Child labour occurs throughout the world, but is most common in developing countries including Pakistan. Pakistan’s labour laws state that anyone below the age of 18 years is considered a child and may not be allowed to work, unless it is a training program. However, these laws are not always followed, and often, even when the illegal employment is caught, definite action is not taken against it. The misemployment of these children is harmful to society because it does not allow them to acquire basic education, or skills to escape this horrible reality and eventually work someplace else. They are made to work inhumane working hours and are sometimes not even paid.
These children can also suffer from long term health issues and mental health issues due to lack of social interaction, and family support.
But probably worse than this abuse is the feeling that the society doesn’t care. The least we can do is to recognise this fact as a society. Let’s all play a part and call a spade a spade – and tell our friends, shopkeepers, family members to stop employing child labour. Maybe a school lunch program can be launched by the government on the same pattern as the Punjab government recently did for brick kiln workers children. This could ensure children are sent to schools to study and make their futures better and brighter, not mines to work inhumanly and injure themselves.
Pakistani society needs to work together to end child labour completely.