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SCOTT JAGOW: In India, children have jobs. It’s just the way things have always been done. But starting today, it’s illegal to hire kids under age 14 as servants or as workers in tea shops or restaurants or hotels. Miranda Kennedy reports from New Delhi.
MIRANDA KENNEDY: Human rights groups say as many as 100 million kids work in India. That’s more than anywhere else in the world.
Many of them are impoverished village kids, hired to be house servants in middle class homes.
Leyla Takemore Reddy, with the International Labor Organization, says that’s still socially acceptable in India.
LEYLA TAKEMORE REDDY: The families often feel they’re doing the child a favor. But when you look at the real conditions, the child is very often excluded from schooling, there are cases of abuses, both of violence and sexual nature.
Reddy says today’s ban is a good step, but unless the cultural attitude to child labor changes, it’ll be hard to stop kids from working.
Children as young as 8 often support their parents and since millions of Indians don’t have access to good, affordable schools, families figure they might as well get a job.
In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.
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