Leaders must assure that the children of their country are developing in a productive and healthy environment if they are to secure the future of their country. Children are more vulnerable to poor living conditions such as poverty, unhygienic food and water, inadequate healthcare, and environmental pollution. The impact of poverty, malnutrition, and disease threatens the future of children and ultimately the future of the society they live in.
In many parts of the developing world, children are driven into child labour. In Pakistan, approximately 3.3 million children are trapped in this vicious cycle, which continues on for generations. Moreover, child labour can cause significant mental and physical damage to children with long lasting effects. Most children work in harsh conditions, which undermines their rights and makes them vulnerable to sexual exploitation as well. Consequently, they often fall into depression or resort to drugs and alcohol. Lack of education and awareness coupled with abuse hampers their natural psychological development. Child labour also adversely impacts the country, as it leads to an increase in crime rate and rise in poverty. It puts a strain on the government’s resources and reduces tax and economic returns.
Instead of focusing on grassroot techniques to eliminate child labour, the government should focus on educational reforms as well as try different medical and sociological approaches to treat affected children. Poverty and child labour are not mutually exclusive. Strict action must be taken against this crude practice.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2021.