Child labour is the employment of children for work which results in harm to the child’s well being.
Constitution of Pakistan
- Article 3 abolishes all types of exploitation and ensure gradual fulfilment of the fundamental principle.
- Article 11(3) states that children below 14 should not be employed in a factory or any such hazardous setting.
- Article 37 (e) states that just and humane conditions of work for all are to be ensured so that they are not employed in vocations that are unsuited to them.
- Convention on the Rights of the Child 1990
- ILO Minimum Age Convention 1973 (No 138) C 138
- ILO Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention 1999 (No 182)
Loopholes in legislation
Although there is legislation on child labour and penalties are mentioned in the law but there is no implementation of laws, there is no reported case on child labour. In Punjab, there is no active platform where child right violations linked with child labour can be monitored and addressed. Also, this law at hand lacks the proper method or procedure to file a suit against employers who violate children’s rights and involve them in hazardous activities.
A strong legal framework against child labour and for the protection of our coming/next generation is crucial for the progress of the country. There is a dire need to reform and amend this piece of legislation to curb the menace of child labour in Pakistan.
In order to strengthen the practical enforcement of labour laws to prohibit child labour, the government should consider:
- to add proper complaint procedure for child labour in Punjab Restriction on the Employment of Children Act 2016.
- to strengthen law enforcement and establish systematic labour inspection;
- advocating for policy and legislative reform around child labour issues can be done effectively through capacity-building workshops for politicians, civil servants, and other local authorities.
- Media, both print and social, should be used to promote awareness about child labour. There is a need to increase legal awareness of the labour legislation for employers, workers, parents and children. It is important to discourage people to employ children in homes, shops, factories, etc
- A toll-free 24-hour telephone helpline for victims of child labour should be introduced in different cities of the country.
- A fully computerized online functional reporting mechanism shall be put in place so that all child labour reports are received online through an efficient and transparent process;
- Labour courts should work efficiently. The government should set up more labour courts to provide cheap and speedy justice to child labourers. The courts should be aimed to deal with children cases. Courts should allow better access to justice to children who could submit their accusations directly before the judicial authorities.
- Involve other partners such as community groups and NGOs for monitoring and reporting cases of violations.
The available helpline is 1121 for Child Protection & Welfare Bureau