Not all children in Pakistan
are lucky to enjoy their childhood. Many of them are forced to work under
inhuman conditions where their miseries know no end. Though there are laws
banning child labour, still children continue to be exploited as cheap labour.
It is because the authorities are unable to implement the laws meant to protect
children from being engaged as labourers.
Unfortunately, the actual number of child labourers in Pakistan goes
un-detected. Children are forced to work is completely unregulated condition
without adequate food, proper wages, and rest. They are subjected to physical,
sexual and emotional abuse.
Factors such as poverty, lack of social security, the increasing gap between the
rich and the poor have adversely affected children more than any other group. We
have failed to provide universal education, which results in children dropping
out of school and entering the labour force.
Loss of jobs of parents in a slowdown, farmers’ suicide, armed conflicts and
high costs of healthcare are other factors contributing to child labour.
Due to high poverty and poor schooling opportunities, child labour is quite
prevalent in Pakistan. Child labour is found in rural as well as urban areas.
Children comprise 40% of the labour in the precious stone cutting sector. They
are also employed in other industries such as embroidery, dhabas, tea stalls and
restaurants and in homes as domestic labour.
Government authorities and civil society organizations need to free children
engaged in labour under extremely low conditions. They need to be rescued from
exploitative working conditions and supported with adequate education. Above
all, there is a need to mobilize public opinion with an aim to bring about an
effective policy initiative to abolish child labour in all its forms.