Children are the jewel and an asset of any nation. Therefore, children’s upbringing and wellbeing must be prioritised. They should be drawn towards education and recreational activities so that they can contribute to society and economy later. Unfortunately, at present many children in Pakistan are forced into labour and other nefarious acts because of abject poverty, the existence of criminal mafias, and an absence of law and punishments. Child labour is dramatically aggravating and poses a grave threat to the prosperity and progress of the country.
Heightening poverty is the main reason for the increased number of children in labour. With the rising levels of inflation, the poor can no longer meet their basic needs even if all family members work. Most children either do not go to school at all or are taken out of school and sent to work. Earnings from child labour may provide some relief to the families in the short term, however, in the long term, this will be detrimental to both the child and the society at large. Children without education have poor prospects because of which they end up in either low-paying jobs for the rest of their lives or in criminal activities. A large uneducated workforce will also put a strain on the economy. Fewer individuals will end up in professional jobs reducing economic productivity and growth. In addition, the high crime rate, illiteracy, and poverty will be a further challenge as the government will be required to attribute more resources to addressing these issues.
Recent statistics have revealed that child labour is increasing at an alarming rate. The surge will spiral out of control and pose serious challenges for the country. I request the relevant authorities to take swift measures to address and alleviate this menace at their earliest.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2021.