Police discovered 120 children, some of them sick, underweight and traumatised, during the most recent raids late on Thursday on bangle-making and other workshops, as part of a city-wide crackdown on child slavery, the officer said.
“They have chronic skin diseases and were underfed. They are in trauma and visibly shaken,” V. Satyanarayana, deputy police commissioner for south Hyderabad, said.
“They were kept in dingy rooms with no ventilation and exposure to harmful gases,” the commissioner said. “The campaign against bonded labour and trafficking will continue,” he added.
The children complained of being forced to work 16 hours a day without breaks, and were threatened with violence and no food if they disobeyed orders, the officer said.
Many of the children were transported from the impoverished northern state of Bihar last year after their parents sold them to traffickers for between 5,000 rupees ($80) and 10,000 rupees ($160), according to rescuers. (DAWN, 31 Jan 2015)
Whilst many will commend the efforts of anyone who saves a child from the misery of slavery and exploitation, it is sad to admit that the lives of these poor children in India will not improve drastically after being rescued.
Parents are often unable to afford to feed, clothe and educate their children and take financial incentives as a way to deal with this problem by selling a child. Whilst a family may get short term financial relief from traffickers and agents, the children that are sold face immense misery and lack any sort of security, often being physically and sexually abused.
Although Article 24 of India’s constitution prohibits child labour, according to government figures from last year, some 4 million Indian children work as domestic helpers, in roadside restaurants and in factories making clothes and other items. Activists say the actual figures are much higher. In many cases children are kidnapped and sold adding to the woes of families.
India’s business community was addressed in Obama’s recent visit and appeals for more trade relations between USA and India from the head of capitalism cannot bode well for the poor who are prone to exploitation. India is hailed as making great leaps in development yet is still well known to be the home of the largest number of child labourers in the world and the laws to protect children from exploitation have been described as ‘regressive’. Amendment to laws in this area is slow as economic gains in capitalism are far more important than the protection of the lives of children.
Islam has dealt with these issues with a real sense of humanity.
Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said,
«قَالَ اللَّهُ ثَلاَثَةٌ أَنَا خَصْمُهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، رَجُلٌ أَعْطَى بِي ثُمَّ غَدَرَ، وَرَجُلٌ بَاعَ حُرًّا فَأَكَلَ ثَمَنَهُ، وَرَجُلٌ اسْتَأْجَرَ أَجِيرًا فَاسْتَوْفَى مِنْهُ، وَلَمْ يُعْطِ أَجْرَهُ»
“There are three people whom I will oppose on the Day of Resurrection: a man who gives his word by Me but proves treacherous; a man who sells a free person and consumes the price; and a man who employs a worker and receives a completed job but he does not pay him his wages.” (Sahih Bukhari, Number 430)
The Islamic system focuses on the circulation of wealth as opposed to the production of wealth. We see today countries like India that can produce huge revenues from trade to the western and local markets yet the gap between rich and poor still exists.
Furthermore the Khilafah state is responsible in providing for those who cannot provide for themselves, with basic needs guaranteed to all citizens regardless of caste and creed. There are far fewer chances for exploitation out of desperation if a person is able to meet his/her basic needs.
People are also not seen as a commodity to be brought or sold and kidnapping and selling a child will be a punishable offence within a society that values each member of the state as much more than their economic potential. Through compulsory education, the Khilafah state will ensure children receive a high standard of education and not spend the early years of their lives as fuel for economic growth instead of learning important skills and knowledge which will allow them to reach their real potential.
A just system, sent by the Creator سبحانه وتعالى is the only salvation for the exploited and vulnerable children of India and the whole of humanity.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
“We have only sent you as a mercy to all the worlds. “
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Nazia Rehman – Pakistan