Hardscrabble children sell corn in the heat by Indias roads

by Vaishnavee Sharma, The Associated Press Posted Jun 11, 2017 11:16 pm MDT Last Updated Jun 12, 2017 at 6:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NOIDA, India – Every 100 metres (330 feet) or so along a busy expressway on the outskirts of New Delhi, you’ll find a child selling corn — quite possibly a child too young to be working legally.Twelve-year-old Prakash is one of them. Lolling amid the discarded husks from earlier sales, he doesn’t seem bothered by the 40 degree Celsius heat (100 degrees Fahrenheit) or the buzzing flies. “We all work together and live together,” he says, gesturing toward 15 or so other boys working the highway.Each is dropped off by their employer every morning with a sack full of boiled corn. They spend their days trying to flag down drivers. They don’t leave until their sacks are empty, sometimes 12 hours later.Are all as young as Prakash? There’s no way to be sure. Each seems to change their age with each answer, often forgetting the number they previously mentioned. Most are careful, however, to use a number above 14 — the legal age in India to work in non-family enterprises. Young men, whom the boys claim are their elder brothers, patrol the highway on motorcycles, ensuring business runs smoothly. They also tell them not to speak to visiting journalists.Most comply, anxious to keep jobs that pay about $80 per month — far more than they could earn back home. All the boys have moved to Noida, southeast of New Delhi, from rural villages in search of work.On Monday, the World Day Against Child Labor, the International Labour Organization said 168 million children are labourers, or about one in nine children overall.India, in its 2011 census, estimated the country had 8.3 million child labourers. Uttar Pradesh state, where Noida is located, alone accounted for 1.8 million of that total. UNICEF says child labour has declined overall in India but its urban areas have seen an increase.Meanwhile, Prakash and the other boys are still selling their corn late in the afternoon. Their sacks are not yet empty.___Follow Vaishnavee Sharma on Twitter at http://twitter.com/veesharma07 In this Thursday June 8, 2017 photo, Indian boy Bhure, poses as he sits near his make shift corn stall along a busy expressway in Noida, India. Bhure says he at times receives job offers from some of his customers promising double of what he earns. Every 100 meters (330 feet) or so there are children selling corn along this busy expressway on the outskirts of New Delhi. According to India’s 2011 census, boys them him are part of the estimated 8.3 million child laborers In India. Uttar Pradesh state, where Noida is located, alone accounts for 1.8 million of that total. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal) Hardscrabble children sell corn in the heat by India’s roads read more