labour is a social problem that not only deprives the children from their right
to a prosperous future but also affects them physically and psychologically.
The research aims to study the factors that contribute to child labour in
Pakistan. And proceeds by investigating the existing laws and there
implementation in Pakistan. The research is a combination of primary and
secondary research. The research is conducted by reviewing the already existing
debates on child labour and by interviewing the children. The first interviewee
was Natasha, a 10 year old girl how knits sweaters and sells them by the
roadside. She has a family of 6 members. The other interviewee was Ali, an 8
year boy who works in a mechanic shop. And has a family of 6 members. Both the interviewees
threw light on how lack of access to free education and large number of family
members has resulted in their forced labour. Government is blamed for not
implementing the laws but in my opinion the whole society should play a vital
role in elimination of forced child labour. Robbing the child’s dreams and
aspirations is equivalent to robbing a country from its bright future. Poor
people with low aspirations should be shown other ways to live a life than just
working for small scale low income factories. They should be trained to live
above the poverty line rather than finding a solution in child labour. The research
has suggested that education should be made free for all the children below the
age of 16 according to Artile 25(A). Also there should be an increased demand
for skilled labour, so children can fall in the category of unskilled labour.
Laws regarding prohibition of child labour do exist, but they are not being
implemented. And census on child labours ratio, has not been conducted for
quarter past century. Pakistan has been ranked three in terms of child labour.
The research enabled to conclude that, poverty alone cannot be blamed but it is
the lack of access to education and lack of child policy that has resulted in
forced child labour. Greater the number of children, more difficult it is for
the sole bread earner of the family to bear the burden, hence resulting in
forced assistance by children. If a country wants to pave its way to road of
success, it must take the future generation into consideration. And this is
only possible and feasible when the government, organizations and the entire
society work together for the collect benefit of country.
success is a measure of how well we chase down the opportunities, unlock the
achievements and fight the storms, then what is it really like to fail at the
very first step of life? How does it sound, if all the dreams are snatched and
opportunities are sealed during one’s childhood? Unfair indeed. This is what
child labour does to numerous children in every developing country including
Pakistan. Child labour is a social problem that not only deprives children from their right to a prosperous
future but also affects them physically and psychologically. As Nelson Mandela
“Children of today are the leaders of tomorrow and education
is a very important weapon to prepare children for their future roles as
leaders of the community.”
unjust a society is to a child, if the delicate hands are forced to hold
hammers or screw drivers than pencils, to carrying heavy garbage bags instead
of school bags, to how their smiles fade away, when they are turned down by
people on roads because of shabby appearances? It not only affects them
physically but also meddles with their proper nourishment. Facing with such a
serious social issue, a society not only fails to find future leaders but also
creates a sense of inequality and injustice.
research aims to explore, the factors
that contribute to child labour in Pakistan. And will proceed by investigating
the existing laws and there implementation in Pakistan. The topic bears
importance because every child has the right to a life they want for
themselves. The socio-economic conditions of the society and their families,
should not become a hurdle in their progression in life. At the age of five to
fourteen, children are forced to work at very low pay for their survival that
does not even satisfy their family’s basic necessities.
The research will begin
by integrating the already existing debates on labour child followed by
methodology, analysis of data, research findings and lastly by conclusion.
Child labour is one of the ever
increasing social problems that is being faced by Pakistan. The number of
children caught up in child labour ranges from 8-12 million indicating how millions of children are being
affected mentally and physically. Another latest statistic of Child Rights
Movement (CRM) national secretariat, has issued that about 12.5 million have become a victim of forced labour. (Hamariweb.com
of the many reasons, poverty is considered to be the
major reason behind child labour. An average Pakistani has to feed on average
nine to ten people hence making it difficult for the single bread earner of the
family. In 2008, about 17.2% of Pakistan’s population lived below the poverty
line. Owing to large scale poverty, families are forced to send their children
out for work to increase the ‘take-home salary’.
Findings given by The Federal Bureau of Statistics revealed the results of its
survey funded by ILO’s IPEC (International Program on the Elimination of Child
labour that out of 40 million children in the age group of 5-14, 3.8 million
children are working. Out of these 3.8 million, 2.7 are seen to be working in
agricultural sector. About 73% are noted to be boys.
Zareen khan, in her
article in ‘The Nation’, drew the attention on child labour by calling it no
less than cruelty on children. She refers to un-educated parents as criminals who are responsible for forcing
their children to work as labour for money and survive the world. (The Nation,
Another article published
in ‘Dawn News’ has published a report that Pakistan ranks number three
in world ranking with greatest prevalence of forced child labour. The
seminar conducted in Karachi that government has failed to conduct any new
survey since 1996. Due to lack of latest survey the, it is hard to ascertain
the correct ration of children working in different sectors. One of the most
important point highlighted was, that laws regarding bounded child labour , for
about past quarter century have not been implemented.
Ms Husain said there were 25 million children out of school, out of which 15
million were active economically. According to her, none of the four provinces
seem to be interested in conducting fresh surveys. Syed Hasan Feroze, a retired
judge, said the government and citizens should work hand-in-hand to persuade
rich people to educate children they have employed. Government is now providing
subsides to worker’s children by enrolling them in schools and by offering
training in Punjab Vocational Training Council (VCAB). VCAB has trained 69,000
from its 14-18 years of development in
an effort to eliminate the children in brick kilns, the provincial government
is Rs1000 per child available; while the three sectors identified – auto repair
shops, fuel pumps and hostels. (Reporter, 2018)
The laws for the
prohibition of child labour in Pakistan are as follows: (Hamariweb.com,
• The Factories Act 1934
• The West Pakistan Shops and Establishments
• The Employment of Children Act 1991
• The Bonded labour System Abolition Act 1992
• The Punjab Compulsory Education Act 1994
• The Employment of Children Rules 1995
provisions of Pakistan envisage:
Ø Article 3: the state shall ensure the eradication of all forms of
exploitation and the regular fulfilment of fundamental principle, from each
according to his ability and to each according to his work.
Ø Article 11(3): No child below the age of 14 years shall be engaged in any
factory or mine or any other hazardous employment.
Ø Article 25(A): The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all
children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as determined by
the effort of implementing the laws to eradicate child labour, these laws are
not only ignored in Pakistan but are ignored globally as well. The constitution
of Pakistan has regarded the minimum work age as 14 years. But the 18th
amendment has changed it to 16 years which clearly says that no child should be
engaged in any sort of hazardous work at all except family business or some
the research is based on examining the factors that contribute to child labour
in Pakistan, a secondary research was done in order to inquire the various
possible reasons. The two main reasons found were poverty and uneducated,
ignorant parents. To validate the factors known through secondary research,
interviews were taken. The total number of interviewees were two.
first interviewee was Natasha, a 10 year old girl how knits sweaters and sells
them by the roadside. She has a family of 6 members. The other interviewee was
Ali, an 8 year boy who works in a mechanic shop. And has a family of 6 members.
Both the interviewees
following are the limitations of the study:
the research is being conducted in Pakistan, the research findings are not
research has time and money constraints.
the interviews the answers may not be accurate.
interviews were told about the research and were explained the whole topic in
detail. Consent of their guardian was taken. They were asked if recording the
interview was fine by them or not. The interviewees showed their willingness
for recording of audio but had concerns regarding videos. They were asked if
disclosing their personal information or real names was a problem or not.
interview began with the most introductory questions to make the interviewees
comfortable with the ambience. The major interview questions were:
is the main cause for you to work?
well you think your earned money is making a difference to your family’s
the people who you work for, treat you right?
is that one thing you wished was there that you did not have to work?
results of research are based on primary and secondary data. The major results
acquired from the interviews enabled to throw light on the factors that were
not brought into discussion through secondary research. The following are the
rate of inflation:
The increase in prices and lack of
availability of basic needs in terms of food, clothing and shelter has played a
leading role in giving a push child labour. Since it is very difficult for the
sole bread earner of the family to bear the burden of the entire family,
children are sent out to contribute to family’s income.
policy for child policy:
Pakistan’s one-third of the population is
living below poverty line. With no policy or law regarding child policy,
family’s end up having so many children. And in a developing country like
Pakistan which is caught with up increasing inflation, it becomes hard to
provide each child with same level of nourishment and with basic necessities.
of access to education:
One of another reason for child labour is
lack of access to schools. Poor families with 4-5 children cannot afford to
provide each with educational facilities. For them, being able to satisfy the
basic needs of life are more than enough. Children brought up in this sort of
environment are already prepared with the mind-set to work in early childhood
than to study.
Children and parents need to realize that they
can live a better life and make good of themselves. Poor people usually have a
rigid mind-set and believe that they working in an industry of selling items on
the streets, is a normal way of life. They think hard work and success is only
meant for a specific class of people. So since people like these have lost
aspiration to work for their future, children are forced to become a victim of
Usually after divorce, responsibility is
left on the female. She not only has the responsibility to make a living for
her own but also bear the burden of her children. With minimum number of
children varying from 4 to 5, it becomes impossible for a single women to feed
the entire family and fulfil their basic needs. Such a situation can result in
increased child labour. Another case maybe, that the male is caught up in drugs
and has no sense of responsibility left. Or does second marriage and completes
ignores the children and wife from the first marriage.
of cheap labour:
Since children are unskilled and are a
source of cheap labour, greedy employers hire them for their own benefit.
Hiring children with no skill means paying them less and hence getting a chance
to maximize their own profits.
The interviews helped to acquire
information on areas that were never open for research. Child labour is usually
considered to be synonyms with poverty. But it has been seen that poverty is not the
only cause for child labour, but socio-economic conditions of the family also
plays a very important role. Illiterate parents with ridged opinions play a
role in robbing children’s aspirations and dreams. They not only live poverty
themselves but also convince their children from the beginning that, they
cannot have a life better than this.
It has been seen through the primary and
secondary research, that eradiation of child labour is usually considered as
the responsibility of government. But in my opinion, a part from government the
responsibility of putting an end to child labour depends on private
organization, NGO’s and society as a whole. Only if this is dealt with an iron
fist, we can ensure a society where each child gets his due right to a
prosperous future. The research findings indicate the following important
of the laws:
Government needs to keep a check if the
laws are being implemented or not. Failure to abide by the law should result in
stiff punishments so others can learn a lesson. If necessary the owners or the
family’s that force children for labour, should be fined or put behind the
bars. There should be a census after every two years to check the progress in
each four provinces of Pakistan.
sense of awareness:
A sense of awareness must be created in
society, if the government and organizations decide to work together. People
from backwards areas of Pakistan should be made aware of the illegality.
Campaigns should be carried out so that everyone can play their role in the
eradication of this menace.
education for all below the age of 16:
According to Article 25(A) free and
compulsory education should be given to all the children below the age of 16.
Children whose parents cannot afford the fees of schools, can have an
opportunity to get education. One of the
best ways to attract parents to send their children to schools is by giving
mid-day lunch to the children. In this way, the parents will feel that their
burden has lessened.
the demand for technically skilled labour:
Demand should be created for skilled and
technical labour. Increasing the demand for skilled labour, will for sure place
children in the category of unskilled labour. In this way, greedy demanders
cannot increase their own profits.
Reduction in unemployment can pave way for
poor families living in better conditions. Unemployment can be reduced by
setting up the training centres to teach the illiterate and the providing them
with jobs that can sustain their families at least above the poverty line.
Bind the responsibility of child on both
male and female after divorce. State should pass a law that holds both the parties
equally responsible after divorce. Women alone should not carry the burden of
so many children.
research clearly indicates that poverty alone cannot be held responsible for
child labour. In fact increase in population; number of members in each family
and lack of access to free education is the major reason why children are
deprived from their basic right to education and to a good future. Ignorant
parents and people who try to exploit the weakness of poor people, also play a
leading role. State cannot be considered free from their responsibility of end
of child labour by simply passing some mere laws. Rather it should take steps
for the implementation.
Child labour is not
only an abuse to the rights of children but is also the display of society who
has lost its way to success. Success of a country depends on its future
generation. And if the up-coming generation is psychologically perturb and
lacks moral polishing, then a country can no pave its way to success. It is
doomed to decline. Childhood is the most memorable time of a person’s life and
it should be ensured that children belong to schools and play grounds rather to
industries and roads. Poverty will take time to decrease for a developing
country like Pakistan. But by ensuring free education for every child below 16,
the country can increase its rate of literacy but can also easily put an end to
child labour. Robbing a child from his
future is equivalent to robbing a country from its bright future. So since
future of the country is dependent on children, we should eradicate every
reason that can be a reason to exploit them.