The Punjab Child Labour Survey (PCLS) 2019-2020 is the second child labour survey in Punjab province, Pakistan, after the national child survey in 1996, and was conducted as part of a nationwide survey with the aim of covering all provinces and territories.
The Punjab Child Labour Survey (PCLS) 2019-2020 provides unique insights into the lives of children and adolescents in the province. It also throws light on their daily routines such as school attendance, household chores and work. The survey covers a representative sample of 62,177 households and is representative of Punjab’s 36 districts in rural and urban strata. According to Punjab laws, child labour refers to persons aged 5 to 14 years, while persons aged 15 to 17 years are classified as adolescents. Therefore, the term Child Labour and Adolescent Hazardous Work (CLAHW) refers to the 5 to 17 year old population.
The PCLS 2019-20 was launched in October 2022.
Summary of Key Findings
- Among children aged 5–14, 84.6 per cent currently attend school, while for 15–17– year–olds 58.0 per cent currently attend school, with the current school attendance being slightly higher among boys (80.7 per cent) than girls aged 5–17 (77.7 per cent).
- Chakwal and Jhelum districts have the highest rates of children and adolescents currently attending school (around 91 per cent), while it is lowest in Rajanpur (57.4 per cent).
- The percentage of children and adolescents attending school increases with age until 8 years of age and thereafter decreases.
- Overall, 10.2 per cent per cent of children and adolescents have never attended school, while for children 5–14 the figure is 9.8 per cent. The percentage of girls that never attended school is higher than the percentage for boys (12.4 per cent vs. 8.2 per cent).
- Chakwal and Gujrat districts have the lowest rates of children and adolescents having never attended school (2.2 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively), while it is highest in Rajanpur (34.6 per cent).
- Girls in all age groups are more likely than boys to engage in household chores. Overall, 71.9 per cent of girls are engaged in household chores, compared to 66.3 per cent of boys.
- Overall, 69.0 per cent of children and adolescents are engaged in household chores, while for children aged 5–14, the percentage is 65.5 per cent.
- Girls are not only more often involved in household chores, but they also spend more time on household chores compared to boys across all age groups. The gap increases with age and in the age group 15–17, girls spend on average 12.4 hours per week on household chores, compared to 4.7 hours for boys.
- Boys and girls are engaged in different types of household activities. Shopping for household is the most common activity among boys who perform chores (59.4 per cent for age 5–14 and 61.6 per cent for 5–17), while cleaning utensils or the dwelling is the most common among girls who carry out chores (49.7 per cent for 5–14 and 57.2 per cent for 5–17).
- 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 and adolescents increases with age. Out of all 5–17-year-olds, 18.6 per cent were engaged in work in the past 7 days, and 21.3 per cent reported working in the past 12 months (including the past week), compared to 13.4 per cent and 15.5 per cent, respectively, for 5–14-year-olds.
- Engagement in work (in the past 7 days) increases with age and ranges from 5.2 per cent for 5–9-year-olds., to 22.3 per cent for 10–14-year-olds, and up to 39.8 per cent for 15–17-year-olds.
- Among children aged 5–9, 10–14 and adolescents aged 15–17 who are not working, 87.9 per cent, 88.0 per cent and 75.4 per cent respectively go to school, whereas the percentages are 80.0, 58.4, and 31.7 for those who are working.
- Moreover, 16.4 per cent of girls aged 5–17 who do not work, do not attend school, whereas the percentage is 11.3 for boys. • More than three out of five children with disabilities neither engage in school nor work, compared to around one in ten of children without disabilities.
Children in Child Labour and Adolescents in Hazardous work
- For children aged 5–14, child labour prevalence is 13.4 per cent. For those aged 5–17 the prevalence of CLAHW is 16.9 per cent.
- Child labour incidence is significantly higher for boys than girls: for 5–14-year-olds the figures are 16.8 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively, while for 5–17 the incidences are 21.8 per cent for boys and 11.5 per cent for girls.
- The summary of results shows six aspects considered to identify children in child labour. Among children in child labour, 47.8 per cent of children aged 10–14 work in hazardous conditions, 9.9 per cent work for long hours (i.e. work longer than the age-specific threshold set out in the Punjab Prohibition of Employment of Children Act 2016), 13.7 per cent work at night, 15.6 per cent have been exposed to some type of abuse at their workplace (psychological, physical and/or sexual), 8.7 per cent work in hazardous occupations or industries and 18.8 per cent work with hazardous tools or machinery.
- By division: The highest child labour prevalence for children aged 5–14 is in Sahiwal (24.7 per cent) and lowest in Rawalpindi (6.1 per cent). For children and adolescents aged 5–17 the prevalence for these districts is 27.9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.
- By district: The highest child labour prevalence for children aged 5–14 is in Pakpattan (35.5 per cent) and lowest in Attock (5.1 per cent) For children and adolescents aged 5–17 the prevalence for these districts is 39.2 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively.
- CLAHW mostly work as unpaid family workers (81.1 per cent for 5–14 and 70.4 per cent for 5–17). Girls are more often unpaid family workers than boys (85.4 per cent vs. 78.8 per cent for 5–14, and 80.5 per cent vs. 65.5 per cent for 5–17).
- The most common occupations for children in child labour aged 5–14 are skilled agriculture, forestry, or fishing occupations (44.6 per cent) and elementary occupations (36.7 percent) 1 . For those aged 5–17 the percentages are 40.0 per cent and 32.8 per cent respectively. Furthermore, girls in CLAHW are more often found in skilled agriculture, forestry, or fishing (48.9 per cent for girls vs. 35.8 per cent for boys), whereas boys are more often found in service and sales (10.8 per cent for boys vs. 1.7 per cent for girls)
- The most common industry for children in child labour is the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry (61.5 per cent for children 5–14 and 55.3 per cent for 5–17) 2 . The second and third most common industries are water supply (15.5 per cent for 5–14 and 11.8 per cent for 5–17) and manufacturing (9.5 per cent for 5–14 and 13.6 per cent for 5–17).
- The median number of hours worked per week for CLAHW is 4 hours per week for children (5–9), 12 hours per week for children (10–14) and 34 hours per week for adolescents (15–17).
Circumstances and Causes of Child Labour and Adolescent Hazardous Work
- The percentage of CLAHW decreases with education of the household head; 41.9 per cent in households in which the household head has at most pre-school education and 11.9 per cent in households in which the household head has higher education.
- The percentage of households with at least one child or adolescent in CLAHW decreases with wealth, from 49.2 per cent among the poorest quintile of households to 12.2 per cent for the richest. Children and adolescents in BISP beneficiary households are more likely to be in CLAHW. BISP targets households with low wealth, and in these households 26.8 per cent of children and adolescents are in CLAHW compared to 15.5 per cent of children in non-beneficiary households.
- The percentage of children in child labour is lower among children whose household head migrated at 12.1 per cent. The same pattern holds for children and adolescents aged 5–17 in CLAHW (15.3 per cent).
- Children and adolescents in CLAHW are less likely to live with both parents (86.4 per cent vs 88.7 per cent for 5–14 and 87.6 per cent vs. 89.6 per cent for 5–17).
- The percentage of children and adolescents in CLAHW does not differ significantly by gender of household head (13.4 per cent in male headed- vs 13.0 per cent in female headed households for 5–14, and 16.8 per cent vs. 17.0 per cent for 5–17).
- Children in households that experienced a natural shock are more likely to be in child labour, (19.8 per cent in child labour for 5–14-year-olds in a household suffering a natural shock vs. 13.4 per cent in households not experiencing any community-/ countrywide shock) while those experiencing an economic shock 3 are not more likely to be in child labour (12.6 per cent in child labour for 5–14-year-olds in a household suffering an economic shock).
- For children in child labour the most reported reasons of the parent or guardian for letting them work is to help in household enterprise (42.9 per cent). Other frequently reported reasons include to support household needs, to fetch water, or collect wood (22. 9 per cent) and supplement family or household income (22.1 per cent). The percentages for the 5–17 year-olds are 38.8 per cent, 18.4 per cent and 30.5 per cent, respectively, for the aforementioned reasons.
- The most frequently reported negative consequence faced by children in child labour and adolescents in hazardous work is extreme fatigue ranging by age group from 8.1 per cent for 5–9 to 17.5 per cent for 15–17. The second most frequent is injury or poor health ranging from 6.1 per cent for those aged 5–9 to 11.7 per cent for those aged 15–17.
- Children aged 5–14 in child labour are 25.2 percentage points less likely to currently attend school compared to children not in child labour (62.7 per cent vs. 87.9 per cent, respectively). For those aged 5–17, children in child labour and adolescents in hazardous work are 35.8 percentage points less likely to currently attend school compared to those not in CLAHW (49.5 per cent vs. 85.3 per cent, respectively).
- Injuries are much more prevalent among adolescents in hazardous work compared to working adolescents not in hazardous work (41.7 per cent vs. 11.5 per cent). Among children and adolescents aged 5–17, boys in CLAHW are more likely than girls in CLAHW to be injured or ill due to work (33.6 per cent vs. 30.3 per cent), while the opposite is true for working adolescents not in CLAWH 9.2 per cent vs. 14.4 per cent).
- Children working in specific hazardous conditions (a subset of hazardous work) are more often injured or ill because of their work. For children aged 10–14, 45.4 per cent of those in hazardous conditions are injured or become ill compared to 11.8 per cent for those working but not in hazardous conditions, a difference of 33.6 percentage points. For the age group 15–17, the difference is similar at 32.6 percentage points (50.6 per cent vs. 18.0 per cent).
- Almost 16 per cent of children aged 5–14 in child labour experienced psychological, physical or sexual abuse at work, with the percentage being higher for boys (16.7 per cent) than girls (13.4 per cent). The percentage is higher among adolescents aged 15–17 in hazardous work at 19.1 per cent per cent (19.8 per cent of boys and 17.4 per cent of girls).
- Children and adolescents aged 10–17 in CLAHW are more likely to report a mental health problem, compared to those not in CLAHW (19.2 per cent vs. 12.6 per cent). Among children and adolescents in CLAHW, the percentage reporting a mental health problem is higher among girls than boys (21.2 per cent vs. 18.2 per cent).
(1) Punjab Child Labour Survey Report, Labour and Human Resource Department, Govt. of Punjab, Bureau of Statistics, Planning and Development Board, Govt. of Punjab, UKAID, UNICEF