//Child rights body asks India to ban labour up to 18

Child rights body asks India to ban labour up to 18

Sat Aug 26, 2006

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – International child rights' body Save the Children urged India on Saturday to ban child labour up to 18 years rather than 14 as planned, saying there are many child domestic workers in the older age bracket.

Earlier this month, India banned children under the age of 14 from working as domestic servants or in hotels, tea shops, restaurants and resorts. Government data shows there are more than 11 million under-14 child labourers.

The ban is due to come into effect from October 10 and those violating it could face jail terms of up to two years and a maximum fine of 20,000 rupees.

"We welcome the government's plans to protect the children from abuse but from the survey we have conducted, we see the need to increase the age group to save many more children inflicted with abuse," Shireen Vakil Miller of Save the Children said.

The four-year study conducted primarily in West Bengal, shows 74 percent of child domestic workers to be between 12 to 16 years of age.

It also says 68 percent of children faced physical abuse and 32 percent faced sexual abuse with 20 percent of the child labourers forced to have intercourse.