Curse of Child Labour

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 5:56:41 by

As the world in 21st century celebrates Labour Day today, the question that clings into my mind is whether the development, progress and modernity we have achieved is of any benefit when the majority minds are still unknowing?

With bundles of tools of awareness present at easy hand, we find ignorant people in every part of this earth. The ignorant remain ignorant because the one who possess awareness remain ignorant of utilizing their capabilities and skills to motivate the people towards the
bright side of life and help diminish evil out of society. We mutually are responsible for disorders that exist around us.

Speaking with relevance to Labour Day here, the society ill that needs sheer attention is aggravating curse of child
labour. Any work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, their dignity, and is harmful to their physical and mental development comes into the folds of child labour. Though centuries have rolled by, yet child labour is prevailing in every nook and corner of the globe and we find no significant change in the plight of those children who hail from poor sections of the society.  Hundreds of children have been
born and bred on footpaths. They have hardly any food or clothes; medicine is out of reach for them, shelter from sun and rain is just the shade of a tree, they remain illiterate with no direction in life and automatically get sucked into curse of forced labour.

Overpopulation, illiteracy, poverty, urbanization, orphans, exploitation of work and inadequate laws are some of the basic factors that furthers this menace of enforced child labour. According to UNICEF reports that there are an estimated 250 million children aged 5 to 14 in child
labour worldwide which accounts for 22% of the workforce in Asia, 32% in Africa, 17% in Latin America, 1% in US, Canada, Europe and other wealthy nations.

As far as the situation in Pakistan is concerned, according to survey results released by Federal Bureau of Statistics last year; 3.8 million children in the age group of 5-14 years are working in Pakistan out of a total of 40 million children. Out of these 3.8 million children, 2.7 million were claimed to be working in the agricultural sector and 73% of them were boys.

Despite the fact that many states have clearly stated laws for preventing the exploitation of children yet the practical implementation lags behind bringing forth substantial outcomes. As a part of global effort, multiple organizations i.e. International Labour Organization (ILO),  ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), UNICEF, Save the Children, End Child Labour, Justice for Children International, Child Labor Coalition, Child Labour Awareness, Children Watch, Free the Children, World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) etc. are also established with the goal to progressively eliminate child labour through strengthening the capacity of countries to deal with the problem and promoting a worldwide movement to combat child labour. Among the several partners of these
organizations includes employers’ and workers’ organizations, international and government agencies, private businesses, community-based organizations, NGOs, the media, parliamentarians, the judiciary, universities, religious groups, children and their families.

But all these efforts are confined to organizing seminars, passing resolutions and drawing action plans for the protection of children that brings no visible change on ground. It is pity that very few material steps are taken to protect the rights of children.

Attitudes will have to change and loopholes in policies need to be addressed if child labour is to be eradicated.
Some essential changes that are the dire need of time includes formulation of proper methods to spread awareness of child protection, we need to foster mind change among parents who view their kids as source of income and have to make these parents aware of the significance of education that can change the fortune of their future generations. For this policy to work, Governments must invest more money into
the education system on priority basis as many parents do not want to send their children to school either because they need to pay fees or they view the school system as inadequate. Furthermore, Governments should also employ counselors that hold regular meetings with concerned parents and make them aware of developments so as to satisfy them.

Strict action should also be forged against the employers who hire children and are indulged in exploitation of child labour. Besides, preference of boys over girls is another main reason that child labour continues to thrive in some parts of world. Governments should strengthen ways to empower women and children and a law should also be passed declaring domestic employment hazardous.

There is a necessity to review and redesign the child laws with greater emphasis on accountability and applicability. With regard to enforcement of formulated laws, most labourers and parents are often not mindful about regulations regarding child labour; thus proper methods of educating these laws must be enforced. Hence, better solutions need to be adopted for eradicating this curse otherwise it will soon lick the pillars of the world.

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