Child Labour Indeed a Curse


According to a new report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF, the number of children in child labour has increased to 160 million globally, an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years  with millions more at risk due to the effects of COVID-19. The report also warned that development to end child labour has been stalled for the first time in 20 years, retreating the preceding downward trend that saw child labour reduction by 94 million between 2000 and 2016. It also highlighted that noteworthy increase in the number of children aged 5 to 11 years in child labour, who now account for just over half of the total international figure. The number of children aged 5 to 17 years in risky work, which is defined as work that is expected to harm their health, protection or morals has also mounted by 6.5 million to 79 million since 2016. ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said, “The new estimates are a wake-up call. We cannot stand by while a new generation of children is put at risk”. He further has given a framework to emulate in order to curb child labour.

He said, “Inclusive social protection allows families to keep their children in school even in the face of economic hardship. Increased investment in rural development and decent work in agriculture is essential. We are at a pivotal moment and much depends on how we respond. This is a time for renewed commitment and energy, to turn the corner and break the cycle of poverty and child labour.” In 2019, Pakistan made a reasonable advancement in efforts to eradicate the worst forms of child labor. Punjab Province adopted the Punjab Domestic Workers Act of 2019, which prohibits children under age 15 from working in any domestic service capacity. The National Assembly of Pakistan also approved the Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Employment of Children Act. In addition, the Islamabad Capital Territory established its Child Protection Advisory Board, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provincial labor departments reserved precise funds from their budgets to conduct child labor surveys.

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