children recorded by the 1991 census (and a much smaller percentage of the tens of millions of children actually working).105 The Ministry of Labour has admitted that the "number of working children who have been covered by the special schools is a miniscule of the total number of working children awaiting to be released and rehabilitated."106
Moreover, not all of the 181,004 children in NCLP schools are former child laborers. NCLP schools promise students a hot meal and a Rs. 100 (U.S.$2.08) stipend not offered in regular schools, and some operate in areas without a formal school nearby. Understandably, they attract non-working children, some of whom come from formal schools.107 The head of an NGO running several NCLP schools for the government told Human Rights Watch: "The [NCLP] schools are good for children who are working within the family and in the community, but the Supreme Court intended for them to be for children released from hazardous industries, and these are not the children who attend the schools."108 The government estimates that "more than 60% of the children in NCLP schools are actually children withdrawn from work . . . .";109 it does not provide a more precise estimate. A 2000 study of NCLP schools in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka confirmed that the schools attract non-working children, adding specifically that the schools had not reached working children "who are in the strong clutches of money lenders, hazardous industries, [and] labour contract" because they were more difficult to get released.110 Instead, the schools targeted "only those in the un-organized sector and school dropouts" because they were more easily found.111 This finding is consistent with Human Rights Watch's interviews at an NCLP school in Varanasi, where almost none of the children whom we interviewed had been bonded, although an estimated 100,000 children in the area are bonded in the silk industry.112
The schools also face problems in their basic operations, including achieving their primary goal of either mainstreaming students into formal schools or providing them with a vocation. The government's 2001 evaluation of the NCLP found that where schools regularly delivered the monthly stipend and hot meal, they were able to hold students.113 However, only 38 percent of surveyed schools paid stipends on a monthly basis; for the rest, there were delays of many months, which caused children to drop out of school.114 In Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka, which was not part of the evaluation because the first NCLP schools began functioning in July and August 2001, 1,620 children had been admitted as of February 5, 2002. However, attendance rates were low (averaging 62.5 percent), infrastructure poor, vocational education inadequate or nonexistent, and mainstreaming into formal school unsuccessful.115 According to Ministry of Labour Joint Secretary for Child Labour K. Chandramouli, from 1997 to 2002, NCLP schools mainstreamed 133,000 children into formal schools, an average of 26,600 children a year.116 However, no one monitors whether NCLP students continue to attend formal schools once they are enrolled. A study of NCLP schools in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka found that children often returned to work after leaving the NCLP schools,117 a fact partially confirmed by the project director for NCLP schools in Bangalore Rural District.118 Thus, the NCLP schools have presumably successfully mainstreamed even fewer than the 133,000 children that the government claims-not even keeping pace with the rate of new children entering hazardous work, much less decreasing the number who are already there.119
In addition to the centrally-funded NCLP schools, some states have their own policies on child labor. For example, the Karnataka state government released an ambitious plan in 2001 to eliminate all child labor, not just that considered hazardous, incorporating the Supreme Court's framework for children in hazardous labor and identifying child labor in sericulture processing as a priority area.120 However, this plan did not appear to be functioning at the time of Human Rights Watch's investigation one year later. In interviews with Human Rights Watch, Karnataka government officials identified the four UNICEF-funded residential schools in Magadi sub-district, which are run by local NGOs to educate and care for freed child workers, as the government's primary strategy to address child labor in silk.121 As of December 2001, these schools together were educating 127 children and since September 1999 had enrolled 260 children in formal schools.122
Tamil Nadu has created various state-level agencies to monitor child labor projects, including a monitoring committee for NCLP projects, a steering committee for ILO-IPEC and U.S. Department of Labor funded projects, and a child labor cell created to monitor implementation of the Supreme Court's decision in M.C. Mehta for the children identified in the 1997 survey. Most Tamil Nadu initiatives have focused on children working in match and fireworks manufacture.
Kanchipuram's night schools are purposefully designed to allow children to work. According to the schools' director:
Similarly, a night school inspector told us that the students are weaving silk saris during the day: "Kids work twelve hour days and then come here. . . . There is no time for homework."124 Although the classes meet for only an hour and a half to two hours a day, the project claims to have very high pass rates on national examinations.125
The schools target adolescents and adults, not younger children. In 2001-2002, 1,302 adults and children were enrolled in the night schools, with 20 percent absent on any given day.126 Most students are older than fourteen, and some are in their early twenties. When asked why younger children did not come, a teacher at one of the schools explained, "At ages six to eight, they play in the road. They want entertainment. We cannot ask them at that age to come and sit here." Four boys standing nearby agreed. "At age fourteen or fifteen, [children] study here. Before that, they don't come," one explained.127 A fifteen-year-old boy told us that he worked with ten friends in a house with six looms. Two of his friends attend Kanchipuram's night schools, "the rest live too far away. There is a school in their village, but they do not go because they are tired from the journey."128 Even an eighteen-year-old whom we interviewed while he was weaving told us that he dropped out of the night school because he was "too tired."129
The night schools reach very few girls. Families may forbid girls from attending because of social mores about girls being out at night; girls and their families may fear violence, from which Dalits, who are the majority of bonded laborers, often receive no protection or redress. In the two schools that Human Rights Watch visited, the first had no girls, the second only a few. Karpakavalli S., who was eighteen years old, explained how she was able to attend:
According to the director of the night school program: "Girls are very limited. Families generally won't send the girls out at night. Only if they live very near. After they are fifteen to sixteen years old, they won't be allowed out. Even if they are the next street over, they won't be allowed. There is no transport, so we can't assure their safety."131 Girls don't like classes with boys, he added: "She will be shy about not knowing things in mixed classes. . . . They feel bad in front of the boys to have to learn the alphabet. There is no positive encouragement to girls from the family."132
International law, which prohibits discrimination against girls in education, requires that India ensure that girls have equal access to schools and allocate whatever resources it devotes to education in a nondiscriminatory fashion.133
In Karnataka, according to the state's deputy labor commissioner for region one, each district collector has a rehabilitation-cum-welfare fund, for which was collected a total of Rs. 5 million (U.S.$104,167) in 2000-2001 and Rs. 9.8 million (U.S.$204,167) in 2001-2002.141 However, this money was spent on "awareness programs and training of inspectors," rather than on rehabilitating child laborers as the Supreme Court ordered.142 The deputy labor commissioner also told Human Rights Watch that his office had directed district collectors to give families of child laborers an identification card, to send these children to residential transitional schools, and to employ their parents. But his office is not monitoring this, he said, and "so far it has not happened."143
The district labor commissioner of Varanasi (who is responsible for Varanasi district as well as four other districts in Uttar Pradesh) told us that in his five districts, recovery certificates had been issued for about Rs. 10 million (U.S.$208,333), but that only Rs. 600,000 ($12,500)-6 percent-had actually been collected.144 He explained in detail how the interest on the rehabilitation-cum-welfare fund ought to be calculated and distributed, but when we asked about distribution he replied, "right now we are just getting the details. The rehabilitation fund is done, kids are being put in school, we gave jobs and land, but payments have not started yet." When we asked for data on the jobs and land that had been provided, he was unable to give us this information, but said that "some people get shops or bank loans to buy cattle, raise pigs."145 When we asked a member of Varanasi's NCLP committee about the rehabilitation-cum-welfare fund, which the committee is supposed to administer, he said, "it hasn't come up for discussion yet. Even the money that has been collected from the employers, the Rs. 20,000-no discussion has been taken about how the money should be used."146
Regarding other forms of rehabilitation, the Varanasi district labor commissioner told Human Rights Watch that the government "gives them employment in a government scheme like road construction or gives them group loans from the banks. First we ask them what they want us to do, and if they want to open a bakery shop, we loan them the money."147 Of the 1,337 children from 1,213 families who had been identified in all hazardous industries from December 10, 1996, to March 13, 2002, he said, 148 families were rehabilitated, 432 families "were already in employment so were not rehabilitated," 240 families refused employment, and 355 were migrants and returned to their home states.148 Of the 1,863 children identified in both hazardous and non-hazardous labor, 1,488 were admitted into government schools; the rest were migrants who returned to their home states.149 Thirty-eight families had not been rehabilitated and were sent to the chief development office.150
In Tamil Nadu, as of March 2002, there was Rs. 47,625,000 (U.S.$992,188) in the state level rehabilitation-cum-welfare fund, almost all of which came from the state, not from employers.151 Although state inspectors identified 10,118 children working in hazardous industries in its 1997 survey for the Supreme Court, only eight employers paid their fines, which totaled Rs. 160,000 (U.S.$3,333) as of March 2002.152 As of that date, claims for the state government's contribution of Rs. 5,000 (U.S.$104) had been received for 157 children, and only three children had received assistance.153 According to a Tamil Nadu government official, "[e]mployers seek a stay of payment of the Rs. 20,000 so unless they are convicted, the state cannot collect the fines."154
Moreover, Tamil Nadu interprets the Supreme Court's decision as limited to those children found by its first survey-children found in hazardous industries after the 1997 survey are not eligible for rehabilitation through the rehabilitation-cum-welfare funds, and their employers are not fined the Rs. 20,000 (U.S.$417). A former labor inspector who had recently left the post explained: "When new children are identified, employers are prosecuted, but the Rs. 20,000 is not collected-it is not an ongoing process as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned. It restricted the Supreme Court's directions to the particular survey."155 This interpretation clearly contravenes the Court's order in M.C. Mehta. The district collector of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, confirmed that Tamil Nadu is not implementing the Court's order when he told us that he believed that the provision about rehabilitation-cum-welfare funds had been "withdrawn."156
By focusing on bonded and child labor, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has changed the environment in the areas where it has investigated. However, while it can encourage law enforcement, with limited powers and resources it cannot replace it. The following section is based on discussions with NHRC Special Rapporteur Chaman Lal and investigations in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka with respect to the silk industry.
The NHRC is the government of India's autonomous human rights body. Created pursuant to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, its statutory functions include conducting independent investigations into human rights abuses, both on its own initiative and in response to petitioned complaints. In conducting these investigations, the commission enjoys the same powers as a civil court and can, accordingly, summon witnesses and examine them under oath; compel discovery and production of documents; and requisition public records from a court or office. However, unlike a civil court's ruling, the NHRC's recommendations are not binding, although the commission has been able to pressure the government into complying with its recommendations on many occasions.
The commission has made general interventions on child labor, especially in Uttar Pradesh but also in the south, and intervened in some individual cases. Following the Supreme Court's request in 1997 that it monitor states' implementation of the bonded labor law, it appointed various special rapporteurs to address the issue.
Special Rapporteur Chaman Lal's primary focus has been Uttar Pradesh's carpet belt and six districts in particular.157 He explained to Human Rights Watch:
NGOs in the Varanasi area agreed that Special Rapporteur Chaman Lal's presence and pressure has made a difference. According to one:
However, a local activist with an organization that frees bonded laborers told Human Rights Watch that because of this pressure, government officials "falsify detailed information about who has been identified and released, but when it comes to releasing actual children, then they get stuck in bureaucracy."160
For the southern states, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Special Rapporteur K.R. Venugopal has primary responsibility. Government officials and NGOs in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu do not report the same level of involvement as Special Rapporteur Chaman Lal: Special Rapporteur Venugopal does not visit these states as regularly; for example, the district collector of Kanchipuram, which has open and prolific bonded child labor, told Human Rights Watch that his district has had no contact with the NHRC.161 However, most report that the NHRC's pressure on top officials to comply with the law has had some positive effects, such as Karnataka conducting a supplementary survey of child labor when the first produced few results. According to a case worker for bonded labor in the Bangalore Rural District deputy commissioner's office, the Special Rapporteur in 2001 gave useful suggestions for collecting evidence of bonded labor, such as taking a video camera on investigations.162
While the NHRC's work has been positive, it is also hampered by serious limitations in resources and power. The staff is relatively small. Special Rapporteur Chaman Lal works as a volunteer and has other, unrelated responsibilities.163 For bonded labor, he has use of the commission's investigation team and inspectors; he also formed a group, with NGO representation, which studied the issue and made recommendations, but which is no longer meeting.164 To be effective, each intervention takes considerable time and requires regular follow up. In its current state, the NHRC cannot cover even the major industries using bonded child labor. In addition, the NHRC has the powers of a civil, not criminal, court and its recommendations are not binding.165 For example, it can recommend prosecution but cannot itself prosecute or force unwilling districts to do so. It is precluded from taking cases under investigation by a state human rights commission or cases regarding events that happened more than one year before the complaint was made. Thus, the NHRC's role is important, but it is no substitute for law enforcement. Some activists in Karnataka suggest that because the NHRC has no real enforcement power, the state government has become "thick skinned" to pressure.166
Child labor activists also told Human Rights Watch that while they are filing individual cases regarding bonded labor with the NHRC, these cases take a long time to be resolved.167 According to Kailash Satyarthi, director of the South Asian Coalition Against Child Servitude (SACCS), the organization has over fifty cases for 700 to 800 bonded laborers pending before the NHRC.168
A Lack of Political Will
The district magistrate (district collector or deputy commissioner) is the top authority at the district level and oversees government administration. A few district magistrates have taken on bonded child labor in their districts, but many simply do not see it as part of their jobs. One problem is that government officials are frequently transferred. According to a high-level Tamil Nadu government official, "A lot depends on the drive of the [district] collector. Where there is a good collector, there has been a good response."169 However, as civil servants, district magistrates are transferred frequently. "Good people don't stay in their positions very long," a member of the Varanasi NCLP committee told Human Rights Watch. "The government should bring in good people and leave them there for three or four years."170 Similarly, staff of an NGO running residential schools for formerly bonded children told us: "The IAS [Indian civil service] officer keeps changing so by the time they understand the problems, they leave."171 Activists and government officials singled out a former district collector in Kanchipuram and a labor commissioner in Karnataka as other effective individuals who had been transferred.
Moreover, district magistrates have a perverse incentive not to report bonded labor in their districts-admitting that bonded labor exists in their district may be taken as evidence of their own failure to address it. According to Souparna Lahiri of the Centre for Education and Communication, if district magistrates "certify that there is bonded labor in their districts, they will be held responsible for it and their careers will be hurt."172 Because there is little monitoring or oversight from higher levels of government and because the vigilance committees are pressured by or include employers, the easiest path for district magistrates is to deny that any bonded labor exists. To counteract this, the government should provide incentives for law enforcement to prosecute, rather than encouraging magistrates to keep their reported numbers low to show that they are doing a good job.
This passive attitude and shifting of blame is evident at every level. The Ministry of Labour says that state level officials do not report cases to them; state-level officials say that bonded and child laborers do not approach them to complain. For example, when we asked the deputy commissioner for Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka, G.S. Narayana Swamy, about vigilance committees in his district, he told us, "I have asked them to inform me if they find bonded labor and child labor, and no one has reported back."173
A lack of political will also is evidenced by the fact that each year more money is allocated than is actually spent for both the NCLP schools and for bonded labor rehabilitation. The Ministry of Labour reported to the International Labour Organization in 2001: "There is no dearth of funds for rehabilitation of bonded labourers. At no point in time, proposals for rehabilitation of bonded labourers sent by State Governments to the Government of India, could not be entertained due to lack of funds."174 For example, 8.6 percent of the monies allocated in 2001-2002 for NCLP schools were left unspent.175
On January 27, 2002, four NGOs brought around eighty bonded children from Magadi to Bangalore, Karnataka, for what was billed as a social event, and invited the state's labour commissioner, E. Venkataiah. The children told the commissioner that they were bonded in silk twisting factories in Magadi.176 The commissioner responded by promising to raid factories but also said at the same time that raids were ineffective.177 He said he could not do anything about the loans and that while the children appeared underage, he needed doctor's certificates as proof.178 The next day, the children returned to work, where they have been ever since. At the time of writing, the government had not freed any of the children or taken action against any of their employers.179
Sympathy for and Pressure from Employers
-Fifteen-year-old N. Thaiyal, working since 2000 in a factory with about fifty other workers in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu183
Corruption also prevents effective law enforcement. Inspectors may be bribed, and raids typically fail because employers know about them in advance and hide or send away the children. Dr. Lenin, a member of Varanasi's bonded labor vigilance committee and director of the People's Vigilance Committee for Human Rights, told us that while police will cooperate with his organization on raids on employers who use bonded labor, the group has learned not to tell the police until the day of the raid where they will conduct it because police will warn the employers in advance.184 Staff of another NGO in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, also explained:
Activists report similar problems in Karnataka. "Unless the local government official is good, the factory owner will get advance information and the children will disappear. . . . Local labor department inspectors have close connections with owners, and they pay them off. He is at the mercy of the factory owner," NGO staff told Human Rights Watch.186
The practice of "untouchability" is illegal under Indian law. Compelling or enticing a member of a scheduled caste or scheduled tribe into forced or bonded labor is specifically outlawed under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. India's constitution guarantees the right to life and liberty, abolishes the practice of "untouchability," and punishes the enforcement of any disability arising out of the practice. Unfortunately, as Human Rights Watch has extensively documented, these protections are rarely implemented.188 Without enforcement of this act or the constitution, the government is not cracking the foundation of this system that allows bonded labor to flourish.
Although a potentially powerful piece of legislation, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, is hampered by police unwillingness to register offenses or their ignorance of the terms of the act itself. Under Indian law, a police officer is bound to enter in the station diary all reports brought to him concerning all cognizable and non-cognizable offenses. Failure to do so, or entering a report that was not made to him, is punishable under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code. In most cases, however, the offending officer escapes punishment. The police take on the role of the judiciary and determine the merits of the case even before pursuing investigations. Cases at all levels are influenced by caste bias, corruption, and ignorance of procedures under the Atrocities Act.
The functions of the Indian police are governed by the Indian Police Act, 1861, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Indian Evidence Act, 1832, the Constitution of India, and other state acts. The government of India has known about the extent of police corruption in the registration of cases at least since 1979 when the National Police Commission issued a devastating indictment of police behavior. Over two decades later, none of the police commission's recommendations have been adopted, and police continue to detain, torture, and extort money from Dalits without much fear of punishment.189 Police often escape liability for their own abuses of Dalits and are rarely punished for their negligence in the non-registration of caste-related cases.
Even when cases are registered, the absence of special courts to try them can delay conviction for up to three to four years. Pursuant to the act, each revenue district within each state must designate a special court for the trial of such offenses. However, all Atrocities Act cases go to regular sessions courts, which are already overburdened with original and appellate jurisdiction over district-level civil and criminal cases.190 According to Kiran Kamal Prasad, director of the Karnataka-based NGO JEEVIKA that frees and rehabilitates bonded laborers and trains government officials: "There are a large number of cases registered, but I can count on my fingertips the people prosecuted. Although the [Atrocities] Act has a bonded labor provision, I can't think of a single case."191 Some state governments, including those of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, have come under upper-caste pressure to repeal the legislation altogether.192
The Failure to Protect Bonded Children
NGOs that run transitional schools and conduct public awareness campaigns, and the students who attend their schools, report that employers use threats and intimidation to keep bonded children working. In Varanasi, where Human Rights Watch visited NCLP schools, many students were never bonded to begin with because the bonded children are too hard for the schools to reach. "There is no follow-up. NGOs will write down the names of child laborers, but we are not able to pull them out of work and into school," said the director of a local NGO.193 Studies by the National Labour Institute confirm that NCLP schools do not reach bonded children.194
In Karnataka, Human Rights Watch visited an NGO-run transitional school where the students had worked but were not bonded; many students had siblings who were bonded and, therefore, were unable to attend. For example, eleven-year-old Nusrath Farhana had been at the transitional school for four months when Human Rights Watch interviewed her. Before, she had been working picking worms without an advance, but her sister and brother, ages twelve and thirteen, were bonded for Rs. 3,000 (U.S.$63) and were still working.195 Twelve-year-old Mohammad A. had worked without an advance, but his sisters, ages eleven and fifteen, were still working to pay back Rs. 2,000 (U.S.$42) and Rs. 10,000 ($208), respectively.196 Eleven-year-old Iqbal H. has two sisters, one twelve years old who works at cooking and one thirteen years old who works at reeling. Each owes Rs. 5,000 (U.S.$104). When we asked if they wanted to come to the school, he answered: "If they were able to come, they would like to come. They are working so I don't know when they would come."197 Similarly, Wasim N., age nine, has two sisters, ages ten and eleven, who together were bonded for Rs. 5,000 (U.S.$104). Neither has ever attended school.198
Transitional schools need local and state governments to enforce the bonded and child labor laws so that they can reach bonded children. One school coordinator in Karnataka explained: "The impact of the Supreme Court decision has been increased awareness by the owners and parents, community awareness. But we have nowhere to go legally. There is no authority to ask. We as an NGO have no authority."199 "The NGOs are sandwiched between interested groups. We cannot fight against the owners," added the group's director.200
Where NGOs have managed to free bonded children, employers may continue to threaten the children and their parents, and insist that the parents repay the loans or pass down the advance to another child.201 "When we release children," said one NGO director, "employers will demand money from the parents and demand the child back."202 Another told Human Rights Watch: "By and large, most children say, `Given the choice, I would like to study.' But then their parents, under the pressure of the master, succumb. They come to the school and plead with the children, and sometimes they go back. We try to convince the master that the loan was repaid [with the child's labor], but they don't agree."203 Staff from a third residential school told us: "Owners have come several times to the center to demand the child be sent back to repay the advance. We threaten to go to the police, so now they are not coming here-they are creating problems with the parents."204
D.G. Sagar left a silk unit in 2000 for a transitional residential school. He told Human Rights Watch:
P. Kattaraman, who is Dalit, was bonded for Rs. 3,000 (U.S.$63) when he was seven or eight years old. After he had worked about four years, an NGO volunteer convinced him to come to the residential school in 2000.
Twelve-year-old T. Basheer, who had stopped working and enrolled in an NGO-run day school about one month before we interviewed him, told us: "The employers still want us to come to work. When we pass by the owners, they ask us where we are working. We say we are not working any more and we run."208
In some cases, children are sent back to work. "The owners are very powerful," explained a teacher at an NGO-run girls' residential school.209 As an example, she told us about a twelve-year-old girl who owed a Rs. 8,000 (U.S.$167) advance whose parents had eventually removed her from the school and sent her back to work.210
NGO staff connected with three different schools also reported that silk unit owners had threatened their employees with violence for removing bonded children from silk units.211 According to Solomon J.P., with the organization Movement for Alternatives and Youth Awareness (MAYA) that runs schools in Bangalore Rural District, "Our staff was threatened. Employers locked them up and beat them. Our women staff were called prostitutes, especially after we took this [child labor in silk] up. The police did not act."212
The failure to enforce the law makes the work of NGOs and other internationally funded organizations that are trying to withdraw children from work and keep them in school difficult and, in some cases, impossible. It also handicaps the government's own education programs, which, in any event, cover only a tiny fraction of working children. According to Kailash Satyarthi, whose organization, the South Asian Coalition Against Child Servitude (SACCS), works to free bonded children, NGOs can lobby employers to release non-bonded children, but for bonded labor, a multi-pronged approach that includes political and legal mechanisms is needed. "Without [enforcement of the] bonded labor law, we cannot create fear in the employer's mind, and if employers don't fear, then we can't stop exploitation. It has to be dealt with as a crime."213
First, children still lack access to schools. A study of child labor in sari weaving in Varanasi district, sponsored by the National Labour Institute, found the following:
Human Rights Watch went to a Dalit village in Varanasi District which had a NCLP school but no government school. According to villagers, there were about 1,200 or 1,300 children in the community, but the NCLP school was capped at fifty students-the rest of the children were working.216 Social workers in Ramanagaram, Karnataka, a silk reeling area, noted that "[i]n one area there are seventy-two silk units and only one school."217
Many schools that do exist, especially in rural areas, are of poor quality.218 According to law professor Babu Mathew, an expert in child labor, "Technically, the government may have a school within 1.5 kilometers of a child, but it may have one teacher, no classroom, toilet, or drinking water."219 Human Rights Watch interviewed children who had dropped out of formal schools to attend better quality NGO-run schools designed not for them but for former child workers. For example, ten-year-old P. Shaheen told us: "Two months ago I was going to school, and I refused to go and my mother didn't bother to make me. The teachers used to beat me. They asked me to write something, and I couldn't do it, and they beat me, so I didn't want to go back."220 Even where children are withdrawn from work and complete a transitional education program, they may subsequently return to work because of formal schools' poor quality. Staff of an NGO that runs transitional schools told Human Rights Watch, "It's hard for children to transition to regular schools because the regular schools are so bad they will drop out. I'm afraid for them when they leave here."221
Dalit and low-caste children who attempt to attend school face discriminatory and abusive treatment at the hands of their teachers and fellow students. This is discussed above in the section, "Caste-Based Discrimination and Bonded Labor."
According to the Indian government, in the 1997-1998 school year, 71.1 percent of children ages six to eleven were enrolled in primary school, 64.0 percent of girls and 77.7 percent of boys.222 Net enrollment rates were higher in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (88.6 percent and 84.6 percent, respectively) and lower in Uttar Pradesh (46.8 percent).223 However, about half (52 percent) of primary school entrants drop out before grade five.224 The drop-out rate in Uttar Pradesh is one of the highest in India and literacy the lowest. 225 These rates are much higher for Dalit children, as discussed above.
216 Many Indian activists object to the distinction between hazardous and non-hazardous labor, some on the grounds that all work is hazardous to children, others on the grounds that the distinction is too broad, that work hazardous to children in one set of conditions may not be in another.
221 In the northeastern states, the central government funds all rehabilitation assistance. Ibid. The government reports that it spent Rs 50.48 million (U.S.$1.22 million) for surveys and rehabilitation in 2001-2002 and that it had budgeted Rs. 40 million ($.83 million) for this in 2002-2003. Ministry of Labour, Government of India, Bonded Labour System Abolition Act (1976), http://labour.nic.in/dglw/Bonded_labr.html (retrieved July 9, 2002).
226 See, e.g. Manoj Kumar, "Panel fights for bonded labourers," The Tribune: On-line Edition, June 21, 2002, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20010621/punjab1.htm (retrieved August 9, 2002) (reporting that "all district bonded labour vigilance committees in Punjab have become defunct").
227 Human Rights Watch interview with Chaman Lal, NHRC Special Rapporteur, New Delhi, March 11, 2002. According to the NHRC's annual report: "The Commission has noticed with regret that, in almost all the States, the Vigilance Committees that were established earlier are non-functional and that no serious effort has been taken to identify bonded labor even though the existence of such labor in as many as 100 districts and in specified industries has been well documented by various states." NHRC, Annual Report 1998-99, http://nhrc.nic.in/ (retrieved July 30, 2002), para. 9.6.
230 Human Rights Watch interview with Souparna Lahiri, Centre for Education and Communication, New Delhi, March 11, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with NGO staff, Bangalore, Karnataka, March 25, 2002.
242 Human Rights Watch interview with K. Rajaraman, District Collector, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, March 19, 2002. In investigations of caste violence in India, Human Rights Watch has found that Dalits are reluctant to file complaints for fear of economic and physical reprisals against them.
245 Government of Tamil Nadu, Districtwise Integrated Statement of Bonded Labour Identification, Release, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Expenditure Incurred Report for the Month of February 2002, p. 6 (explanatory note for Virudhunagar district).
248 See, e.g., Human Rights Watch, "Epidemic of Abuse: Police Harassment of HIV/AIDS Outreach Workers in India"; Human Rights Watch, "`We Have No Orders to Save You'-State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat"; Human Rights Watch, Broken People; Human Rights Watch, Police Abuse and Killings of Street Children in India; Human Rights Watch, "India: Communal Violence and the Denial of Justice."
250 Ministry of Labour, Government of India, Annual Report 1999-2000, p. 117; Ministry of Labour, Government of India, Annual Report 2000-2001, p. 93; Ministry of Labour, Government of India, Annual Report 2001-2002, p. 83.
253 Human Rights Watch interview with caseworker for bonded labor, office of the deputy commissioner, Bangalore Rural District, Bangalore, Karnataka, March 28, 2002. The official did not know how many, if any, of these were rehabilitated.
0 Government of Tamil Nadu, Districtwise Integrated Statement of Bonded Labour Identification, Release, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Expenditure Incurred Report for the Month of February 2002, p. 6.
10 Kailash Satyarthi, of the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS), an NGO that works to free bonded children, told Human Rights Watch that the children they free often cannot get release certificates and so do not receive rehabilitation. Human Rights Watch interview with Kailash Satyarthi, South Asian Coalition Against Child Servitude (SACCS), New Delhi, April 1, 2002.
16 Government of Tamil Nadu, Districtwise Integrated Statement of Bonded Labour Identification, Release, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Expenditure Incurred Report for the Month of February 2002, p. 6.
19 Government of Tamil Nadu, Districtwise Integrated Statement of Bonded Labour Identification, Release, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Expenditure Incurred Report for the Month of February 2002, p. 1 (data on prosecutions).
when children are pledged with an employer for work in return for money (and to some extent low wages), is [sic] an offence under this law. Often the parents of the child would be in debt to the employer and this needs to be broken. Employing children below 14 in jobs considered to be dangerous for health (unhygienic) is an offense under Child Labour (Prevention and Regulation) Act, 1986. The Inspectors of Labour appointed for this purpose, should initiate action against those who employ children . . . [R]eceiving compensation under Child Labourers Act does not prevent one from receiving compensation under the Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act.
31 The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act mandates in section 17 that the "appropriate Government" appoint inspectors to enforce the law. Appropriate government is defined to mean the state government unless the place of employment is under the control of the central government, a railway administration, or a major port, mine, or oil field. Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act (1986), sec. 2(i).
32 The Supreme Court specified in 1996 in M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors. that states are responsible for rehabilitating children and the Ministry of Labour is responsible for monitoring the decision's implementation. M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors., 6 SCC 657, Writ. Pet. (C) No. 465/1986 (December 10, 1996); Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act (1986), sec. 4. See also Constitution of India, art. 24.
Human Rights Watch interview with Tamil Nadu government official, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, March 24, 2002.
34 For example, the author of a November 2001 study on child labor in Varanasi's silk industry told Human Rights Watch: "Now people are aware that employing children is bad and illegal and if they are caught they will be fined and sent to jail. This is the only thing that law enforcement has done." Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Alakh N. Sharma, Director, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi, March 10, 2002.
35 For example, according to Professor B.N. Juyal, an expert on child labor, industries have "spread out, deconcentrated from factory premises." Human Rights Watch interview with Professor B.N. Juyal, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, March 12, 2002.
50 Human Rights Watch interview with Lenin Raghuvanshi, People's Vigilance Committee for Human Rights, Varanasi, March 14, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with Girija Kumarababu, Indian Council for Child Welfare, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, March 21, 2002.
51 Human Rights Watch interview with Lenin Raghuvanshi, People's Vigilance Committee for Human Rights, Varanasi, March 12, 2002; B.N. Juyal and M.K. Jha, "Executive Summary," Child Labour Involvement in Sericulture, para. 2.3.10.
52 Human Rights Watch interview with Tanvir Siddiqui, lawyer, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, March 13, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with Lenin Raghuvanshi, People's Vigilance Committee for Human Rights, Varanasi, March 14, 2002; Human Rights Watch group interview with weaving families, village near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, March 14, 2002.
54 For additional information about problems enforcing the child labor law in Karnataka, see Lukose Vallatharai, Commissioner of Labour, Karnataka, "Extracts from a Report of the Labour Commissioner, Karnataka," reprinted in Campaign Against Child Labour-Karnataka (CACL-K), To Liberate Child Labourers: The Mysore Pledge, A Report of the State-level Convention on Liberation of Child Labourers, November 30, 1993, pp. 36-39.
Human Rights Watch interview with former labor inspector, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, March 24, 2002.
57 Mukul Sharma, "Children-India: Rethinking Ways to Free Child Labor," Inter Press Service, November 11, 1998; "Lok Sabha-ILO starts area intensive project in Sivakasi for rehabilitation of child labourers", M2 Presswire, December 13, 2000 (quoting Labour Minister Satyanarayan Jatiya); Department of Labour, Government of Karnataka, Study Material on "Successful prosecution of Child Labour Cases," p. 4.
60 Human Rights Watch interview with Rajeev Kumar Singh, district child labor committee member and director of Dr. Shambunath Singh Research Foundation, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, March 13, 2002. The National Child Labour Policy (NCLP) is discussed in detail below.
63 Department of Labour, Government of Karnataka, "General Statistics," http://labour.kar.nic.in/labour/gen-statistics.htm (retrieved June 13, 2002). Elsewhere the Karnataka government has reported that 2,500 to 3,000 children are working in sericulture manufacturing-it is not clear whether the government considered these children to be working in hazardous labor, although the work is defined as so by law. Department of Labour, Government of Karnataka, An Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labour, 2001; Government of Karnataka, Administrative Guidelines for Implementation of the "Action Plan for Elimination of Child Labour" in Karnataka, undated, p. 38. For an account of the number of children working in sericulture in Karanataka, see section above, "Areas Covered by this Report."
68 Performance Statistics (Particulars of Inspections) The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, 1997-2001 (chart provided to Human Rights Watch by the Office of the Labour Commissioner of Karnataka).
73 Sharma, Child Labour in Sari Units of Varanasi, table 1.1 (citing data from the Labour Department, Varansi). The deputy labour commissioner told the authors of the study that about 50 percent of the children identified under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act from 1997 to 2000 were working in the sari industry. Ibid.
78 The Child Labour Act explicitly exempts: "any workshop wherein any process is carried on by the occupier with the aid of his family or to any school established by, or receiving assistance or recognition from, Government." Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act (1986), part II, sec. 3.
84 Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act (1986), art. 10. See also Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules (1988), art. 17 (regarding age certificates to be issued by certified medical authorities).
86 Human Rights Watch interview with G.S. Narayana Swamy, Deputy Commissioner for Bangalore Rural District, Bangalore, Karnataka, March 26, 2002. A report prepared by the deputy commissioner's office and given to Human Rights Watch reports the lack of proof of children's ages usually causes courts to acquit employers. Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka, Feedback from National Child Labour Project Schools, undated but reporting data through 2001.
88 The National Labour Institute in an investigation of enforcement of the child labor law found that: "[a] majority of the Inspectors admitted that, because of the duties of inspecting various establishments under a number of labour laws which are in the priority list, they do not get sufficient time to carry out inspections under the Child Labour Act. Desk work demands much time while the lack of transport discourages them from visiting factories in interior areas where the units are numerous and scattered." Sekar, "The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, and its Implementation," Child Labour: An Overview, p. 56.
91 Human Rights Watch interview with Mahaveer Jain, Senior Fellow, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, April 1, 2002. M. Jain conducts training through the National Labour Institute. See National Resource Centre on Child Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, Manual for Factor/Labour Inspectors for the Enforcement of Child Labour Legislation, 2000; National Resource Centre on Child Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, Manual for Trainers of Enforcement Officials in Child Labour Legislation, 2d. ed, 2000.
92 Human Rights Watch interview with K. Rajaraman, District Collector, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, March 19, 2002. Similarly, the project director for the district's night schools for working children told us: "Nothing will happen if we prosecute [employers of children], so we need rehabilitation through education." Human Rights Watch interview with night schools project director, Kanchipuram District, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, March 19, 2002.
94 Information in the section, unless otherwise indicated, is drawn from Ministry of Labour, Government of India, Policy and Programme for the Rehabilitation of Working Children & Manual for the Implementation of National Child Labour Projects, (Noida: V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, 1998); National Resource Centre on Child Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, National Child Labour Projects: An Evaluation, October 26, 2001; Ministry of Labour, Government of India, Annual Report 2001-2002; "National Policy on Child Labour-1987," reprinted in National Resource Centre on Child Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, Child Labour in India-An Overview, 2d ed. (New Delhi: V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, 2001), pp. 101-109. Curricula are not standardized. Some schools use the formal school curricula; others use non-formal education methods.
96 National Resource Centre on Child Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, National Child Labour Projects: An Evaluation, pp. 5. 19, 22-24 (finding that most committees met infrequently "and even if there are meetings, the agenda is very often not adhered to," were not conducting regular surveys, had not provided available government services to children and their families that would prevent them from returning to work and encourage mainstreaming, and were not promoting enforcement of labor law). Of the one hundred projects, the National Labour Institute examined fifty projects (524 schools out of 1,976).
98 The study found that the NCLP executive committees in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were "mostly non-functional and that most societies had failed to conduct surveys of child labour although they had sufficient funds to do so, that there was almost no state level monitoring and that monitoring at the district level depended on the personal interest of district project officers." Kishore Attavar and Ravindra Prakash Y.J., Social Science Research Center, The Status of NCLP in Three States of South India (Andhra, Tamilnadu & Karnataka), sponsored by Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL-K), March 2002, pp. 14-16.
99 Human Rights Watch interview with Rajeev Kumar Singh, district child labor committee member and director of Dr. Shambunath Singh Research Foundation, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, March 13, 2002. When Human Rights Watch met with the deputy labor commissioner, he told Human Rights Watch that the committee was meeting the following day; however, Mr. Singh had not been notified of the meeting before that point. Human Rights Watch interview with Rakesh Kumar, Deputy Labour Commissioner, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, March 13, 2002.
105 Ibid.; Ministry of Labour, Government of India, Annual Report 2000-2001, p. 127. In Karnataka, the schools covered 5,700 children, in Tamil Nadu 20,986, and in Uttar Pradesh 16,987. Ministry of Labour, Annual Report 2001-2002, p 109.
107 Human Rights Watch interview with Chaman Lal, NHRC Special Rapporteur, New Delhi, March 11, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with Kailash Satyarthi, South Asian Coalition Against Child Servitude (SACCS), New Delhi, April 1, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with Tamil Nadu government official, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, March 24, 2002. Compare National Resource Centre on Child Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, National Child Labour Projects: An Evaluation, October 26, 2001, p. 29 (finding that while some NCLP schools enrolled non-working children, most were enrolling "children actually withdrawn from working hazardous occupations and processes").
115 Project Director, Child Labour Project Society, Bangalore Rural District, Details of NCLP Special Schools Functioning in Bangalore Rural District as on February 5, 2002, February 12, 2002; National Resource Centre on Child Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, National Child Labour Projects: An Evaluation, pp. 5, 27-28, 61-62. A 2000 evaluation of NCLP schools in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka found that teaching materials for the schools were not being adequately developed, staff lacked training, girls did not have equal access to schools, and there was no proper evaluation and monitoring. Kishore Attavar, Social Science Research Center, The Status of NCLP in Three States of South India, pp. 4-5.
116 Human Rights Watch interview with K. Chandramouli, Joint Secretary for Child Labour, Ministry of Labour, New Delhi, April 2, 2002; see also Government of India, Ministry of Labour, Child Labour, http://labour.nic.in/cwl/welcome.html (retrieved July 9, 2002) (stating that about 140,000 children from NCLP schools have been mainstreamed into formal education).
118 Human Rights Watch interview with Mr. Manjuth, Project Director, National Child Labour Project, Bangalore Rural District, Bangalore, Karnataka, March 26, 2002. Mr. Manjuth acknowledged that "some children go back to their employers.
120 Department of Labour, Government of Karnataka, An Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labour, 2001; Government of Karnataka, Administrative Guidelines for Implementation of the "Action Plan for Elimination of Child Labour" in Karnataka, undated, pp. 37-38.
121 Human Rights Watch interview with G.S. Narayana Swamy, Deputy Commissioner for Bangalore Rural District, Bangalore, Karnataka, March 26, 2002; see also Department of Labour, Government of Karnataka, An Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labour, 2001, p. 38.
122 Magadi Child Labour Elimination Project: Information of Children Who Have Been Rehabilitated Through the Residential Bridge Centres. Enrolment to School and Also the No. at Present in the Centers, September 1999-January 2002.
126 Ibid.; District of Kanchipuram, Nilavoli Palligal Project Proposals for Addressing Issues of Child Labour and Use Alternative Methodology in Education Working Children in Kanchipuram District, undated but reporting data from 2002.
133 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), art. 10, adopted December 18, 1979, G.A. Res. 34/180, U.N. Doc. A/34/46 (entered into force September 3, 1981, and ratified by India July 9, 1993); International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXXI), 993 U.N.T.S. 3 (entered into force January 2, 1976, and ratified by India April 10, 1979), arts. 2, 13; Convention on the Rights of the Child, arts. 2, 28.
149 According to the head of an NGO running several NCLP schools in Varanasi, while some working children are migrants, NCLP schools are not placed in areas where children migrate from but rather where the children are working. Human Rights Watch interview with Rajeev Kumar Singh, district child labor committee member and director of Dr. Shambunath Singh Research Foundation, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, March 13, 2002. When migrant children are released, many return to their homes and do not receive any rehabilitation, although the Supreme Court held that migrants' homes states are responsible for rehabilitating them.
174 Ministry of Labour, Government of India, Report on Ratified ILO Convention No. 29 concerning Forced Labour, under Article 22 of the ILO Constitution, No. W-1 301512/2000-ILAS(IV), May 20, 2001 (covering the period from June 1, 1999 to May 31, 2000).
176 "Bonded Child Labourers Vent Their Ire," The Times of India, January 28, 2002; "They Want to Go to School but Can't Do So," The Hindu, January 28, 2002; Human Rights Watch interviews with organizers of the event, Karnataka, March 25 and 27, 2002.
on "Successful Prosecution of Child Labour Cases," pp. 30-31. Researchers at the National Labour Institute have also concluded that "pressures from the industrialists lobby on the Labour Department also results in ineffective implementation." Sekar, "The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, and its Implementation," Child Labour: An Overview, p. 57.
The scope of corruption and allied malpractices arise at several stages in the day to day working of the police. A few typical situations are listed below: (1) Bribe demanded and received for registering a case and proceeding with investigation. (2) Bribe connected with arrest or non-arrest of accused and release or non-release on bail. . . . (4) Extorting money by threatening persons, particularly the ill-informed and weaker sections of society, with conduct of searches, arrests and prosecution in court on some charge or the other. . . . (6) Fabricating false evidence during investigations of cases and implicating innocent persons or leaving out guilty persons on mala fide considerations. . . . (12) Bribery at the stage of recruitment to police.
194 The National Labour Institute, in a study of NCLP schools commissioned by the Ministry of Education, found that "awareness generation alone may not ensure participation of target groups [child in hazardous work] in this programme [NCLP]." National Resource Centre on Child Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, National Child Labour Projects: An Evaluation, p. 4.
211 Human Rights Watch interview with NGO director and employee, Bangalore, Karnataka, March 25 and 27, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with NGO director and employees, Bangalore, Karnataka, March 25, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with NGO director, Bangalore, Karnataka, March 25, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with NGO staff, Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka, March 29, 2002.
218 For example, a 2001 study by the National Labour Institute for the Ministry of Labour found that in government schools: "the poor availability of basic teaching tools (such as blackboards) and also insufficient number of teachers and lack of proper training among the teachers would render the entire teaching a dull and drab affair for the children." National Resource Centre on Child Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, National Child Labour Projects: An Evaluation, p. 4.
220 Human Rights Watch interview with ten-year-old girl, Ramanagaram, Karnataka, March 29, 2002. Nine-year-old Wasim N. said: "I was attending a regular school before this one, but the teacher was asking me to do a lot of chores during school, and my mother said there wasn't need for me to do all of that." Human Rights Watch interview with nine-year-old boy, Ramanagaram, Karnataka, March 29, 2002.
222 Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, Education For All: The Year 2000 Assessment Report, (2000), Part II, Table 2.6 (citing MHRD, Selected Educational Statistics 1997-98; NCERT, State Directorates of Education, VI All India Educational Survey, (1997-98)).