Child labour awareness campaign on Goa beaches

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Panaji, June 10 (IANS) Goa Tourism and State Children’s Commission for Protection of Child Rights have come up with extensive campaigns to discourage tourists in the state from buying products and services involving child labour.

“This year, we are starting an awareness campaign on the coastal belt about child labour. So many children are involved in selling imitation jewellery, photos, sugar cane juice, peanuts etc,” chairperson of Goa State Children Commission Sushma Kirtani told IANS on Thursday.

Kirtani said the commission had conducted several inspections along the beaches to take stock of the extent of child labour.

The campaign would start during the upcoming tourist season and aimed at discouraging tourists from abetting child labour, especially along the tourism-centric coastal areas, Kirtani said.

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The 2011 census estimates there are around 10,000 children between the ages of five and 17 who are employed in various capacities in the state.

The coastal belt which attracts around four million tourists in the state, accounts for a chunk of child workforce which engages in seasonal chores like working at beach shacks, food and trinket-stalls etc.

Goa’s tourism season conventionally begins in October, once the monsoon recedes and ends in March.

According to Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar, his ministry was trying to supplement the existing 30-member strong Tourism Security Force by 120 personnel to curb the menace.

“We will complete the process (of recruitment) in the next few months … They will work under the tourism ministry and after that we will completely be able to control the practice of child labour,” Parulekar said.

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