ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is celebrating June 12 as ‘World Day against Child Labour’, along with the rest of the world. International Labour Organisation has set the theme of this year’s day as “Go for the goal-End child labour”. They aim to eliminate child labour all over the world by 2016.
There has not been a National Child Labour Survey since 1996. The survey scheduled in 2002-03 was never carried out. The next survey will be done in 2013, said Iftikhar Javed senior research office at the Ministry of Labour and Manpower on Friday. He estimates that there are about 3.6 million children currently working in Pakistan.
The 1996 survey found that 3.3 million of the 40 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 in Pakistan were “economically active on a full-time basis”. About 73 per cent (2.4 million) of these were boys and 27 per cent (0.9 million) were girls. Children in rural areas were contributing eight times greater than the children in urban areas, the survey added.
Moreover more than one-third of the working children were found to be literate, indicating that primary education was not an effective deterrent to child labour.
Kashif Mirza, spokesperson for the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) said the lack of statistical data on child labourers was hampering them in doing their work. “The lack of statistical data on child labour makes it difficult to study the trend of child labour in the country and to plan a strategy to overcome it,” he said.
Legally, no child under the age of 14 is allowed to work under any circumstances. The common domestic hiring of children in urban areas is illegal.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 12th, 2010.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 12, 2010
Due to a transcription error, an earlier version of this article was headlined “World Day against Child Labour Day” which has now been corrected.