India has the unfortunate distinction of having the largest number of victims of child labour, bonded labour and trafficking engaged in hazardous and exploitative situations. BBA receives complaints from parents and gathers information from various sources about such children, rescues them with the help of government authorities, and reunites them with their families. We ensure their education and rehabilitation using various state provisions, and through its own rehabilitation-cum- education centers. Since 1980, more than 76,000 child/bonded labourers have been freed from brick kilns, stone quarries, domestic labour, hotels/dhabas, carpet looms, agriculture and allied work etc. BBA makes a major difference in their lives by restoring their childhood, freedom and dignity.
BBA also works to prevent child labour, bonded labour and trafficking through preventative measures. We run campaigns on local, national and international level to change society’s attitudes towards child labour as well as improve government policy and legal provisions. BBA has also established a programme of Bal Mitra Grams (child friendly villages) where the communities are sensitized to effects of child labour, and children receive a quality education and an opportunity to participate in local governance structures.
BBA tries to secure freedom for child labourers or slave children through:
- Direct Action (raids and rescues)
- Judicial/Legal Interventions
- Community Awareness through campaigns
- Community/Mass Mobilization
- Parental Motivation
- Persuading and Pressurizing Employers
- Advocating Child Friendly Policies/Laws
The three aspects on which BBA focuses predominantly are:
BBA focuses on preventing the involvement of new children into the already existing and ever-expanding child workforce. This is done through marches and rallies (most famous is the Global March Against Child Labour of 1998) and awareness campaigns such as Anti Fire Crackers Campaign etc regarding the issue of child labour which sensitizes the public on the issue and encourages them to curb the problem of child labour and become future change agents. Awareness campaigns educate people on the rights of the children and requests them to stop employing children as domestic labourers or buy products which have been made by child labourers and report to the authorities about anyone who employ children. Other ways of preventing children from entering the workforce is by educating the parents through Parental Motivation. Employers of children are persuaded and pressurized to free the children or not employ children. BBA also advocates child friendly laws and policies which truly work in favor of children. Increase in the number of employers punished also acts as a deterrent and curbs the employment of children by others.
BBA focuses on the protection of these children who are forced to work as just having knowledge about these children is not enough. Something must be done for which Raid and Rescue is carried out. BBA/SACCS has been the only organization which has championed the strategy of direct raid and rescue in both hazardous and non-hazardous industries. We, at BBA, believe justice delayed is justice denied as childhood does not wait. Once lost, it can never come back. Raid and Rescue is one of the ways to obtain quick justice but needs to be used with wisdom and handled with utmost care. Our efforts have led to the release of children from the shackles of servitude with the help of judiciary, quasi judicial commission like national Human Rights Commission. Direct raids are conducted at the request of the families or communities whose children are suspected to be under bondage or where our activists have identified children under servitude.
Legal Intervention is also sought through which thousands of children were rescued from the bondage and the employers prosecuted for unlawful employment in hazardous and non-hazardous occupations in different states. BBA has liberated over 75,000 bonded/child labourers from different industries (carpet, stone quarry, brick kiln, construction, agricultural, bidi, glass & bangles, domestic child labour etc.) through secret raids and with the help of judicial intervention in the last 20 years.
One of the most important requirements of the rescued children is transitory rehabilitation, especially children without parent support. Rehabilitation helps these children overcome the acute physical and mental they had undergone in the past. Further not only do these children require special attention, but in their years of bondage have lost out on education and health and need to be slowly and carefully integrated back into mainstream society. Rehabilitation can be Statutory- based Rehabilitation and Center- based Rehabilitation.
Statutory-based Rehabilitation is provided to rescue child labourers under Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act 1976 and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.
Release of bonded/child labourers would be hollow and meaningless if not followed by immediate and effective rehabilitation as most of them are from poor families. Sending these children back to their families immediately would push them back into the system of exploitation. Mukti Ashram, Balika Ashram and Bal Ashram, our three transit rehabilitation cum vocational training centers for the freed bonded / child labourers situated in the outskirts of Delhi and in Virat Nagar, Rajasthan are the shining examples of transit rehabilitation where released children enjoy the fruits of freedom.
In the rehabilitation centers, children receive basic education in reading, writing and simple arithmetics to facilitate their absorption into mainstream schools as most of them have never received any kind of education. Children who cannot cope with the teaching are provided with vocational training of their choice such as carpentry, tailoring, painting, etc. Physical education is also imparted along with education on personal hygiene and etiquette. Social education on certain social and human rights issues such as child labour, child marriage, poverty etc is provided to instill in the children certain basic social values and to help them reflect on certain issues like women’s rights, gender equity and environmental protection, making them responsible citizens. The committee system was devised to build confidence and promote leadership qualities. Childrens’ participation in campaigns is also encouraged for the same so that they act as leaders of today and of the future. Cultural education is also imparted in order to instill a sense of cultural pride among the children through patriotic songs, folk songs and dance forms, etc. Most important of all our rehabilitation centers try to restore the lost childhood of these children which we believe is one of their basic rights.
After rehabilitation these children go back to their respective villages where they either enroll in schools or take up a job, if they are 18 years and above.
BBA has triggered a ripple effect in India and the international community. The tide is turning in favor of the children, the small lamp has multiplied into a galaxy of stars, and the sun is now desperate to join hands with the children to play with them like a child
BBA has also targeted and is trying to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDG):
We tirelessly work towards drawing public attention to the plight of these children and to help bring an end to their appalling conditions. We works towards preventing the further employment of children, protecting them and freeing the child labourers and helping these children pursue their dreams and bring about changes in the society in the future. BBA helps children grow into responsible, secure and aware citizens.
- Achieve Universal Primary Education
- Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women