Joined: 02 December 2004
Each and every child that is born brings a God's message that the Creator is not disappointed with his creation. Nevertheless the rough reality of the world has not even spared the child from its cruelty.
On November 20, 1989 United Nation's General Assembly signed a convention called "Convention on the Rights of the Child". Almost 192 countries including Pakistan became part of the convention; it was the first resolution and most agreeable universal convention that gave recognition to the social, political, economic, and other rights of children. In this convention the child is referred to up to 18 years of age; however, countries can restrict their own age levels in their regions.
In today's world when a lot of importance is being given to human rights, children still suffer due to bonded labour, illegal trafficking, transplantation of organs, drug addiction children living in war zones, and other juvenile delinquents, etc.
The common problems that children face in our country are child labour, child sexual abuse, child trafficking, domestic violence, etc.; a large number of children between 5-18 of age are deprived of education.
Child labour — most offensive occupation
Regularly rising expenditure and low standard of living has made it necessary for every member of the family including children to earn a living for themselves. At the age when children are supposed to study and play, children belonging to poor classes are forced to take their family's burden on their own shoulders. Poor financial conditions and large families make it very difficult for a single bread earner to provide for the needs of the family.
Regionally Asian, African, and Latin American countries are severely hit by the menace of child labour. In these countries not only the children are made to toil from morn till night but they are also exposed to exploitation and abuse. Child labour is a deep rooted problem of the underdeveloped world.
Fields that mostly involve child labour
Children are usually involved in brick making, carpet weaving, working in car garages, road side hotels; girls are usually engaged in domestic and other household services. In rural areas children are involved in agricultural activities. The worst form of labour includes garbage picking and begging.
Children are also seen working in chemical factories and with heavy mechanical tools; such occupational environments are greatly hazardous to their lives.
Factors that compel children to work
— Higher rate of population growth.
— Children hailing from very poor family backgrounds and orphans fall easy prey to this menace. In most cases these children are the sole bread earners of their family.
— Children who do not go to school are usually sent for manual labour.
— Countries that are economically unstable also are prone to child labour.
— In some cases children are given for work to repay loan; they continue to provide services until the payment is complete.
Problems faced by child labourers
— Long hours of rough work and low wages in return.
— Inhuman treatment of children.
— No exact work limit is fixed in some places.
— Poor working conditions and no social security and minimum wages in return of services.
Children around the globe are facing different kind of problems; not only are they forced into worst forms of child labour they are also victimized through illegal trafficking.
Children from under developed countries are smuggled to other countries for the purpose of slavery and for other illegal activities, for instance children from Pakistan are smuggled to Middle Eastern countries to become camel jockeys.
Everyone knows that trafficking is a crime but one can do very little when the child's family supports this activity. This happens due to the adverse conditions that most people face due to poverty. Children are also kidnapped for this purpose.
Regions where child labour and trafficking exists widely are the underdeveloped nations; however, sometimes developed nations are also trapped in this quagmire.
Combating child labour and trafficking
The following measures if taken could help in giving children their rights and controlling child labour.
* Control on population will help rapid decline in child labour.
* Strict laws should be enforced to stop employers from employing underage labour.
* Government should take initiatives through its labour ministry to address this issue because the child labour force is the main contributing force of economy and also generates a lot of income.
* Trade unions are also required to play an important role in eradication of child labour. The government should provide legislation with regard to child labour and child trafficking. Legal help is required to implement strict laws to help solve the problem.
* Awareness about human smuggling should be provided so that people stop sending their children to other countries with unknown people.
* Better and stable economic condition of the society will help combat this menace where every adult will have ample employment opportunity and will have the ability to run the domestic expenditure without any problems so that the rights of the child are well protected.
The world community has to accept that this menace is increasing at an alarming rate to a great degree. To deal with the turmoil of child labour remedial measures are also obligatory from all of us. It is also the responsibility of all the common people to say no to child labour.
Due to the role of governmental and non governmental organizations campaigns in some ways have relatively decreased the use of child labour. This is specially seen in the carpet industry. Here the percentage of employing children has declined, NGO's and labour organizations are struggling to combat child labour elsewhere.
Increase in the demand of professional and skilled labour has also decreased child labour from most of the fields because children are not skilled enough.
Children are a source of joy. Let us spread the smile on their faces and preserve their innocence in their eyes. Let's do all that we can to give them a good life today. In the words of Stacia Tauscher: "We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today."
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