KARACHI: More than 60 per cent children who work experience child abuse. The gravity of the issue is increasing by the day. The government should think about it. One of the ways to counter it is to empower the female population of society because it has been observed that most of what women earn, they spend it on children.

This was said by Khan Muhammad Mangi, project coordinator DevCon, an association for rural development, at a press conference held at the Karachi Press Club to celebrate International Day to End Child Labour on Sunday.

Mr Mangi said to put an end to child labour was a global commitment. He said to eliminate child labour concerted efforts were required from governments and various organisations. He also mentioned the role that the media could play in that context. He requested the media to give due attention to the issue. He said child abuse incidents were on the rise and mostly those who went through the traumatic experience were aged between five and seven. He named a couple of cities in Sindh from where such incidents had been reported. He said most of the victims came from underprivileged families.

Mr Mangi said in Karachi a big number of children worked in homes. He said they worked up to 18 hours during which they were often abused and in some cases killed after being ill-treated. He said there was no proper system in place to point out these excesses.

Mr Mangi’s colleague Rana Asif said the media should work to sensitise people to the issue. He referred to Article 25-A of the Constitution saying the state should ensure it. He said unemployment was one of the causes of child labour because those (adults) who did not have employment were forced to send their children for jobs.

Replying to a question, Mr Mangi said the media shared the responsibility for highlighting the matter. He reemphasised that the gravity of the issue was increasing. He said one of the ways to tackle the problem was to empower women because it had been observed that what women earned, they spent most of it on their households and children.

Responding to a query about the funding that his organisation received, he said there was a systematic way to use and audit the funds. He said he and his team reached out to between 80 and 100 street children on a regular basis, imparting non-formal education to them and solving their other problems.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2016

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