There are thousands of bonded child labourers in India. They are also mostly the children of parents who belong to scheduled castes and tribes. Young children are sold to employers by their parents to pay back small loans that they have borrowed. Such children are made to work for many hours a day over several years. According to one study, there are about 10 million bonded child labourers working as house servants in Indian families. Varandani recently estimated that there were nearly 55 million children in India working as bonded labourers in agriculture, mining, brick-kilns, construction work, fishing activities, carpet weaving, fireworks, matches, glass moulding, bidi-making (cigarettes), gem-cutting and polishing work, electroplating, dyeing, washing and domestic work. About 20 percent of these bonded child labourers were sold to cover some small debts obtained by their parents, usually for some social celebration like a wedding in the .
One of the most notorious forms of bonded-labour is found in the carpet industry of India. A study undertaken in Kashmir shows that over 80 percent of child labourers in carpet making work as bonded labourers. These young labourers, many of them 8 or 9 years old, are made to work for 20 hours a day without a break. They have to crouch on their toes from dawn to dusk which stunts their physical growth. Some of the children start to work when they are only 5-6 years of age, and by the time they are 20 they are burnt out.. They are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted so that they are no longer able to work and are doomed to unemployment even in cases when employment is available. The vicious cycle restarts when they want their children to work for them.