Sir: I need to draw the attention of relevant authorities to the social issue of child labour in Pakistan. Child labour is equal to inhumanity and is increasing day by day.
Basically, uneducated parents also deserve some blame because they are the one who force their children to work as labour during childhood in order to earn money and to survive financially. Mostly, children work to meet their educational expenditures or sometimes they are under pressure from their superiors.
Child labour, which has increased 55 percent to 60 percent, is the major reason behind poverty, ignorance and illiteracy rate in Pakistan.
Article 3 says that the state shall ensure the eradication of all forms of exploitation and the regular fulfilment of fundamental principle, from each according to his ability and to each according to his work.
Article (25)(A): The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as determined by law.
Article (11) of the Pakistan constitution prohibits slavery or child labour, trafficking and the participation of children under the age of 14 to work at the industrious either in micro or macro level or in sectors such as transport, factories, mines, agriculture, machinery, hotels, restaurants, and in the carpet industries. But sometimes child labour is bounded system, means those families who had taken a heavy debt which are paid through work.
Even after they die this loan is not paid it and then that debt passes to the next generation for a long time.
If deny children to work and stand for their fundamental right to be educated between the ages of five to 16 exposes them to health hazards, hampers their development and puts them at risk to other forms of violence, which may also be physical, psychological and sexual.
June 12 was declared ‘World Day Against Child Labour’, over 12.5 million children in Pakistan are involved in child labour, as stated by the Child Rights Movement (CRM) National Secretariat.
The statement cites an ILO report of 2004 which said that 264,000 children in Pakistan were then employed as domestic help.
There are 8.52 million home-based workers in the country, according to the figures released in the National Policy on home-based workers. The number of child labourers up to the age of 10 years is around 6 million. This huge number requires immediate action by the federal and provincial governments.
Domestic child labour is also a main issue that is hidden away and is not regulated by the federal and provincial governments. The rate of child labour is very high in big cities like Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Islamabad and Sialkot these cities are the connected chain of industries.
MUHAMMAD AHSAN BAIG
Published in Daily Times, March 9th 2018.