Child labor is who work in early ages to meet his/her necessities. It has been escalated worldwide. The reason behind not only the poverty but also the negligence, unemployment, lack of education, overpopulation, environmental destruction like Flood, earthquake, migration etc. A study by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimated 158 million children in the world are part of labor works, which include wage labor, domestic, non-domestic and non-monitory work. Child labor includes girls and boys who are working since their childhood either being distantly from their homes or living in the streets because of homelessness as a result of this Children who are facing violence at their homes are likely to leave their places. These are hired by different mafias and militant wings for forced labor work. Pakistan is on 154th rank out of 181 in Global Children Rights Index. Another private survey, reported that there are 1.5 million street children in Pakistan. The report by UNICEIF (2017) stated that 16% children age from 5 to 17, engage in labor work and more vulnerable to abuse.
The children from worst financial strata or populated household are forced to earn livelihood or they often belong to the families, live and sleep on the streets around the town or at the garbage dump. To fulfill the basic needs of food and other necessities, they work for minimal wages under unfriendly and tough environment. More worrisome is they have to sometimes eat unhygienic and inedible food from garbage dump to satisfy hunger which make them more vulnerable to be exposed from harmful diseases.
Moreover, orphan children are coerced into work out of home for monetary purpose because they alone have to survive to live. They prefer to shoe shining, car cleaning or hawking at roads/streets, auto repair shop work, stations, markets, garbage dumping points, brick kiln, farm fields, small industries, domestic services and carpet weaving, garbage carrier to be hired easily in cheapest wages. Most of children works in manufacturing and different industries like tobacco. The industries avail their services in low cost and hard work.
More worryingly, underprivileged families sell their child to fulfill their financial necessities. As a result, these kids are misused by mafias or gangs for begging and other harmful acts like prostitutions or slavery or sometimes, non-state actors use them for accomplishing their nefarious designs of terrorism. Boys who work and live on streets become hit of militant wings by shaping their personality as a deadliest suicide attacker. They are also involved to exchange drugs, abduction etc.
Furthermore, the entire situation seems more complex for girls. They are appointed as fulltime maid in houses where the employer regards them as property and violates basic children rights, harass physically and mentally which often results in death. In 2019, uzma 16 years old maid, working for 8 months, had been killed brutally by her female employers owing to eat meal. Another 10 years old girl Tayyaba working as domestic helper found injured from the house of session judge Raja khurram Ali . This is awful behavior by our educated people.
The children are the mason for future, if they survive, the nation will move forward. Contemporary, we must proceed with serious initiatives to eradicate the curse of child labor. There are few practices which can be useful to adapt.
Unfortunately, Pakistan is underdeveloped country with overpopulation. Our citizens disesteem adapted child. This aspect totally ignored the children having no or worst background. The time is to look back towards kids who are neglected in society. If you are financial stable, invest for the needs of these kids to boost the future of Pakistan.
Pakistan has 64% of young Population. In which approx. 445,000 students graduate yearly. These graduate can put their efforts voluntarily by implementing “each one, teach one” theory of Noble Laureate Malala Yousuf zai. For this purpose, promoting reading and writing campaigns must be started individually. Political parties prefer to active participation of youth wings. These wings can influence to promulgate special legislation for child labor rights and their special education. Which could give opportunity to get free and quality education. Our educated youth can start counselling programs for supporting self-development theme among them by which they shall be able to share their concerns. They can provide also parents counselling to eliminate it. Large number of youth connects
Civil society can conduct workshops / awareness campaigns which can play a vital role to let them cognizant about rights. By knowing workplace harassment, physical and mental abuses, they will be able to identify the gangs or mafias, hire them for extreme level crime such as prostitutions because they are accessible target. Every child has right to access resources of education. Therefore, those children who are helping out families or their selves to earn livelihood must be encouraged to attend school. Flexible hours and days may prove to enroll large number of kids into schools. Special technical education assistance with proper toolkit should be provided. These trainees must be further funded for their personal startups.
Media is now the fourth pillar of the state of Pakistan. To rehabilitate them, it can enforce government and child protection organizations for implementation on legislations. Everyone should comply with the law and not incite anyone to break it. Approaching influential people for using their power to force industrialists to arrange special shelter, educational and health facilities mandatory for children. Youth has vast social activism through digital platforms. Through citizen’s journalism, social media platforms can monitor the issues of vulnerable or victim children to all levels of society to let them know what is child labor and how to mitigate?