Nobel Peace Prize awardee and child rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi, has expressed his fears over the coronavirus pandemic forcing children into labour.
"The biggest threat is that millions of children may fall back into slavery, trafficking, child labour, child marriage," News18 quoted Satyarthi as saying.
Families are under pressure to put their kids to work as the pandemic has pushed millions into poverty. Child labourers across the country can be found in various industries, like brick kilns, carpet-weaving, garment-making, domestic service, agriculture, fisheries and mining.
Satyarthi's organisation earlier this month rescued dozens of girls during a raid in western India on a shrimp processing unit. The rescue operation was backed by the police.
"Once children fall into that trap they could be pulled into prostitution and could be trafficked easily ... this is another danger which government have to address now," Satyarthi said. He added that he believes and fears that sexual abuse of children was also on the rise amid the pandemic.
"I cannot be satisfied even if one single child is enslaved ... it means there is something wrong in our polity, in our economy, in our society, we have to ensure that not a single child is left out," he told Reuters.