A 2015 report by the International Labour Organization puts the number of child workers in India aged between five and 17 at 5.7 million, out of 168 million globally. More than half of India's child workers labour in agriculture and over a quarter are in the manufacturing sector.
Hundreds of children, mostly from poor rural areas of northern Indian states like Bihar, are brought to Bengaluru in Karnataka every year by agents who sell them into bonded labour or hire them out to unscrupulous employers, activists say.
"The sole factory was a miserable place," said Lakshapathi Pendyala of the Association for Promoting Social Action, a charity. "The boys were working from nine in the morning to nine at night. They were made to sleep in the workplace only, which was filled with the smell of glue used in sticking the soles," Pendyala told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Several chemicals and glues were being used by the boys without any protection and some of the boys had deep cuts on their palms."
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