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Child labour crisis in Pakistan: A wake-up call

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Areesha Qayyum

In Pakistan, child labour has long been a serious problem that has hurt the country’s reputation and stifled socioeconomic development. Countless children are deprived of their youth, education, and dignity as a result of child employment, despite legislative protections and international agreements against it. In this article, we discuss the serious issue of child labour in Pakistan, its causes, the effects it has on kids’ lives, and the attempts being taken to end it.

Child labour continues to be frighteningly common in Pakistan, affecting millions of kids in a variety of fields including agriculture, domestic work, brick kilns, carpet weaving, and street hawking. Child labour is mostly caused by poverty, as poor families frequently turn to child labour as a source of additional revenue. Inadequate access to social services and high-quality education also contributes to the cycle of poverty and child exploitation.

A child is meant to learn, not to earn

Children who work as children suffer terrible and long-lasting effects as a result. Work that is dangerous to their physical and emotional health can result in injuries, chronic illnesses, and growth problems. These kids, whose right to education has been denied to them, are stuck in a cycle of illiteracy that limits their chances for the future and feeds the cycle of poverty. The abuse, exploitation, and trafficking they experience while working as children leaves them mentally damaged for life.

Legal Framework and Challenges: Pakistan has accepted international treaties such the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organization’s Minimum Age Convention, which forbid child labour. The Employment of Children Act (1991) and the Punjab Restriction on Employment of Children Act (2016) are just two examples of national legislation that protect children’s rights. However, due to scarce resources, fraud, and ignorance, the implementation of these rules is nonetheless ineffective.

Initiatives to tackle Child Labor: Despite obstacles, a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations are devotedly battling child labor in Pakistan. These projects concentrate on various angles, such as the first step in stopping the cycle of exploitation is to provide access to high-quality education and to increase public awareness of the need to end child employment. Secondly by putting social protection programs in place to aid vulnerable families and give them financial support, it is possible to lessen the demand for child work. Thirdly stricter punishments for those who hire youngsters can serve as a deterrent, as can strengthening labor inspections. Fourthly corporates have a responsibility to reduce the demand for child labor, businesses need to be urged to uphold moral standards in their supply chains and abstain from using child labor.

Instead of turning kids into labourers, let them be kids.

It will take extensive and ongoing efforts to end child labour in Pakistan, which is still a pervasive and terrible problem. To end the cycle of poverty and exploitation that leads children into employment, it is essential to combine strong legislation, effective enforcement, education, and social support. Only by concerted effort and increased awareness will we be able to ensure that Pakistani children’s rights to an education, safety, and a childhood free from exploitation are honoured and upheld.

The writer is a student of BS Journalism studies at Punjab University and can be reached at:[email protected] 

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