For those of us on the West side of the pond, the Commonwealth Games are like the Olympics for former members of the British Empire. This year, the games will be held in Delhi starting October 3. Scheduled to compete are athletes from England, Scotland, Australia, India, and several other countries. But construction of the arenas has been lagging, and the Commonwealth Games Federation has been getting desperate to get the stadiums built on time. Their answer? Send in the children!
Construction managers have been offering desperate Indian workers incentives like extra bread and milk to bring their children with them to the construction site of the stadiums. The result? Children as young as three have been seen working in dangerous piles of rubble on a construction project that has already killed at least 45 people, including a two-year-old girl. Pre-school aged children rake pebbles into bags that kids who should be in elementary school haul away. One 15-year-old boy claimed he was paid just $5 for a 12 hour shift of heavy manual labor. The work is brutal and the days are long,but Indian families need the money and the extra food being used to lure their children into the fray.
Last month, a human rights investigator for the UN said the Delhi Commonwealth Games should be called off, since they have caused widespread displacement of the Indian people and horrific child labor. Many officials have also expressed safety concerns about the construction of the stadiums. But despite documentation of child labor and other human rights and safety issues, the Commonwealth Games Federation declared that the games are still on. However, they have made no indication they will stop using child labor in construction or stop bribing poor workers with milk to risk their children's lives. Ask the Commonwealth Games Federation to stop using child labor immediately.