Get rid of child labour menace

DESPITE presence of several laws prohibiting child labour and signatory to relevant international conventions, it is unfortunate that this social curse remains one of the major problems afflicting the country and its children, in millions, aged between four and fourteen continue to keep the country’s factories and brick kilns operating in rather squalid and harsh conditions, warranting immediate and practical steps to rid the little souls of this menace.
In fact children are the most deprived segments of the society and responsibility rests with both the society and the government to create such a congenial and conducive environment for them so that they could carve out a better and bright future for themselves and the country. It is, however, a pity that due to the criminal negligence of the successive governments, our children do not have access to proper education and the fact is that still millions of children in the country have never seen the doors of educational institutions while the drop-out rate at the primary and matriculation levels is also very high. Extreme poverty is the main reason behind this whole fiasco faced by the children, under which they are compelled to engage in some domestic work or work at factories or brick kilns to become the bread earners for their families. We, however, will appreciate the Punjab government for coming up with a number of programmes and projects to save the children from the clutches of bonded and forced labour – the modern day slavery. Apart from giving stipend to the poor families sending their children to schools, Shahbaz Sharif’s avowal to give books and pens instead of bricks in the hands of innocent children, is a step in the right direction and we hope that he will continue his endeavours in this regard. As there is no exact figure on the number of children involved in forced and bonded labour, we will suggest the Provincial governments to conduct a child labour survey to formulate sustainable policies to address the menace.

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