God has given human beings wisdom and discretion to think upon the signs of the universe and to draw conclusions. That is the reason why we have made remarkable progress in many aspects of life. As it is always said that children are the flowers of heaven. They are the most beautiful and purest creation of God. They are innocent both inwardly and outwardly. Early in the morning when the children put on different kinds of clothes and begin to go to schools for the sake of knowledge, we feel a specific kind of joy through their innocence.
But there also exist some children, who cannot go to schools due to financial problems, they only watch others go to schools and can merely wish to seek knowledge. It is due to many hindrances and difficulties; desperate conditions that they face in life. Having been forced to kill their desires, dreams and other wishes, they are pressed to earn a living for themselves and for their families.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child Labor as:
- When a child is working during early age.
- He overworks or gives over time to Labor.
- He works due to the psychologically, socially, and materialistic pressure.
- He becomes ready to Labor on a very low pay.
In Pakistan children aged 5-14 are above 40 million. During the last year, the Federal Bureau of Statistics released the results of its survey funded by ILO’s IPEC (International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor). The findings were that 3.8 million children age group of 5-14 years are working in Pakistan out of total 40 million children in this age group; fifty percent of these economically active children are in age group of 5 to 9 years. Even out of these 3.8 million economically active children, 2.7 million were claimed to be working in the agriculture sector. Two million and four hundred thousand (73%) of them were said to be boys. These are some categories in which children work in Pakistan:
- Work inside under ground mines over ground quarries, including blasting and assisting in blasting
- Work with power driven cutting machinery like saws, shears, and guillotines, ( Thrashers, fodder cutting machines, also marbles)
- Work with live electrical wires over 50V.
- All operation related to leather tanning process e.g. soaking, dehairing, liming chrome tanning, deliming, pickling defleshing, and ink application.
- Mixing or application or pesticides insecticide/fumigation.
- Sandblasting and other work involving exposure to free silica.
- Work with exposure to ALL toxic, explosive and carcinogenic chemicals e.g. asbestos, benzene, ammonia, chlorine, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, caustic soda, phosphorus, benzidene dyes, isocyanides, carbon tetrachloride, carbon disulphide, epoxy, resins, formaldehyde, metal fumes, heavy metals like nickel, mercury chromium, lead, arsenic, beryllium, fiber glass.
- Work with exposure to cement dust (cement industry).
- Work with exposure to coal dust.
- Manufacture and sale of fireworks explosives.
- Work at the sites where Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) are filled in cylinders.
- Work on glass and metal furnaces.
- Work in the clothe printing, dyeing and finishing sections.
- Work inside sewer pipelines, pits, storage tanks.
- Stone crushing.
- Lifting and carrying of heavy weight specially in transport industry ( 15b kg and above).
- Work between 10 pm to 8 am ( Hotel Industry).
- Carpet waving.
- Working 2 meter above the floor.
- All scavenging including hospital waste.
- Tobacco process ( including Niswar) and Manufacturing.
- Deep fishing ( commercial fishing/ sea food and fish processing.
- Sheep casing and wool industry.
- Ship breaking.
- Surgical instrument manufacturing specially in vendors workshop.
- Bangles glass, furnaces.
It is essential to eliminate child Labor from the country, that the political, economical and social system of the country are need to be reshaped and such steps taken that make child Labor in this country a crime. and as the present government of Pakistan has made elementary education compulsory. Along with this, the government has distributed free books in primary schools so that parents, who cannot afford their children’s school expenses, send their children to schools. The major point is that this decision must be acted upon at all levels. There is strict need to stop child Labor in this country. Awareness must be raised and the attention of parents ought to be diverted to the education of their children. Child Labor Laws should be put into practice strictly. In addition, the educational system of the country-must be reshaped and restructured according to national development goals. The orphans and other deserving children must be helped financially on a prolonged basis.