and by The Hindu, 30-9-2007
'Over 4 lakh kids in India are bonded labourers'
More than four lakh children, mostly girls and under 18 years of age, are involved as child labour in cottonseed fields in India, a human rights report has said.
Nearly 4,16,000 children below 18 years, almost half of which are even younger than 14 years of age are working in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the report said, adding that compared to the 2003-2004 harvest season, the total number of such children has risen.
The figures only decreased in Andhra Pradesh because of local and international pressure, it said. The study titled "Child bondage continues in Indian cotton supply chain", was jointly released by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), the International Labour Rights Forum (ILRF, USA), OECD Watch, German Agro-Action and OneWorld Net NRW of Germany.
The statistics, the report said, are based on field research and it has been authored by Davuluri Venkateswarlu, director of Glocal Research.
ICN's director Gerard Oonk said: "The report makes it chillingly clear that our cotton products are tainted with massive bonded child labour."
"The companies involved, both Indian and multinational, concerned governments and international organisations, should make every effort to get the children out of this pernicious work force and are admitted into school," Oonk said.