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Child Labour in Pakistan

By Muhammad Tahzeeb Mehdi - Legislative Intern SSDO

Wordsworth has said: "The child is the father of the man." It means children grow into men in future; they are our future. Now when they are so important, we must realize what we are doing for them. Have we succeeded in providing them the basic necessities of life such as education and health care? Children hands are lubricated with oil, they are fully wet in sweat. Sometimes they cry and sometime they screams to get education. They deserves as well as desires to be a student. How did the children work?

Child work. Some types of work make useful, positive contributions to a child’s development, helping them learn useful skills. Often, work is also a vital source of income for their families.

Child labour. Child labour is not slavery, but nevertheless hinders children’s education and development. Child labour tends to be undertaken when the child is in the care of their parents.

Worst forms of child labour “Hazardous work” is the worst form of child labour. It irreversibly damages children’s health and development through, for example, exposure to dangerous machinery or toxic substances, and may even endanger their lives.

Child slavery. Child slavery is the enforced exploitation of a child for someone else’s gain, meaning the child will have no way to leave the situation or person exploiting them.

A perception that is why, they are not being given their basic right such as education, is a story of teenagers in Pakistan and other third world/ developing countries where every 1 out of 5 students/children are engaged into child labor. This important topic needs to be discussed but whose responsibility it is? Either his family can’t afford education, or his society does not empower him to get educated.

Child labor in poor countries is major issue for child education and grooming. Discussing their family situations where they are living from hand to mouth. They expresses their thoughts to their parents that they need education. It is their right to get primary/secondary education. Their proposal for education is rejected by the family that they can’t afford it. Despite of education, they are directed to earn for their existence. Then, from single digit age, a child is handed over to master where he’s taught a mechanical or any physical work. The child desires to get education but he is helpless. He seeks attention of anyone who bears his education expenses which is nearly miracle for him.

Children, especially children from disadvantaged backgrounds, are particularly vulnerable to slavery as they can be more easily manipulated or tricked than adults. They are easily controlled and unlikely to demand higher wages or better working conditions.

Some are far away from their families, while others have no one to look out for them, or no wider support network to recognise the signs that they are being exploited.

There also exists another mindset of people who believe that education is less important. Their children should be set to work from early ages so that they would be successful in future. They prefer labour to education. This is peak level of illiteracy in our societies. They even don’t know their rights and responsibilities being parents. This is because of poverty which is the major issue in third world/developing countries. The poor parents are forced to push their children into practical life at an early age. Such children face a life of hardship and deprivation instead of a life full of education. They work in small hotels, tea-stalls, as domestic servants, sweeping floors in small industrial workshops, office boys and staff assistants. They are seen cleaning car parked on roads, polishing shoes, selling goods and many other odd jobs.

The main sector in which they are made to work are the agriculture sector, the brick kiln industry, carpet weaving and domestic service. These Children earn money for the survival of their poor families. They cannot go to school to get education and also deprived of the joy of childhood. If they survive these hardships instead of education, they live a life of misery. Education is need of every child. This is very deplorable situation and circumstance.

The government and non-government organizations (NGOs) should take some steps to tackle with this problem of child labour. The government should enact a comprehensive law for the elimination of child labour from its very roots. It should create a welfare fund exclusively for the development and welfare of children. It should declare that child labour below fifteen years of age is a criminal offense. Non-governmental organizations must support people’s struggle for Justice and emancipation. They should supplement government's efforts for the welfare of children. We must work to get rid of it at all costs. Above all our children need education rather than work.

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