The Suitability of Child Labour in Pakistan
Child labour is an issue that has been in debate for very long, however despite several debates and implementation of child labour elimination laws, it has not been completely eliminated and has formally or informally existed in one or the other form. The term “child labor” has many definitions that vary between institutions, however,the International Labour Organization, or the ILO, defines child labor as “some types of work” done by children under the age of 18 ("The Story of Child Labour"). Child labour is found in various jobs and according to a report published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in June 2008 these jobs include domestic, agricultural and industrial work, as well as works in mines and quarries, etc.As estimated by the International Labour Organization (ILO) the total number of child labourers employed in the world totaled 215 million in 2008 with Asia constituting for approximately a hundred and fourteen million (53%) children employed ("New ILO global report on child labour: As efforts to end child labour slow, ILO calls for “re-energized” global action").Child labour is regarded as a problem that exists mainly in the developing nations because of the increased participation of children in employment.Pakistan is also one of the child labour problems stricken developing countries and it included an estimate of eleven million working childrenwhen last reported by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan ("Child Labour in Pakistan").Although various laws against child labour such as “The Bonded Labour System of Abolition Act”, “The Punjab Compulsory Education Act”, “The Employment of Children Act”, “The Factories Act”, etc. have been passed, yet even currently a large number of children are employed in the agricultural, industrial and service sectors in Pakistan.
Child labour is one of the many problems that have surrounded Pakistan.It exists due to a number of reasonswith the current socio-economic crisis in the country being the most dominant reason among all. Now, in order to be able to analyze and comment on the situation of child Labour in Pakistan, one must first have a brief insight into the current social and economic conditions of the country. To start with, Pakistan exhibits a huge rate of population growth and has already moved from being the thirteenth largest country in 1950 to being the sixth largest in 2011 in terms of population according to the World Bank estimates. Furthermore, the World Bank has estimated that at the same population growth rate Pakistan would become the fifth largest by 2050. Added to this, there is a huge rural to urban migration that leads to overcrowding in the urban areas. Pakistan Economic Survey 2010-2011 provided an estimate that two million people migrated from rural to urban areas. Moreover, Unemployment increased from 5.6 percent to 6.0 percent in the year 2010-2011 and Inflation, that is the measure of a sustained rise in the prices, was 13.8 percent according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.The poverty rates were estimated to be in the range of 37.5 percent according to Pakistan Planning Commission’s panel of Economists(Haider). The World Bank defines poverty as any person living on less than $1.25 per day that is Rs.120 per day approximately and turns to be about Rs.3500 per month in Pakistan with respect to the exchange rates (Tirmizi). Although there are strong reasons why child labour must be prohibited and discouraged, however, given the current socio economic conditions in Pakistan child Labour must be allowed in Pakistan because the child could act as a helping hand for the financially disadvantaged families, the child asa labour may become trained into a skilled professional and moreover he would add to the working population decreasing the dependency ratio.
However, one of the most valid reasons for the prohibition of child labour is that children going to work are unable to acquire...
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