Rat Hole Minors
In the coal mines of India, tens of thousands of children are forced to work in "rat holes", tiny pits too small for adults to reach. Why are the authorities turning a blind eye to this lethal and illegal practice?
"We might get hit by a wire or rocks...along the path there are holes and you never know when you might fall", says 13-year-old Lakpa of the tiny, dark tunnels stretching over 50 metres into the earth that he works in each day. According to Hasina Karbith, a charity worker for Indian NGO Impulse, there are over 70,000 underage children working just in the mines of Meghalaya. The charity is trying to fight what they say is a rampant illegal industry of trafficking from Nepal and child labour in the mines. "We wrote more than 60 letters to the government with the findings and still we didn't get any response. I still remember the day when the government wrote back to us and said, 'you have to present the names of the 70,000 children. If you cannot do it in the next 15 days then your organisation is going to be shut down'." Produced by Dateline, SBS AustraliaFULL SYNOPSIS