June 12, 2023

By Maryam Missal


The Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB) organised an awareness walk against violence against children in Lahore today (Monday). CPWB Chairperson Sarah Ahmed alongside Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Jameel, as well as Justice (Retd) Nasira Iqbal and others participated in the awareness walk.

World Day Against Child Labour is observed on June 12 of every year. This year’s theme is ‘Social Justice for All. End Child Labour!’

According to research conducted by International Labour Organisation (ILO), an estimated 4.4 million girls and 2.8 million boys are involved in domestic work globally.

Pakistan’s only Child Labour Survey was conducted more than two decades ago, in 1996. The survey revealed that approximately 3.3 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 years were engaged in labour. Of these children, 73 percent were boys, and of these, 71 percent were engaged in unskilled work.

Khalid Mehmood, labour rights activist and Director of the Labour Education Foundation (LEF), held the government accountable for worrying statistics for child labour.

He explained that increasing inflation is the primary cause for child labour in Pakistan, where financial vulnerability leads families to force their children to work. Mehmood further told Voicepk.net that the ratio of government primary schools and the population in Lahore is extremely skewed.

“Parents who wish to educate their children are deprived of the opportunity to do so due to the unavailability of educational facilities,”

he said.

Article 11 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan sets the minimum age of labour to be 14 years, while the Punjab Restriction on Employment of Children Act 2016 sets the minimum age at 15 years. Furthermore, the Act states that an occupier (defined as any individual who, directly or directly, employs a worker in an establishment) cannot employ or permit a child to work in the establishment, and cannot employ or permit an adolescent (defined as an individual who has attained the age of 15 but is younger than 18 years of age) in hazardous work in the establishment.

The Punjab Domestic Workers Act 2019, which pertains to the prohibition of employment, states that no child under the age of 15 years shall be allowed to work in a household in any capacity. It further provides that no domestic worker under the age of 18 years shall be engaged in domestic work except involving light work in a household.

In recent days, a 12-year-old girl employed as a domestic worker escaped from her employer’s home in Lahore’s Daroghawala area after suffering mental abuse. Earlier in 2020, Zohra Shah’s murder at the hands of her employers for accidentally setting free their prized parrots free and the brutal torture of Tayyaba by a Pakistani judge and his wife prompted widespread concerns for laws addressing the labour exploitation of minors.

In July 2021, the Senate introduced the Islamabad Capital Territory Domestic Workers Bill 2021, which prohibits the employment of anyone under the age of 18 in the household in any capacity. However, it is still pending passage.


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