CHILD LABOUR

(SHAZAK FATIMA, Rawalpindi)

Child labour is a hot issue worldwide, for which NGO’s are working and a lot of people talking about it on international forums. Unfortunately child labour in many different forms prevails in our country Pakistan.

In Pakistan child labour is increasing day by day due to different factors and it is becoming a core issue of country. Poverty is the main reason behind it. Poor uneducated people force their children to work and earn to meet their daily livings. In other scenario most people cannot afford education or they think education does not lead to marketable skills. Mostly children work to earn for family and to make their both ends meet.

Pakistan is a poor country. With increase in child labour it is facing ignorance and increase in illiteracy rate. Child labour is a critical problem of our country which cannot be ignored.

It is a sad to see instead of going to school these young children are going to factories and kilns lifting heavy weights of bricks or working at auto repair shops instead of having books and pen in their hands.

Unfortunately rate of child labour is high in big cities those are linked with industry like Faisalabad, Sialkot, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi and this rate is increasing day by day.

According to human rights commission of Pakistan, million children half of which were under ten years of age were working in 1990’s. In 1994 median age for working children was eight which was worst in 1996 dropping to seven years of age. An estimate shows children as one quarter of working labour in country. Child labour in Pakistan is more uncontrolled in cities which are important producing hub for export goods.

A survey was conducted by Punjab Labour Department which listed 10,347 brick kilns working in Punjab and a total of 126,779 children were working on those sites. The survey identified 32,727 out of total children not going to school. The total number of children enrolled in public schools was 71,373 of which 41,017 were males and 30,356 were females. 13,125 children were attending private schools out of which 7,438 were males and 5,687 were females and non-formal education institutes enrolled 9,554 children.

Bounded system is another cause of Child labour. Bounded system means you have to work for the master who gave you loan for some reason until and unless this loan is recovered through work. In most of the cases this loan is not paid even after people have died and then this debt is passed in to next generation to their children.

U.S. Department of labour in December 2014 listed 9 goods produced by child labour in world out of which 6 were produced in Pakistan by child labour. These include surgical instruments, carpets, leather, bangles, bricks and coal mining.

The government should play their part in eradicating child labour and provide these children with better opportunities. A number of laws contain provisions prohibiting child labour, or regulating the working conditions of child and adolescent workers. The most important laws are:
• The Factories Act 1934.
• The West Pakistan Shops and Establishments Ordinance 1969.
• The Employment of Children Act 1991
• The Bonded Labour System Abolition Act 1992
• The Punjab Compulsory Education Act 1994.

NGO groups against child labour have been raising awareness of the exploitation of children in Pakistan.

Presently several organizations are working in Pakistan to reduce child labour. Factories are now registered with provincial social security programs which offer free school facilities for children of workers and free hospital treatment.

Other NGOs that has worked on the issue of child labour in Pakistan include organizations such as UNICEF. UNICEF supported the NCCWD, drafting of the Child Protection Law and the Child Protection Policy and initiated the establishment of Child Protection Monitoring and Data Collecting System. Many other NGO's such as ROZAN have worked to protect children in NGO. SPARC and Shaheen Welfare Trust are also working to serve the Humanities

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