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Child labour continues to be a deep issue for Tirupur

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UNICEF recently released a report that child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide [1] with India accounting for 7.3% of that figure [2]. The numbers have risen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic causing unemployment rates to soar. Therefore, the high level of poverty has caused families to send their children to work for financial support. Child labour in India is extremely detrimental to children of such a young age as it hinders their progression in education causing learning disabilities. As well as long lasting psychological effects such as post-traumatic disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety [3].

Child labour continues to run a deep issue for Tirupur. This extreme and exploited use of labourers has led to the Tirupur district administration officials getting involved which has resulted in the rescue of 40 workers between the ages of 15 and 18 years old across private spinning mills located in the outskirts of the city near Alathur in July 2020[4].

Many of these victimised workers are children from poor families who are being forced to work to aid with their families’ financial situations. Due to the severe spread of poverty across these rural areas, parents are forcing their children as young as 12 years old to work at these private spinning mills [5]. Chairperson of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) M Premalatha, said, “Based on a complaint, we have inspected the spinning mill. As the children were forced to work against their will, we rescued them [6].”

Furthermore, female child workers are more susceptible to acts of sexual violence and abuse with reports in 2015 of a 13-year-old girl, native of Andipatti and employed under the Sumangali scheme (a form of child labour practiced in India) was raped by supervisor, Mani whilst working in a spinning mill [7]. Mani was later arrested and prosecuted under the protection of children from sexual offences act (POCSO) and under the SC and ST (prevention of atrocities) act [8].

The 13-year-old girl is one of the many young females who are exploited through the Sumangali scheme. ‘Recruiters’ as they are formally known as, visit households which are financially unstable and indoctrinate the families into releasing their young daughters to work in the textile industry, with even some daughters being taken without their parent’s consent [9].

With more than 5,000 unregistered mills in Tiripur [10], it is impossible to locate and identify the various victims of child labour but Justice In Fashion are endeavouring to highlight this fundamental issue which is rising once again.

[1] Gupta, A. and Sarkar, S., 2021. Child

labour rises to 160 million – first increase in two decades. [online] Available at:


[Accessed 14 July 2021].

[2] The Times of India. 2020. World Day Against Child Labour 2020: Some facts about child labour that will leave you shocked - Times of India. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 14 July 2021].

[3] Ramachandran, A., 2020. Child Labor in India - Humanium. [online] Humanium. Available at: <> [Accessed 14 July 2021].

[4] The New Indian Express. 2020. Report sought on plea to save kids working in Tirupur private textile mills.

[online] Available at: <> [Accessed 14 July 2021].

[5] Gautham, K., 2015. Child labour

flourishes in Tirupur's backyard | Coimbatore News - Times of India.[online] The Times of India. Available at:

<> [Accessed 14 July 2021].