Child abuse and violence against children is becoming a new norm in our society. We don’t accept this but the frequency of cases being reported in the media tells another story – yet these are among the few cases that have been reported. The recent case of a girl named Uzma who was killed in Lahore a few days ago is yet another shocking incident, in which a woman first tortured her at home and then eventually killed her. When this was not enough, her dead body was thrown in a nearby drain. After Uzma’s dead body was recovered, the woman and her family accused the victim of robbery and used their influence in police against the poor parents of Uzma. When this incident surfaced on the media, the Ministry of Human Rights and police took action and arrested the 3 women and the other members of the family who were complicit in this performing this inhumane act.Uzma is not the only victim, there are hundreds of girls whose stories are untold and who have no access to the media or who are no more in this world. Majority of the victims are in the far-flung areas of Pakistan who become victims of Vani or Suwara customs in which they are married in their childhood or killed after being raped. While reported cases are already very low and the conviction rate of such crimes against children is almost negligible- which discourages the victims’ families from filing cases to avoid more trouble for their families. Pakistan has around 28 million children who don’t go to schools and a vast majority of them are girls who work as maids in elites houses. When we go to a shopping mall, restaurant or any elite place, we often see so many girls who either take care of babies or sit besides a family who is eating lavish food in front of their helpless eyes. These children don’t go to schools because of extreme poverty, bonded labour, lack of schools or due to corporal punishment in schools. All these reasons, especially poverty, result in a complex scenario such as child Labour and out of school children which cannot be addressed by a usual enrolment campaign where teachers wait for parents to bring their children for admissions.The first step in this direction will be availability of information and data regarding the children. A comprehensive data needs to be provided to policymakers and the state to address these issues and devise a strategy for the future of Pakistan. No Government will be able to stop violence against children without concrete and precise data and in the absence of this information the numbers of out of school children and illiteracy will increase, resulting in socio-economic issues like poverty, crime and terrorismWe don’t know more about child labour, because it has been more than 22 years when Pakistan last conducted its first and the last Child Labour Survey in 1996. Today – information regarding child labour is only based on estimates and wild guesses. Furthermore, we don’t have policies to prevent children from going into labour or preventing them from becoming slaves in early ages. Besides taking significant steps to conduct child labour surveys and legislations for child rights, there is a dire need for an aggressive and intense campaign by the state to ensure enrolment of those 28 million children. They can be found working in restaurants, mechanic shops, agricultural fields and more surprisingly in houses of highly educated and well-off people who spend millions on their kids’ education but will destroy the future of poor children by employing them at a young age. Parents who are working in brick kilns are slaves to feudals and later on the debt is passed on to their family, this is a severe form of bonded labour or modern slavery in Pakistan. So, the question is, what can the state do in the first place to eliminate child labour, bonded labour and modern slavery which will reduce the violence against children?The first step in this direction will be availability of information and data regarding the children. A comprehensive data needs to be provided to policymakers and the state to address these issues and devise a strategy for the future of Pakistan. No Government will be able to stop violence against children without concrete and precise data and in the absence of this information the numbers of out of school children and illiteracy will increase, resulting in socio-economic issues like poverty, crime and terrorism. The ministry of Human Rights should initiate the process of legislation for child rights rather than dealing with these issues in a case by case manner. Published in Daily Times, January 31st 2019.