A Journey Of Discovery- Pakistan: Social Issues- Child Labour

Artist: Muhammad Arshad

A child brick maker. Artist: Muhammad Arshad

As with any adventure, in any country, there are ups and there are downs. There are people and moments/situations that can inspire and there are people and moments/situations that can depress/frustrate/anger. Although I try to keep most of my posts positive, I also wish to remain objective. One cannot spend a significant amount of time in Pakistan without encountering the wonderful hospitality of the people, the delicious foods and spectacular scenery; or conversely, the serious social issues such as the need for health and education reform and child/bonded labour, to name a few.

According to the United States Department of Labour, “In 2014, Pakistan made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour.” However, there are still too many school age children working in various sectors and the worst form- bonded labour. Statistics are unreliable, but the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) last year estimated the number of Pakistani working children to be “realistically in the region of 11-12 million.” At least half these children are under the age of ten. Despite a recent series of laws prohibiting child labor and indentured servitude, children make up a quarter of the unskilled work force, and can be found in virtually every factory, every workshop, every field. According to UNESCO, an estimated 13% of children between the ages of 10-14 reported are working; and 1.6% of children of the same age combine work and school.
Source: DOL.gov, and data from UNESCO, 2012.

While Pakistan is making efforts to eliminate child labor, there is always room for improvement.

The inserted images are sketches of actual child laborers.

 Artist: Muhammad Arshad

A child laborer. Artist: Muhammad Arshad