The cultivation pf BT cotton is different, as artificial cross pollination is required to produce high quality cotton. The duration for artificial pollination starts from Monsoon season, the process stays till Diwali. After this any fruit grows on plant counts for low quality cotton.
After this brief explanation about the cultivation BT cotton, let’s move to derive the hidden cost of our clothes.
The process itself explains that a huge number of labour is required for cross-pollination. Now who are the labour for this cultivation?
They are children from villages. In villages, the small landholder’s each family member above 4 years works on farms for this cross-pollination. But in big farms the labour requirement is huge, so huge number of children are sent from Kotra, Jhadol and from other Blocks of Udaipur District of Rajasthan to Gujrat through labour contractors.
According to UN protocol, child trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation. The nature and scope of trafficking range from agriculture, industrial and domestic labour, to forced early marriages and commercial sexual exploitation.
On household survey done in Jhadol Block, few reasons came across for child trafficking. They are economic issue, unemployment, child is not interested in going to school, lack of awareness, desire of independence, peer pressure. The common reason heard from children is “want of money”. They have to work from 4 am till evening, due to this they are suffering from back pain problem, skin problem, sexual transmitted diseases (STDs), loss of sight, excessive weight loss, malaria, emotional stress, social exclusion and are often victim of snake bites. They are provided with vegetable and food supplies at higher price which are of poor quality. During this time many of them gets addicted to alcohol.
The future of these children is dark, this darkness in their life is hidden cost of our clothes.
There are lot more hidden cost associated with our clothes, after seeing the cross-pollination season at Kotra Block of Udaipur. Clothing is the basic necessity of life, but looking the cultivation so closely puts me in dilemma.
- Baseline survey done by Seva Mandir on BT cotton Child Trafficking and Labour