Brick kilns and gravel quarries are a common sight in West Bengal, Orissa and the surrounding states of India. The children that work here are exploited 12-16 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Their world consists only of these mud holes, drying fields, kilns, rock piles and grinders. At night they sleep in the open or in makeshift shelter where sanitary conditions are nonexistent. There are no schools here, and for many there isn’t even a family. Over 1/3 of the children working at this kiln and 1/4 of the children at the quarry have been shipped here from other areas, where their parents have been forced to either sell them into slavery or are dependent on the meager wages that these children can provide.
Above West Bengal, India 9-year-old bonded (slave) child laborer pulling excess clay from a brick form. The bricks behind her represent a day’s work.
Gravel Quarry"The children in that quarry may be invisible in our ordinary life but they affect our life. I don’t think that any of us would feel comfortable being buried under a tombstone made by slave-child labor. But one of India’s biggest exports to the United States is tombstone marble. And it comes from quarries where children work."
- Pharis Harvey, International Labor Rights Fund
"I started working in a stone quarry when I was ten. A lot of children worked there and they would get hurt all the time. If we got hurt, they never gave us medicine."
- Kaushalya Kumari, age 15