Caught in a Web
Shantha Sinha
ENSLAVED INNOCENCE: CHILD LABOUR IN SOUTH ASIA by Shakti Kak Primus Books, 2012, 340 pp., 995
November 2012, volume 36, No 11

Enslaved Innocence: Child Labour in South Asia examines the exploitation of children in India which has the largest number of child labour in the world today. The papers in the volume look at the complex issue of definition of child labour, causes for persistence of child labour through colonial and contemporary times, magnitude or extent of child labour in the country and the problems in capturing the data on the issue. It shows how bleak the situation is and the inevitability of child labour given the web of exploitation and structural factors. It seems that examining the question ‘why child labour’ gives little hope for changing the existing reality until the structural issues of process of production and globalization are addressed. The chapters that seek to answer the question how to abolish child labour and the factors that have worked in ensuring children’s enjoyment of their right to education are full of possibilities and have shown how education is an important entitlement to combat child labour. In a way, while study of data and statistics is debilitating, a study of practices on the ground gives hope and tells a story of social transformation and change.

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