Child labor in Pakistan
Childhood is the first stage of an individual. It’s the beginning of life in which an individual starts to grab the information from different resources. Some are by nature and some are taken from the parents. But if the person is not getting the proper guidance it becomes the disaster not for the person itself but for the society as well. By means of proper guidance is the upbringing of a child by the parents.
In Pakistan due to poverty many houses are the target of a disease called “Child Labor” in which the guardian prefer their children to work and get the money to live. It’s harsh but its reality that for the sake of money, or the case in which there is no guardian of the children they are forced to work in different fields such as, Domestic work, Public Work e.g. working in a hotel, commercial sexual exploitation and much more.
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Causes and Effects of Child Labor
The development of a country depends on the youth of the country. So for the better nations, the nurturing of the youth is a core factor. But if the youth is suffering in their childhood, going through traumas, having mental disabilities due to those traumas, the question arises that how it will become a fruitful result for the future of the country. Instead of getting the bright future unfortunately the product that has been produced become the worst nightmare in the form of street crime, robbery, rape, harassment etc.
- Lack of education is a factor that is contributing in the causes of child labor because when children are unable to take the education, they are most likely to enter in work field at a very young age.
- Culture also played a crucial role here, because in many societies working at a young age is a sign of contribution in the family’s income
- Poverty and the non-serious guardian is a living example in today’s society where the father most probably is addicted to drugs and thus forced his children to go and work to get the money
- Lack of law implementation is also a reason of the spreading of this disease.
These are some of the reasons, there are numerous factors that are escalating this problem which has the dangerous outcomes at the end such as.
- Mental and physical retardation. Child labor can lead to many health issues for example malnutrition, stress and injuries.
- The inferiority complex and the discrimination. The children that are working and are unable to get the education get in to the complex of inferiority because the society treated them in that way.
- Exploitation is another major effect caused by the child labor, the children that are forced to work may be subjected to exploitation, abuse, sexually used, and dangerous works such as terrorism, and other crimes.
Percentage of child labor in Pakistan
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2020, Pakistan has around 3.8 million child laborers which represents around 10% of the country’s child population aged between 5-14 years. It is important to note that child labor statistics are often difficult to measure accurately and may vary depending on the sources and methods used for data collection. This is just the estimation, the picture is a bit wide.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has identified some sectors in Pakistan that have a high prevalence of child labor, including agriculture, brick work, domestic work, and informal urban enterprises. These sectors are more prevalent in some parts of the country, such as rural areas and urban slums, and contribute to the high number of child labor cases in those areas. According to this identification we can say that the province of Punjab is the area in which the percentage of child labor predominantly girls aged 10-14 is high.
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Child labor and the law of Pakistan
On this critical issue the constitution of Pakistan 1973 had introduced a law against the child labor known as “Child Labor Act 1991.”
Article 11 of the Constitution adopted in 1973, and amended in 2015, includes the following provisions: “No child below the age of 14 years shall be engaged in any factory or mine or any other hazardous employment.”
As per the article 11 however goes against its policy will be punishable. The punishment of this law violation is the imprisonment of one year and a fine of 20000 or more.
Despite of having the law legislation the country is still under the influence of this trend of having a child working in a field, in industries, at homes doing domestic works and other terrible works at the public places that are not even legal for any human being.
Child labor is a global issue that affects millions of children worldwide, depriving them of their childhood, education, and opportunities for a better future. Every problem has a solution. To address this problem, here are some solutions
- Education for all: It is a right of every individual to get education. As it’s the only way we can make our society a better place to live
- Awareness: People especially in rural areas should be aware of the consequences of sending their children outside for the sake of money or whatever the reason is. It I not only for the child’s future but the whole society is dependent upon it as at the end it’s the society who’s somehow producing these criminals.
- Law implementation: There’s a difference between law legislation and law implementation. There must be a strict law implementation in every area of Pakistan so that the people would get the idea and consider it illegal instead of giving excuses.
- Supporting families: Many families resort to child labor as a means of survival due to poverty. Providing financial assistance, vocational training, and employment opportunities for parents can help to reduce the demand for child labor
It is important to note that addressing child labor requires a coordinated effort between governments, civil society organizations, businesses, and individuals to ensure the protection of children’s rights and promote their well-being.