Imposing work on children and depriving them of their basic needs are the features of child labour. This is a serious crime.
Child labour is not an isolated phenomenon. It is a consequence of several factors ranging from poverty and lack of employment opportunities to uneven distribution of wealth and resources.
It is quiet devastating to know that Pakistan is amongst the top 10 countries with a high rate of child labour. With about 30 per cent of Pakistan’s population being below the poverty line, poverty serves out to be the basic reason of child labour in the country.
This occurs when parents have no other option but to send their children out to earn for them.
Thus children are made to work for great hours. in various situations such as in factories and kilns, besides in households as domestic hands. They are exposed to harmful toxic pesticides, like arsenic and potassium. They are also sometimes made to work in glass blowing units where the work can harm their lungs, and cause diseases like tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis.
Child labour is a social evil. It would require cumulative efforts to wipe it out. First, the non-governmental organisations have got an important role to play in the elimination of child labour. The government might not have the infrastructure to reach every section of society, particularly the ones who live and work in remote areas. NGOs can act as a bridge between these places and the government.
Our government must also accommodate, and give certain monetary or non-monetary incentives to the families that live below the poverty line to so that their children can receive education instead of working out for cash.
Our media has also got to play a significant role in the elimination of child labour. Firms or houses where children are employed as workers or servants must be exposed. This would give birth to a feeling of consciousness in those who take services of these children, neglecting their rights.
If taken, these initial steps could bring about a change and eradicate the factor of child labour in the country because small hands can handle a pen better. Lend your support in abolishing child labor.
IBRAHIM TARIQ Lahore