Child labour is truly an endemic issue that is taking toll on the mental, physical and physiological health of children all over the world. There are millions of children who are engaged either in the worst form of child labour or hazardous work globally. Latest official statistics suggest that almost half of child labour (72.1m) is found in Africa; 62.1m, in Asia and Pacific; 10.7m, in Americas; 1.2m, in Arab states and 5.5m child labour is in Europe and Central Asia. According to a recent International Labour organization (ILO) report, “around 218 million children aged between 5 to 17 are in employment; 152 million among them are involved in child labour; almost half of them (73 million) are doing hazardous work worldwide.” Child labour refers to the work that has a deleterious impact on mental, physical, social, and moral well-being of children. It deprives children of their fundamental right to acquire education between the age of 5 to 16 years. In addition, child labour exposes them to serious health hazards, hinders their development and growth. It also puts them at greater risk of severe forms of violence ranging from physical to physiological, moral to sexual. Child labour is broadly carried out in agriculture, landing, aquaculture, farming, livestock, industry, mining, factories, brick kilns, shops, hotels, cinemas and so on. According to ILO Survey 2012, there are 12.5 million children working as labour in Pakistan. Reportedly, Pakistan has the third largest child labour workforce in the world; after Mauritania and Haiti. This undoubtedly shows the apathy of the government towards this issue which is creating hurdles in the way of socio-educational, economic, physical and mental development of children Furthermore, labour that jeopardizes the physical, mental or moral well being of a child either due to its nature or conditions in which it is done is termed as the worst form of child labour or “hazardous work”. According to International Labour Organization (ILO), “Child labour is work that deprives children of their childhood, potential and dignity, and that is harmful to their physical and mental development.” There is no denying the fact that child labour is very common in the world especially in developing countries. There are several ratified laws of ILO in different articles which call for the prohibition and abolition of early labour. In addition, convention No. C-182 also stresses the need for prohibition and immediate action to root out the worst forms of child labour. But it is disheartening to see that this curse is still prevalent in the world. When it comes to our country, Pakistan is no different, it has one of the highest ratios in terms of child labour in the world. There are many laws that prohibit child labour. Plus, the constitution of Pakistan has also banned the employment of any child under the age of fourteen. Article No.11(3) of constitution states that “No child below the age of fourteen years shall be engaged in any factory or mine or any other hazardous employment.” Regrettably, these laws haven’t helped the country in an efficient manner in curbing the menace of child labour to date. Thus, large number of children are involved in child labour; around 2,64000 children are engaged in domestic work in Pakistan. According to ILO Survey 2012, there are 12.5 million children working as labour in Pakistan. Reportedly, Pakistan has the third largest child labour workforce in the world; after Mauritania and Haiti. This undoubtedly shows the apathy of the government towards this issue which is creating hurdles in the way of socio-educational, economic, physical and mental development of children. Undeniably, child labour has brought colossal increase in out of school children by denying their right to attend school between the age of 5 to 16 years. Extreme levels of poverty combined with financial and economic issues are the root causes behind the alarming numbers of child labour in Pakistan. Poverty-stricken families cannot fend for themselves, so then how can they send their children to school when they can barely make ends meet? Of course, these financial constraints leave them with no option other than involving their children in underage labour to meet expenditures. According to Alif Ailaan Report, the number of Out-Of-School Children (OOSC) in Pakistan is 25.02 million, second largest in the world. Likewise, UNICEF Pakistan and UNESCO Institute for Statistic (UIS) report 2013 discloses, so far 6.5 million children are not even getting primary education, while 2.7 million of them are away from lower secondary school. Therefore, it high time for all of us to take effective measures to bring an end to all forms of child labour. Poverty alleviation should be the top priority of world leaders, organizations, civil society and policy makers. Poverty eradication is the only way to abolish child labour because it is the major reason that force children to enter labour force in early age. Children must be provided free and compulsory education during childhood as declared by constitutions. Organizations including ILO and UNICEF should strive to formulate its laws and conventions in an efficient manner. Pakistan should take concerted steps to make laws functional. Above all, timely implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can help eradicate this menace to a great extent as well. Thus, the world including Pakistan must work on implementing SDGs in letter and spirit in order to uproot child labour effectively. The writer is a freelance columnist, an undergraduate student of Economics at University of Sindh, Jamshoro and aspirant to CSS, based in Dadu, Sindh. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, December 19th2018.