Child Labour In Pakistan

The industrial revolution, which started at the end of eighteenth century, eventually gave birth to a new economic system that rapidly increased the demand for cheap labor that will make the cost of end product significantly low. The need for cheaper labor cost grew with increasing industrial competition and this in turn gave birth to child labor. Children were often employed as workers in factories and mines often working in fatal conditions [1].

In 19th century laws banning child labor were passed in UK that prevented employment of children under the age of nine and limited working hours of children aged nine to fourteen [2] .The minimum working age of children was raised to twelve in 1901 and since then numerous laws have been passed in many countries against child labor .

The children of the poor families in developing countries like Pakistan are still expected to help their parents financially by working and contributing to family income [3]. It is the work that deprives these children of their childhood and the opportunities for schooling or forces them to bear multiple burdens of schooling and financially supporting their families.

Child Labour In Pakistan

Following the standards of international communities, Pakistan has passed numerous laws banning child labor and exploitation of labor but these laws are ignored on a large scale and little is being done towards implementation of these policies. Even today children constitute about a quarter of country’s unskilled labor and can be found in numerous factories, fields and every workshop. [4]

A study conducted by International Labor organization (ILO) concluded that the overall number of child labor has declined internationally from 200 million in 2000 to 168 million in 2014. However, Pakistan is ranked third according to The Global Slavery Index of 2013 with an estimated 12.5 million children involved in child labor . Government hasn’t conducted any survey for child labor since 1996.

References :

  1. Nardinelli, C. (1990). Child labor and the Industrial Revolution(p. 155266). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  2. Basu, Kaushik. “Child labor: cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on international labor standards.” Journal of Economic literature 37.3 (1999): 1083-1119.
  3. Haspels, N. (2000). Action against child labour. International Labour Organization.
  4. Toor, S. (2001). Child labor in Pakistan: coming of age in the new world order. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 575(1), 194-224.