Child labor stands for employment of children that is internationally declared as mental, physical, moral and social harm to children. According to the report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), around 25 million children are working in the country. The last report on estimated figures was published during 1990s showing 11 million working children. Most of the children are under the age of ten and mostly are from age group of seven to eight.
Last report that was published in 2012 by HRCP revealed that 96% of working boys are employed in retail and wholesale industry. If talk about girls, 48% are employed in service industry and 52 are in manufacturing. Child labour rate in Multan is high than any other city of Pakistan because Multan is considered as the hub for productions of export goods.
Throwing light over the growing issue of child labour in Pakistan, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) poverty is the major cause of child labour in Pakistan. Per capita income in the country is very low enforcing the child to work to lift up the burden of life. Average Pakistani has to support nine to ten people with daily earning.
Why Manufactures Employed Child?
The reason behind this is simple. As the child worker results in low wage cost that helps the manufacturers to compete in international market by providing goods at low rate as compare to those countries where child labour is very low or totally prohibited. According to the report of U.S Department of Labor over the List of List of Goods Produced by Forced Labor or Child Labor, “Six goods out of nine are produced by child laborers in Pakistan. These goods include the making of bricks, carpets, glass bangles, coal mining, leather and surgical instrument.”
What government is doing?
For any evil, it is very difficult to totally remove it at initial stage as people are extremely addictive to it. Government is taking steps to gradually decrease the level of child labour in the country. For prohibitions of child labour or regulating and improving the working conditions various important child labour laws have been introduced. These law are:
- The Factories Act 1934
- The West Pakistan Shops and Establishments Ordinance 1969
- The Employment of Children Act 1991
- The Bonded Labour System Abolition Act 1992
- The Punjab Compulsory Education Act 1994