Child labor won’t sound gibberish to you as you have been hearing and witnessing it every now and then. But what is child labor, actually? By definition, ‘Child Labor’ is the employment of underage children in any work that takes them away from childhood and their right to education. Profound research has proved child labor to be mentally, physically, socially and morally dangerous for kids.

Unfortunately in Pakistan, child labor is a common practice. There are nearly 20 million children indulged in child labor. These children are 5 to 14 years old, for the most part. The total population in this age group according to a survey by Pakistan bureau of statistics is about 40 to 41 million. This clearly draws a very gloomy picture that half of the children ageing 5 to 14 are a victim of child labor. These stats are very alarming for a nation who expects the future generations to be building blocks of an educated, stable and developed country. Almost all under-developed countries witness a high number of children being extorted by this moral and social evil.

The point to ponder is: Why these children are dragged into child labor? There are numerous answers to this very question but one generic answer prevails that is poverty due to economic instability and financial crisis. The parents are unable to afford education for their children. They also believe that education is a waste of time since they are also uneducated and their children should rather go work to support their families. This obviously creates a domino effect of illiteracy, child labor and poverty.

The article number 11 of constitution of Pakistan strictly prohibits the indulgence of children into labor. But unfortunately no concrete steps have been taken in this regards. The governments have seemed to stay blind folded on a very chronic issue of this kind.

Child labor is highly lethal for mental, physical and psychological growth of young children. It completely devastates their self-confidence, creativity and productivity, which is in turn a huge loss for the nation. Child labor completely takes one’s childhood away leaving them in a very confused and deprived state of mind. Child labor is not only scary for emotional development of children; there are plenty of other hazards attached to it. When children work as laborers they are exposed to accidents, child abuse, drugs and mental disorders.

As a developing society, we need to take strict actions to secure the childhood of our present and future generations. Pakistan is in sheer need of educated and revolutionary minds. How are we going to ensure the growth of a progressive society when we keep ruining the learning and development process of half of our children? Child labor needs to stop. Let them have the childhood they deserve.

Let’s correct our mistakes and pave the way for a healthy, educated, developed and happy Pakistan.
If we educate a child today, we will build a progressive generation tomorrow.

by Etrat Husyn & Umer Fiaz Abbasi

Photo Credits: Daniel Berehulak via gettyimages

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