Institutional Framework for Child Labour in Pakistan

National

Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal

Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) is tasked with providing financial assistance, social welfare services, and support programmes to disadvantaged individuals and communities across Pakistan. Its mandate encompasses a wide range of social welfare initiatives aimed at alleviating poverty, addressing socio-economic disparities, and promoting inclusive development. Regarding children, PBM offers various services and programs to support their well-being and development, including financial aid for education, healthcare services, nutrition support, shelter and care for orphaned and abandoned children through its orphanages, vocational training and skill development opportunities to enhance their future prospects, and rehabilitation services for children with disabilities, and support for their integration and participation in society. Some of the major projects are: Shelter Home, Sweet Home, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal School, education stipend, etc.

Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (MoPHRD)

The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (MoPHRD) is responsible for overseeing labour relations and policies within Pakistan. It collaborates with other government agencies, provincial government, employers’ organisations, trade unions and ILO to address labour-related issues including child labour and promote decent work standards.

Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety (MOPASS)

The Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety in Pakistan primary focus is towards establishing a comprehensive system of social protection to uplift vulnerable groups out of poverty. The ministry focuses on providing basic necessities such as food and shelter, securing livelihoods, investing in human capital, and monitoring the effective implementation of policies and strategies at both federal and provincial levels. Through its oversight of organizations like the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal (PBM), Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), and Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO), the ministry aims to provide a safety net for millions of families, create livelihood opportunities, facilitate financial access to healthcare, offer scholarships and education incentives for students, and foster an enabling environment for poverty reduction.

National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC)

The National Commission on the Rights of Child has a broad and overarching mandate for the promotion, protection and fulfilment of child rights in Pakistan.  The primary functions and powers of the NCRC include, among others, to conduct inquiries into allegations of child rights abuse(s); review existing and proposed legislation from child rights perspective; carry out research and advise on policy matters pertaining to the situation of child rights in Pakistan; contribute awareness-raising and advocacy initiatives and suggest measures to follow up on the implementation of concluding observation of the Committee.

Islamabad Capital Territory

Labour Welfare Department

The Labour Welfare Department operating under the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration is tasked with overseeing the implementation of various labour laws within the territory. These laws include the Factories Act of 1934, the Payment of Wages Act of 1936, the West Pakistan Shops & Establishment Ordinance of 1969, the West Pakistan Industrial & Commercial Employment (Standing Orders) Ordinance of 1968, the Minimum Wages Ordinance of 1961, the Industrial Relations Act of 2012, and the Workmen Compensation Act of 1923. The department’s responsibilities encompass several key areas, including the inspection of factories, shops, and commercial establishments to ensure compliance with labor laws, as well as the registration of factories, shops, and commercial establishments. Additionally, the department is responsible for referring wage-related disputes to the appropriate authority under the Payment of Wages Act of 1936 and adjudicating compensation cases under the Workmen Compensation Act of 1923. Moreover, one of the department’s primary objectives is to eradicate child and bonded labour from Islamabad, reflecting its commitment to promoting fair and just labour practices within the capital territory.

Child Protection Institute (CPI)

The Child Protection Institute (CPI), established under the ICT Child Protection Act of 2018, offers a range of essential protection services to vulnerable children. CPI provides temporary shelter to homeless, street, and runaway children, offering them a safe refuge. Additionally, the institute offers rehabilitation, reunification, reintegration, and referral services for children at risk of economic exploitation. Child Protection Officers appointed by CPI have a role to play in ensuring that the child is removed from exploitative work situations and placed in a safe environment. Through psychological counseling and referral services, CPI addresses the needs of abused and exploited children, helping them heal and seek support. CPI also conducts awareness campaigns on children’s rights and issues related to child protection and labour, fostering community understanding and engagement.

Islamabad Police

The role of Islamabad Police is to prevent, detect and investigate crimes, maintain law and order effectively and to provide safe, secure and public friendly environment to the citizens of Islamabad including children. While labour inspectors and child protection officers primarily focus on protecting children from economic exploitation, the police may become involved in child labour cases when there are elements of criminality involved, such as human trafficking, forced labour, cruelty or exploitation. In such cases, the police  conduct investigations, gather evidence, and apprehend perpetrators for prosecution under relevant criminal laws.

Balochistan

Labour & Manpower Department

The Balochistan Labour and Manpower Department is entrusted with the mandate of overseeing and regulating labour-related matters within the province, including child labour. Its functions encompass a variety of tasks aimed at ensuring fair labour practices, promoting employment opportunities, and safeguarding the rights and welfare of workers. The department is responsible for formulating and implementing labour policies and legislation, conducting inspections to enforce labour laws, and addressing grievances related to employment conditions. Additionally, it plays a pivotal role in facilitating skill development and vocational training initiatives to enhance the employability of the workforce. Moreover, the department is tasked with promoting occupational health and safety standards and providing support services to workers, including assistance with labour disputes and compensation claims.

Balochistan Police

The Balochistan Police is responsible for maintaining law and order, preventing and investigating crimes, and ensuring public safety throughout the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The Police become involved in child labour cases when there are elements of criminality involved, such as human trafficking, forced labour, cruelty or exploitation. In such cases, the police  conduct investigations, gather evidence, and apprehend perpetrators for prosecution under relevant criminal laws.

Balochistan Child Protection Commission

The Balochistan Child Protection Commission serves as a pivotal advisory, coordinating, and monitoring body for matters concerning child protection. Its key responsibilities include developing and implementing policies, programmes, and services aimed at preventing and addressing various forms of child abuse, exploitation, and neglect, including physical and mental violence, neglect, negligent treatment, maltreatment, and sexual abuse. Additionally, the Commission is tasked with receiving complaints and reports of child abuse, conducting thorough investigations, and ensuring appropriate assistance and support for children who are victims of such abuses.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Labour  Department

The Labour Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa holds a mandate as the custodian of workers’ guaranteed rights. Through the enforcement of various labour laws, including child labour laws, the department ensures compliance with international labour standards. Additionally, the Labour Department conducts awareness campaigns targeting workers, employers, and other stakeholders to educate them on labour issues, labour laws, and contemporary concerns.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Police

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police serves as the primary guardian of law and order, dedicated to maintaining public safety and upholding justice throughout the province. KP Police become involved in child labour cases when there are elements of criminality involved, such as human trafficking, forced labour, cruelty or exploitation. In such cases, the police  conduct investigations, gather evidence, and apprehend perpetrators for prosecution under relevant criminal laws.

KP Child Protection & Welfare Commission

The KP Child Protection and Welfare Commission (KPCPWC) is committed to a wide range of functions aimed at protecting children’s rights and well-being. Through its Child Protection Units and Child Protection Officer, the Commission provides support, counseling, and legal assistance to victims of abuse and exploitation. KPCPWC conduct awareness programmes and workshops to educate the community about child protection issues, complemented by capacity-building efforts to enhance the skills of professionals and stakeholders in the field. It also advocates for child-friendly policies and legislation at all levels of government. Through dedicated platforms for reporting complaints and a 24/7 toll-free helpline, 1121, individuals can file a complaint and seek assistance and rederessal.

Punjab

Labour and Human Resource Department

The Punjab Labour and Human Resource Department plays the leading role in the prevention and regulation of child labour in Punjab and is responsible for formulating and implementing labour-related policies, laws and regulations in the province. Its main role is to protect the rights and welfare of workers and to promote healthy labour management and labour relations, with emphasis on housing, health, safety and security of workers. It implements the government’s policies and programmes for the progressive elimination of child labour and coordinates the government’s efforts to combat child labour and bonded labour. The department monitors workplaces and conducts inspections to identify cases of child labour. The department also conducts surveys to collect data on child labour in the province and works to raise awareness on the issue.

Child Protection and Welfare Bureau

The Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CP &WB) is an autonomous body established under the Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children’s Act 2004 with the objective of promoting and protecting rights of children. It is under the administrative control of the Home Department. CP&WB provides care, rehabilitation, education and training to destitute and neglected children, which include children who are at risk of child labour.

The CP&WB has established Child Protection Institutions in Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sahiwal, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan. It provides various services such as shelter, health care, counselling, education, vocational training and family tracing and reunification to support the children’s recovery and successful reintegration into society. The CP &WB has also set up mobile Open Reception Centres (ORCs) at strategic locations that also serve as referral points for locating and providing information on lost, runaway or abandoned children. A Children’s Helpline 1121 has also been established to provide advice, assistance and coordination for the rescue and protection of children.

Punjab Police

The Punjab Police is the executive law enforcement agency of the Home Department. Its main functions are to maintain public safety, investigate crimes, prevent criminal activities and apprehend offenders. In child labour cases, the police are involved in both rescuing and investigating crimes when children are economically exploited in hazardous/ prohibited work, forced into work or commercially sexually exploited, or when children are trafficked domestically.

Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA)

The Punjab Social Protection Authority is an autonomous body established under the PSPAA, 2015.  The Authority is mandated to formulate a social protection policy and consolidate, coordinate and implement social protection initiatives in the areas of nutrition, education, health, social assistance, social inclusion and labour market regulations. The Authority has also launched the Punjab Ehsaas Programme, based on the federal Ehsaas Strategy, to provide protection to the socially and economically vulnerable groups in Punjab.

Literacy and Non-Formal Basic Education Department

The function and role of the Literacy and Non-Formal Basic Education Department is to promote literacy, provide non-formal education opportunities and improve basic education for those who have not received or have no access to formal schooling. The department’s main focus is to meet the educational needs of marginalised populations, including youth and adults, through innovative and flexible learning approaches, including adult literacy. The department is responsible for developing appropriate curricula, instructional materials and learning resources for literacy and non-formal basic education programmes.

Sindh

Labour  and Human Resource Department

The Labour and Human Resource Department of Sindh has a multifaceted mandate aimed at promoting industrialisation, fostering industrial pace, and ensuring compliance with labour laws and regulations. The department enforces various laws through dedicated labour inspectors and labour courts, tasked with monitoring workplaces to ensure adherence to safety standards, fair employment practices, and the prohibition and regulation of child labour.

Sindh Child Protection Authority

The Sindh Child Protection Authority (SCPA) operates with a comprehensive mandate to ensure the protection of children throughout the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Central to its mission is the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of policies and laws pertaining to child protection. The Authority oversees a range of functions, with a focus on prevention, response, and rehabilitation,  the SCPA operates a helpline (1121) dedicated to addressing cases of child protection violations which include economic exploitation of children. Moreover, it actively engages in child protection monitoring, case management, and referrals, working to reunify missing, separated, and unaccompanied children with their families. The SCPA has also established Child Protection Units across province.

Social Welfare Department

The Social Welfare Department is mandated to work for the welfare of marginalised segments of society, including children, senior citizens, drug addicts, and transgender persons. It administers various laws and rules related to social welfare, such as the registration and control of voluntary social welfare agencies, child protection, child marriage restraint, senior citizen welfare, and street children shelter homes. The department is responsible for the registration, monitoring, and supervision of NGOs under relevant ordinances and acts. It also prepares and implements grant-in-aid policies for governmental entities and NGOs engaged in social services, coordinates social welfare programs with other departments and organisation.

Sindh Police

The Sindh Police is responsible for ensuring public safety, upholding law and order, and delivering justice across the province of Sindh, Pakistan. The Sindh Police operates a vital helpline, Madadgar 15, offering swift redressal for various complaints, including those concerning missing persons and complaints related to children and women. The police is involved in child labour cases when there are elements of criminality involved, such as human trafficking, forced labour, cruelty or exploitation. In such cases, the police  conduct investigations, gather evidence, and apprehend perpetrators for prosecution under relevant criminal laws.

Sindh Human Rights Commission

The Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) was established in 2013 under the Sindh Protection of Human Rights Act 2011 to promote and protect human rights in the province. Endowed with various powers and functions, the commission has the authority to inquire into human rights violations and abuses including child rights violations. Under the Sindh Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2023, SHRC has been given mandate of “Business and Human Rights” to monitor abuses within business enterprises and compliance to labour standards.

Gilgit-Baltistan

Industries, Minerals, Commerce and Labour Department

The Industries, Minerals, Commerce, and Labour Department in Gilgit-Baltistan has a mandate to foster economic development, regulating industrial activities, promoting commerce, managing mineral resources, and overseeing labour-related matters within the region. This department is tasked with formulating policies, regulations, and strategies to facilitate industrial growth, attract investments, and create employment opportunities. Moreover, it addresses labour-related issues by implementing labour laws, ensuring workplace safety standards, and promoting workers’ rights and welfare, including children engaged in labour.

Social Welfare, Women Development, Human & Child Rights and Youth Affairs Department

The Department holds a broad mandate encompassing various aspects of social welfare, women development, including human rights, child rights and youth affairs. The Department is mandated to review policies, laws, and administrative measures pertaining to child protection, as well as to regulate child protection services. Furthermore, it is making efforts to establish robust case management and referral systems across Gilgit Baltistan. Through the implementation of child protection referral management systems, helpline management, social welfare programmes and awareness campaigns,  the Department is responsible for the welfare of children and their families within the region.

Gilgit-Baltistan Police (GB Police)

The Gilgit-Baltistan Police serves as the primary law enforcement agency in the region, tasked with maintaining public safety, enforcing laws, and preventing crime. The police is involved in child labour cases when there are elements of criminality involved, such as human trafficking, forced labour, cruelty or exploitation. In such cases, the police  conduct investigations, gather evidence, and apprehend perpetrators for prosecution under relevant criminal laws.

Child Protection Commission

The Child Protection Commission in Gilgit Baltistan is tasked with advising the government on policy, legislation, and regulatory matters related to child protection, including the coordination and implementation of the GB Child Protection Act of 2017. Additionally, the commission monitors compliance with international treaties concerning child rights and protection within the region.

 

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