That shine is not bright: Firozabad traps small hand with the sound of clinks

Vikrant works in a bangle factory, for eight hours and somehow manages to receive 30 to 35 rupees per day. It’s been his daily routine at this age. He gets no time to study; he also has no alternative option than child labour and what his parents can give in return is the art of making bangles, as they believe it’s a “god-given lineage”.

Consequently, they perpetuate a cycle of poverty and ill-health. People in this area survive their whole life in congested and gloomy houses, the houses have crumbling walls, unsteady doors and some have no windows in their house.

Indian town where glass-making is a household craft | | Al Jazeera

Bangle-makers in Firozabad are born in poverty, live in poverty, and eventually die in poverty. This place is very famous for colorful bangles but making them is not easy, people are trapped under the shine of red-green-yellow-blue bangle and sound of clinks, as this city is also infamous for ‘Child Labour Market’. The glass of bangles reflects a horror, fear of bondage, where the slave trade still exists in the form of child labourers.

Manufacturers brilliantly go against anti-child labour laws despite knowing child labour is banned in the factories, where the glass is melted, stretched, wound around cylinders, and cut into circles into sweltering, hazardous conditions.

Nonetheless, manufacturers misuse the rights of thousands of children by involving them in all stages of forming glass into bangles, and in return, they are paid very low wages. Children sit crouching for hours by a burner inhaling toxic fumes while their deft fingers picked up and molded the ends of glittering bangles. Due to this many children lose their eyesight while working. In addition to this always there are the dangers of open propane container fumes and burns.

Indian town where glass-making is a household craft | | Al Jazeera

However yet there is no accurate data available on the total number of children employed in Firozabad’s bangle industry, but lately, roughly hundreds of child labourers are currently working in some 400 registered bangle units of the city.

They won’t be able to run away from this poverty-stricken cycle ever, because they don’t even have adequate money to run away from the trade. They are stuck in a toxic circle of bureaucrats, politicians, and middlemen who do not even allow them to organize themselves and ask for rights; rather they are sent to prison on false pretexts.

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