Over 8,000 Children Working in Delhi Garment Factories

New Delhi: Over 8,000 children are working in garment factories in different parts of the national capital, an NGO report has revealed. The report, titled 'The Hidden Workforce', by NGO Save the Children, was today released by Delhi Minister for Women and Child Development Sandeep Kumar.

According to the report, over 8,000 children are engaged in the booming garment industry and up to 70 per cent of them could be girls. The highest number of children (1,922) is estimated to be working in garment-related activities in Okhala of South-East District, while the least was found in Tuglaqabad ward (241).

The findings reveal that 64 per cent of children have lived in Delhi since their birth. However, their families had earlier migrated to Delhi from states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Around 36 per cent children reported to have migrated from these four states. According to the report, significantly high numbers of children seemed to be engaged in household-level work, with 87 per cent working in home settings with their family to supplement household income and only 13 per cent working in 'addas', household-based units where unrelated adults and children work together.

"The report was prepared after researching 14 garment industry hotspots across five districts of Delhi (out of the total 11 districts) for this purpose. It was a very difficult process as employers were reluctant to cooperate in the study," Save the Children CEO Thomas Chandy said. Delhi is also known as the hub of garment export industry in India. According to the report, there has been an emerging phenomenon of informalisation under manufacturing garments units, owing to sub-contracting and outsourcing of work.

After publishing the report, the minister announced that a committee would be constituted, besides civil society and NGOs, to help the children engaged in different industries. "It is perturbing and shameful that children's engagement in informal labour, including in the garment industry, which has also contributed to the rising rate of school drop-outs, continues to be a sad reality in the national capital," Kumar said.

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