Concern expressed over growing child labour
PESHAWAR, Sept 8: Speakers at a workshop on Saturday expressed concern over the seriousness of the problem of the child labour in Pakistan and called for concentrated efforts to improve the situation. They said that improper implementation of relevant laws, lack of education and poverty were the root causes of child labour.
The daylong workshop entitled “Activating media in combating worst forms of child labour in Pakistan” was organised by the International Labour Organization, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Media-Mark.
The workshop is part of the ILO’s ongoing national media plan to sensitise the media people on the child labour problems in Pakistan.
NWFP information secretary Afzal Khan, ILO-IPEC national project manager Saba Mohsan Raza, ILO-IPEC project manager Khalid Hassan, Skill Development Council (SDC) chairman Haji Mohammad Javed, Pakistan Labour Federation president Gul Rehman, Pakistan Workers Federation deputy general-secretary Master Khudadad and others spoke on various aspects of the issue.
Afzal Khan said that the increasing ratio of child labour in the NWFP had been affecting economic growth and spoiling health and future of the children involved.
This problem, he said, had become a challenge for all stakeholders, adding that efforts were being made to clip the wings of this menace effectively.
Saba Mohsan Raza said that hard work involving physical or mental activities had negative impacts on childhood, potential and dignity of children.
She said there were 3.3 million child labourers in the country and the figure had been increasing. “Punjab has been found to be having the highest number of child workers with 60 per cent in the national aggregate followed by 20 per cent in the NWFP, 14 per cent in Sindh and six per cent in Balochistan,” she pointed out. She said that 70 per cent of the total working children were found absolutely illiterate.
Haji Javed said that poverty and illiteracy contributed toward encouraging this problem. He said strict implementation of relevant laws was the only remedy to control the child labour. He highlighted the SDC’s efforts for eliminating child labour.
ILO-IPEC project manager Khlid Hassan said that ILO was committed to controlling child labour in Pakistan. He stressed active role of the community in achieving this goal.
Master Khudadad said that surgical instruments, mining, manufacturing glass bangles, tanneries, coal mines, rag pickers/scavengers, deep-sea fishing, child domestic workers, child trafficking, carpet weaving, street children, bonded labour and beggary were the worst forms of the child labour in Pakistan.
Columnist Javed Chaudhry emphasised the need for initiating sincere efforts to protect children from the child labour.