Where millions of children
stopped being child and started living in Fear & Agony.
Chaos and apathy annihilated the life of twelve millions children on the rock. There are around 12 million children indulged in labor including worst form of labor as reported by ILO in 2012. We have stranded them with their great suffering and poverty. It’s a shockingly prevalent phenomenon that these children are being thwarted to gain education and forced to work. Wide negligence stymied them to become positive part of society. They are ensnared to exploitation, child abuse and child molestation trafficking, terrorism and child laundering which is marring their physical, emotional and intellectual growth. Children are the hope of better future, devastating children mean sowing poison today hoping to reap fruit for tomorrow.
“It takes a whole village to raise a child” an African saying focuses raising a child is not the duty of parents only but the society as a whole in collective way has to take up its share as well and it’s not an uphill task.
We as a country need to think how carefully we respond to our social problems. Many employers justify child
labor as giving hand on experience and aiding in filling the mouth of family member. This is not the case of honing skills of children, it’s a matter of profit maximization and cost reduction, indeed children are paid at low side as compare to adults and they can be forced to work for longer hours. UNICEF estimated that 250,000 children work in brick kilns and there are 11,000 brick kilns in Pakistan, out of which 5000 are located in Punjab. Child Rights Movement highlighted that 9.86 million children and adolescent workers between the ages of 10 to 19 years in Pakistan. This is the age of extreme importance when a child learns how to become a constructive part of society and flow it toward prosperity.
Even though Pakistan has ratified International Labor Organization’s convention on child labor therefore, country is under obligation to initiate and enforce corrective measure to eradicate Child Labor but picture of reality shows to be a token representation of the issue.
Protecting the rights of children is our pivotal responsibility and service as a nation, they are required to be protected from exploitation
As per ILO child labor can be defined in fourfold:-
i. Working during early age
ii. Overwork or giving too much time to work
iii. Lots of pressure to work
iv. Readiness to work for low pay
The Article 11 of the Constitution of Pakistan prohibits slavery, trafficking and the participation in laborious work below age 14 children, the relevant portion of law is reproduced as under:-
11. Slavery, forced labor, etc., prohibited.-
(1) Slavery is non-existent and forbidden and no law shall permit or facilitate its introduction into Pakistan in any form.
(2) All forms of forced labor and traffic in human beings are prohibited.
(3) No child below the age of Fourteen years shall be engaged in any factory or mine or any other hazardous employment.
(4) Nothing in this Article shall be deemed to affect compulsory service-
(a) By any person undergoing punishment for an offence against any law; or
(b) Required by any law for public purpose:
Provided that no compulsory service shall be of a cruel nature or incompatible with human dignity.
The worst form of child labor is serfdom or debt bondage, not only children but entire families struggle to set off their debts that will remain unpaid even after the years of arduous work. They adopted hazardous jobs like begging, prostitution and terrorist activities.
Major reasons of child labor are high rate of Poverty and unemployment, laws and established practice to defend the rights and prevalence of uniform disciplines are not being enforced with full might of law. Thirdly there is limited access of free education even lot of students are not encouraged to gain education specially females.