Stop Child Labor: Here Is How

Child labor remains a concerning issue for Pakistan despite various systematic legislative and policy measures. Children engaged in labor are prone to abuse and exploitation at the expense of education, health, and development. The available child labor laws in Pakistan are hardly addressing the issue of child labor; however, cases reported of child domestic labor question the existing legislation. This article will highlight actionable strategic points to stop child labor in Pakistan. 

Implementing a ban on the recruitment of children the employment at a certain age

The laws related to child labor clearly banned the recruitment of children or adolescents up to a certain age (in most cases, it is 14 years). However, implementing these provisions of the laws takes a lot of work. The Labor departments are mandated to monitor the working of establishments (factories, industries, etc.). If these mandated bodies take the responsibility to perform their duty efficiently, stopping child labor will be achievable. 

Relocation of children engaged in hazardous work 

The available statistics highlighted that a significant portion of children in Pakistan are indulged in laborious work. One of the major contributors to child labor is poverty. The journey of “Stop Child Labor” should include relocating those children to a suitable environment. Such an atmosphere where they can enjoy their fundamental rights and sustain the livelihood of their families. 

Reduction of working hours for children under the minimum age

The legislative framework offers an overarching mechanism for the length of working hours for child workers. It is also the responsibility of the employer to take care of its child workers in terms of ensuring their right to education. They can reduce their working hours if they feel that their schooling is affected by this. 

Adoption of a responsive safety and Health management system 

We can only find safety and health management protocols for some well-established brands. The working conditions for workers are a fundamental principle in the quest for labor protection. The existing management system at the governmental level needs to be updated or followed. An integrated Safety and Health Management System is required to stop child labor. 

Development of code of labor practice to stop child labor

The Standing Operating Procedures for labor practice are a proactive step toward maintaining a conducive environment. Such guidelines are the blueprint for setting up minimum care standards for both employer and worker to work in harmonization. The adaptability of SOPs is at a slow pace, which requires immediate attention. 

Counselling services to child laborers 

Traditional methods to stop child labor are not practicable. Non-conventional ways include:

  • Providing transitional schools for children who have fallen behind.
  • Offering vocational training programs for adolescents.
  • Organizing credit and other income-generating activities for parents and family members of legal working age level.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I contribute to eradicating child labor?

It would help if you educate yourself about the menace of child labor at first. Then, you can start from your house, neighbor hood, or office in your capacity. 

What are the long-term effects of child labor?

Child labor has various long-term effects. Firstly, it compromises the well-being of a child and can have adverse effects in adulthood. Secondly, it also exacerbates the number of out-of-school children in the country, thus getting into the unending loop. Thirdly and lastly, the economic growth of Pakistan is dependent on its adherence to higher standards of labor protocols in Pakistan, particularly after the adoption of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).  

Are there success stories in eliminating child labor?

There are many success stories in reducing child labor globally. The International Labor Organization’s flagship program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) made a significant contribution. Brazil, through its child labor eradication program, helps families via financial support to break the cycle of poverty. Peru and Ethiopia have also made significant strides in eradicating child labor through community-based approaches.   

How does child labor affect a country’s economic growth?

The effects of child labor on health, education, and socio-economic status can make the workforce less competitive, impeding the country’s long-term economic growth.   

What international laws address child labor?

International Labor Organization’s Conventions 138, 6, 15, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) are leading international laws to stop child labor. 

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