Although child labor is outlawed in India, national laws are trumped by tribal rules in some regions and ignored in others, allowing children as young as 8 to work in dangerous coal mines without consequences to the owners or managers.
Wearing only shorts and flip-flops, thousands of children throughout India work in coal mines without the protection of a helmet or gloves, often for as little as a dollar an hour. Though deaths often go unreported, injuries can be fatal when the nearest hospital is three hours away and the local doctor is only armed with aspirin and bandages.
Some children are forced to watch as their friends attend school and learn to read, knowing they themselves may never escape the mines.
Children everywhere deserve the chance to be kids, to get an education and to grow up without having to put in 8 hours of hard labor every day. Tell Indian President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil to be a voice for the child miners of India and to end child labor once and for all.
While India has made great strides in protecting children, certain loopholes have been found that allow children to work for as little as $1 a day in coal mines. Mining is a dangerous job even for those who have the proper protective gear, but many of the children working in mines do so in shorts and flip-flop shoes, without as much as helmets or gloves for protection. Because the nearest hospital is often hours away and the local doctor is armed with only aspirin and bandages, many injuries are fatal.
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All children deserve the chance to go to school and become strong and productive members of society. India has already shown dedication to child welfare and education, and I ask that you work to close the loopholes that take children out of schools and into coal mines.
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