Children are the flowers of heaven.They are the most beautiful and purest creation of God. They are innocent both inwardly & outwardly. Some can merely wish to seek knowledge but cannot go to school due to financial problems and many other hindrances & difficulties. When a child in addition to getting education, earns his livelihood, this out of earning a livelihood is called child labor. This concept of child labor got much attention during the 1990s When European countries announced a ban on the goods of the less-developed countries because of child labor.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child labor as:
- When a child is working during early age, he overwork or gives over time to labor.
- He works due to the psychological, social & materialistic pressure
- He becomes ready to work on a very low salary.
United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) defines “child” as anyone below the age of 18 & “Child Labour” as some type of work performed by children below the age of 18. child Lobour is very common in Latin America, Africa & Asia, in several Asian countries 1/10 manpower consist of child labour.
In India the numbers of children between the ages of 10-14 has crossed above 44 million, in Pakistan this number is from 8 to 10 million, in Bangladesh 8-12 million, in Brazil 7 million, whereas this number is 12 million in Nigeria.
In Pakistan children aged 5-14 are above 40 million. during the last year, the federal bureau of statistics released the result of its survey funded by ILO’s IPEC (international Program on the Elimination of Child Labor). The findings were that 3.8 million children between the age group of 5-14 years were working in Pakistan out of a total of 40 million children 50% of these economically active children are in age group of 5 to 9 years, even out of these 3.8million economically active, children 2.7 million ere claimed to be working in agriculture sector. two hundred thousand (73%) were said to be boys.
According to a government report most of the children are engaged in the following occupation:
- Work inside underground mines over ground quarries, including blasting and assisting in blasting.
- Work with power-driven cutting machinery like saws, and guillotines(Thrashers, fodder cutting machines, also marbles.)
- Work with live electrical wires over 50V.
- All operation related to leather tanning process.
- Mixing or application of pesticides insecticides/fumigation.
- Work with exposure to all toxic, explosive and carcinogenic chemicals.
- Work with exposure to cement dust & coal dust.
- Manufacture & sale of fireworks explosives.
- Work at the sites where liquid petroleum Gas and compressed natural gas are filled in cylinders.
- Stone crushing.
- Lifting & carrying of heavy weights specially in transport industry(15 kg and above).
- Work between 10pm to 8am (hotel industry).
- Carpet weaving, fishing, sheep casing, wool industry & ship breaking.
- Tobaccos process (including Niswar) & manufacturing.
Now we can easily imagine in the light of above mentioned facts & figure that how the nation’s future namely “children” are deprived of pleasure of life. Ignorance has reduced their abilities of thinking right or differentiate between right & wrong, as well as they have total non-acess to education.
It is true that child labor is not an isolated phenomenon.
Child labor is a complex problem. There is no better way to prevent child labor than to make education compulsory. the west understood this point a long time ago. Laws were enacted very early to serve education to children & now they have gone a step forward, & have completed at least the primary education of a Child before he or she starts working.
The present government in Pakistan has made education compulsory. Along with that the government has distributed free books in primary schools. The major point is that this decision must be acted upon at all levels. there is strict need to stop child labor in this country. Awareness must be raised and the attention of the parents ought to be diverted to the education of their children.
Child labor law should be put into practice strictly. The orphans & other deserving children must be helped financially on a prolonged basis. If we succeed to act upon these principles, our country can get rid of f this problem i.e child labor.
The agreement that has recently been approved by Pakistan< Norway and ILO to eradicate child labor must be given importance and I hope that our rulers must put this agreement into practice using act means at disposal.
Note: Most of the pictures were taken from Google search.