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Karachi

October 1, 2016

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15mn out-of-school children earning for their families, seminar told

15mn out-of-school children earning for their families, seminar told

Experts say well-designed social protection policies sensitive to children’s

needs are needed to eradicate child labour from Pakistan 

In Pakistan, 25 million children are not going to school, and of them 15 million are earning for their families through various forms of labour work, a seminar was told on Friday. 

The seminar, titled “A Child Employed is a Future Destroyed”, was jointly organised at a hotel by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), the Sindh chapter of Child Rights Movement (CRM), a network of around 60 child rights organisations in Sindh, and the Sindh labour department.

Well-designed social protection policies, sensitive to children’s needs, were needed in Pakistan to eradicate child labour, speakers said.

According to the executive director of SPARC, Sadia Hussain, Pakistan faces the worst form of child labour where workers are subjected to physical and mental torture. 

She said that there should be zero tolerance for forced child labour and insisted on creating a national policy against it. She added that a child labor rehabilitation fund needed to be reallocated and child labor rehabilitations centers at the district level should be established.

She further said that the Employment of Children Act 1991 was abolished after the passage of the 18th constitutional amendment. She asked the Sindh labour department to draw up the draft of the Employment of Children Bill Sindh. 

Hussain noted with concern that it had been 20 years since Pakistan conducted a child labour survey and none of the provinces were interested in conducting a fresh survey on the issue. 

The chief guest on the occasion, Labour Secretary Abdul Rasheed Solangi agreed to the observations shared by Hussain. He said the labour department was preparing a strategy to conduct a child labour survey.

The government was taking keen interest to activate the already existing vigilance committees on child labor at the district level, he said and appreciated the efforts of SPARC and CRM Sindh to address child labour.

The panel discussion on various child labour issues was addressed by Advocate  Anees Jillani, Advocate Zia Ahmed Awan, Shamim Kazmi, Dr Syeda Quratulain and Dr Farah of the Department Psychology ,University of Karachi.

A theatre performance was performed by a group of children. The seminar was attended by more than 200 delegates from the departments of labour and social welfare as well as civil Society. 

Speakers demanded compulsory formal education, implementation of child labour laws and a strong social debate to eliminate child labour from Pakistan.

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