Children at work

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Image: ©ILO/Anwar Adil.

Survey for K-P in 2022-23 reveals that 922,314 children are engaged in work constituting 11.1% of population

Even though, child labour is prohibited in Pakistan with several laws mandating action against employers, millions of children across the country are currently working across different sectors. The first Child Labour Survey for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in 2022-23 revealed that 922,314 children are engaged in work constituting 11.1% of the province’s child population. High levels of poverty coupled with the absence of social protection and welfare compels families to send their children to work rather than school. The report highlights various causes including the head of household having no or primary education, the household being a beneficiary of BISP’s assistance, the head of household having migrated and the household having lost at least one parent.

Child labour compromises children’s overall development and well-being as they miss out on education and often face varying degrees of violence and abuse. Most of these individuals are unable to secure well-paying jobs and continue living in poverty in their adulthood. This not only perpetuates a cycle of poverty and illiteracy but also takes a toll on the country’s economy. The absence of skilled and educated labour hampers innovation, development and growth. Moreover, child labour significantly contributes to societal issues such as homelessness, disease, trafficking and crime, placing an additional burden on the government in terms of continued spending and efforts to address these interconnected challenges.

Labour Secretary Mohammad Fakhr-e Alam says the report will be used as evidence to design policy reforms and programmes to eradicate child labour and provide children with equitable opportunities for education and development. These reforms can play a critical role in protecting and safeguarding children’s futures, but it is crucial to implement strict rules and regulations regarding children’s employment in different sectors. In addition to addressing the causes of child labour, we must create an environment that ensures the safety and prosperity of our future nation builders.

Editorial published in Express Tribune on 29-01-2021


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