Child labour is a problem in many developing countries including India and Pakistan. Pakistan has a large number of child labourers, who instead of pursuing their own dreams, fall into a never-ending trap of work.
According to a survey carried out by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, from 40 million children in Pakistan, approximately around 19 million are working as child labourers.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) claims that poverty is the biggest reason behind child labour in Pakistan.
Children have to work to support their families in most cases, especially in rural areas as there is a lot of work to be done in the fields so, from a young age children are forced to be a helping hand.
Moreover, the family members are larger in number in poverty stricken areas due to which the children have no other choice than to except their fate and work with their parents to earn a livelihood.
In some cases poor households are in debt due to events or occasions, delayed salaries and thus they borrow money from others. Parents then expect children to repay the debt and work as bonded labourers. Bonded labour is the worst type of labour because of the debts children are subjected to horrible conditions and the lender of the money feels he has control over them.
Parents want immediate gratification instead of delayed. If they send children to school they’d have to pay the fees, money for school books and uniforms which can be hard for an already poor household and to top if off, the benefits of this education are achieved once the education is completed and the children get jobs.
Education in Pakistan is not free and even if it is, the situation of these schools is unsatisfactory and sub standard. Hence, parents rule out this opportunity completely and send children, mostly boys to fields or workshops and other public means of work while girls are taught to sew, married early or sent to homes as domestic help for those who can afford.
Furthermore, their is a demand for cheap labour hence the employers are happy paying children inadequately but forcing them to work the same.
Laws are made against child labour but are often ignored because as children work without complaining, the employers benefit and keep taking work from them no matter how wrong it is to make them work as labourers with little or no wages under conditions such as that of ‘slavery’.
Child labour remains one of the major issues in Pakistan. Researchers believe that if policies are made towards the betterment of the education sector with free compulsory education and improved standards of Government schools the situation can improve.
Lastly, the government should aim to minimise poverty. Strict laws against child and bonded labour should be formulated and put into action to stop children from working instead of pursuing their dreams.. It should be ensured that people follow the laws while choosing not to comply to them should guarantee severe punishments.
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