The Gilgit Baltistan Child Labour Survey 2018-2019 is the first child labour survey conducted in the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. It was conducted as part of a nationwide survey intended to cover all provinces and territories. It addresses the prevalence of child labour in the region, the causes and consequences of child labour, and additional socio-economic indicators that provide information on the living conditions of children in the region as well as on their daily activities, including schooling, working, household chores and leisure. With a representative sample of 7,032 households from all 10 districts in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), this is the largest survey conducted in this administrative area to date. The survey is representative of 388,569 children aged 5-17 years in the territory, at the urbanand rural strata levels.
Findings of the Survey were released in October 2021.
Summary of Key Findings
Characteristics of the survey population
- There are more boys than girls in Gilgit-Baltistan except for the age group 10–13 and the sex ratio is higher in urban compared to rural areas.
- Girls are about eight times more likely to be married than boys in the same age group. It is reported that 0.8 per cent of girls aged 10–13 and 8.7 per cent of girls aged 14–17 have married.
- Less than 1 in 3 children has a birth certificate, with the percentage being slightly higher for boys and increasing with age.
- Among children aged 5–17, more than 4 in 5 children attend school, with the current school attendance rate being higher for boys (87.5 per cent) than girls (76.8 per cent).
- Overall, 14.8 per cent of children aged 5–17 have never attended school. The percentage of girls that never attended school is almost twice as high as the percentage for boys (19.5 per cent vs. 10.3 per cent).
- There are considerable differences in school attendance between the districts, with the highest percentage in Hunza (98.2 per cent) and the lowest in Diamer (46.6 per cent).
- Girls in all age groups are more likely than boys to engage in household chores. Overall, 69.0 per cent of girls are engaged in household chores, compared to 56.7 per cent for boys.
- Girls are not only more often involved in housekeeping, but they also spend more time on household chores. The gap increases with age and in the age group 14–17, girls spend on average 10.4 hours per week on household chores, compared to 4.2 hours for boys.
- Boys and girls are also engaged in different types of household activities. Shopping for household is the most common household chore performed among boys aged 5-17 (50.5 per cent), while cleaning utensils or the dwelling is more often done by girls aged 5-17 (57.8 per cent)
- The incidence of working children was measured over two periods of time: the last seven days, and the last 12 months. For both measures, the percentage of working children increases with age. Among children aged 5-17, 19.9 per cent reported working in the past 12 months and 14.3 per cent in the last 7 days.
- The percentage of working girls that do not attend school is almost twice as high as the percentage for working boys (27.1 per cent vs. 14.3 per cent).
Children in child labour
- In total, 13.1 per cent of all children aged 5-17 in Gilgit-Baltistan are in child labour. This amounts to 50,761 children 5-17 years old. The child labour incidence is slightly higher for boys (13.6%) compared to girls (12.5%) and increases with age. The highest child labour prevalence is in the age group 14–17 (23.7 per cent), followed by children aged 10–13 years (16.4 per cent) and children aged 5–9 years (4.2 per cent).
- Almost all working children are in child labour (91.2 per cent), this is by definition all children aged 5-13 and holds for more than 4 in 5 working children aged 14–17.
- The summary of results shows six aspects considered to identify children in child labour. Among children in child labour, 74.8 per cent of children aged 10-17 work in an unhealthy working environment, 56.7 per cent work for long hours (i.e. work longer than the age-specific threshold set out in the Gilgit-Baltistan Prohibition of Employment of Children Act, 2019), 32.2 per cent work at night, 21.5 per cent have been exposed to some type of abuse at their workplace (psychological, physical and/or sexual), with the percentage being slightly higher for boys compared to girls (22.2 per cent vs. 20.6 per cent), 17.8 per cent work in hazardous occupations or industries and 5.2 per cent work with hazardous tools or machinery
- The district Diamer has the lowest rate of child labour (5.8 per cent), while Shigar present the highest (27.8 per cent)
- The median number of hours worked per week for children in child labour is 3.5 hours per week for children aged 5–9, 7 hours per week for children aged 10–13 and 11.5 hours per week for children aged 14–17, which is above the permitted working-hour threshold for children under 14 years, but below for children 14–17 years old.
- Children in child labour mostly work as unpaid family workers (83.1 per cent). Girls are more often unpaid family workers than boys (89.0 per cent vs. 77.9 per cent) and work more often at home (23.7 per cent vs. 19.4 per cent).
- Children in child labour work mostly in agriculture, forestry, or fishing (76.2 per cent), and are employed in elementary occupations (52.5 per cent). Girls work more frequently in water supply 1 (22.6 per cent) compared to boys (6.0 per cent). Furthermore, girls are more often found in elementary occupations (55.2 per cent vs. 50.1 per cent), whereas boys are more often found in service or as sales workers (4.1 per cent vs. 0.4 per cent).
Circumstances and causes of child labour
- Children in child labour live in households with slightly fewer members on average compared to children not in child labour (8.8 vs 9.3).
- The child labour prevalence is higher among children whose household head has never migrated compared to children whose household head has migrated (13.3 per cent vs. 10.8 per cent). Children in child labour are less likely to live with both parents (86.3 per cent vs. 88.9 per cent), and more likely to have lost at least one parent (6.8 per cent vs. 4.1 per cent). The percentage of girls in child labour who lost at least one parent is somewhat higher than that for boys (7.4 per cent vs. 6.3 per cent).
- The percentage of children in child labour is higher among those living in a female-headed household (18.0 per cent, compared to 12.8 per cent for children living in male-headed households).
- With respect to the relationship between socio-economic status and child labour, the percentage of households with at least one child in child labour decreases with the wealth index quintile, from almost 40 per cent among the poorest households to 14.5 per cent for the richest. A similar pattern is observed for the education of the household head, with most children in child labour living in households in which the household head has at most primary education (33.1 per cent) and the fewest in households in which the household head has higher education (16.9 per cent).
- Another indication that children from poor households are more likely to be in child labour is the percentage of children in child labour benefitting from the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP2 ) compared to children not in child labour (25.3 per cent compared to 18.8 per cent).
- Children in households that experienced a natural or economic shock3 are more likely to be in child labour (about 20 per cent for each of the various types of shock compared to the overall percentage of 13.1 per cent).
- For children in child labour, the most reported reason of the parent or guardian for letting the child work is to support household needs (55.2 per cent). Other common reasons are to supplement household income (29.5 per cent), own will or interest (23.7 per cent) and to learn skills (21.3 per cent).
Consequences of child labour
- For all age groups, the most reported negative consequence children in child labour face due to their work is extreme fatigue (ranging by age group from 17.1 to 21.7 per cent), a serious issue for children in their development process. For younger children, the second is injury or poor health (6.7 per cent) and for older children, poor grades in school (12.2 to 12.4 per cent).
- In all age groups, the percentage currently not attending school is higher for children in child labour compared to children not in child labour, from a difference of 0.9 percentage points for the youngest children to 13.1 percentage points for the oldest (for more details, see Chapter 8).
- There is a negative relationship between the number of working hours and school attendance for children in child labour, with the median number of hours worked per week for children attending school being 6.5, compared to 26 hours for children currently not attending school.
- Injuries are much more prevalent among children in child labour compared to working children not in child labour (53.8 per cent vs. 26.9 per cent). Boys in child labour are more likely than girls to be injured or ill due to work (55.8 per cent vs. 51.7 per cent), while the opposite is true for working children not in child labour (19.5 per cent vs. 33.4 per cent).
- Exposure to health hazards increases with age and is higher for girls than boys (78.3 per cent vs. 71.7 per cent).
- Children in child labour are slightly more likely to report symptoms of depression of all severity levels compared to working children not in child labour. Overall, working girls are slightly more likely than working boys to report symptoms of depression (21.4 per cent vs. 18.6 per cent)
(1) Gilgit-Baltistan Child Labour Survey Report 2018-19, Planning and Development Department, Govt. of Gilgit Baltistan, UNICEF, Centre for Evaluation and Development