Child Labour in Pakistan

Topics: Child labour, Pakistan, Education Pages: 20 (5737 words) Published: April 3, 2011
Child labour situation
The National Child Labour survey,1 conducted in 1996 by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, found 3.3 million of the 40 million children (in the 5-14 years age group) to be economically active2 on a full-time basis. Of the 3.3 million working children, 73 per cent (2.4 million) were boys and 27 per cent (0.9 million), girls. Children's contribution to work in rural areas is about eight times greater than in urban areas. The number of economically active children in the 10-14 years age group is more than four times the children in the 5-9 years age group. Rural children are mostly engaged in the agricultural sector (74 per cent), whereas in urban areas, most working children (31 per cent) are engaged in the manufacturing sector. In both areas, the percentage of girls working in manufacturing and services is higher than that of boys; this indicates that girls are more likely to work in the manufacturing and services sectors as compared to boys. It is also observed

1 See summary results of the Child Labour Survey in Pakistan (1996): pakistan/report/pakistan96.pdf. Survey undertaken with the support of the ILO. 2 Economic activity includes both paid and unpaid, casual and illegal work, as well as work in the informal sector, but excludes unpaid domestic services within own household.

International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour


that in the non-agricultural sectors, most of the working children (93 per cent) are engaged in informal activities. A considerable proportion of the working children in the 5-14 years age group (46 per cent) are working more than the normal working hours, i.e. 35 hours per week, with 13 per cent working 56 hours or more per week. In urban areas, 73 per cent of the working children work more than the normal working hours, which is significantly higher than in rural areas (42 per cent). This shows that working conditions are generally worse in urban areas. According to survey findings, the major factors responsible for child labour were: G G

Large population with high population growth rate; Almost three-fourths (70 per cent) of the total population living in rural areas, with subsistence agricultural activities; Low productivity and prevalence of poverty; Unpaid family helpers, especially in agricultural activities; Discriminating social attitude towards girls and women; Inadequate educational facilities.


Working children come from large families in the low-income bracket. The average household size of working children was found to be eight members, which is higher than the national average. A higher proportion of economically active girls falls under households with nine plus members. The survey indicates that the most cogent reasons given by parents/guardians for letting their child work are to assist in house enterprise (69 per cent), and to supplement the household income (28 per cent). The former is pronounced in rural households, whereas the latter is more significant in urban families. One-third of the working children are literate, which shows that mere completion of primary education is not an effective deterrent to child labour. School enrolment indicates that economically active children who are not enrolled in school (34.2 per cent) are higher than economically active children combined with school (13.2 per cent). This shows that enrolment is negatively correlated with the involvement of children in economic activity. Education attainment is low because of limited opportunities resulting from inaccessibility of schools; inability of parents to afford schooling costs; irrelevance of school curriculum to real needs, and restrictions on girls' mobility in certain parts of the country.

National legislation and policies against child labour
Article 11 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan forbids slavery and states that no law shall permit or facilitate its...
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