Children are the most innocent and beautiful creatures in the world. They are not meant to work hard, but rather to play and find joy. However, in today’s society, children are often the most disadvantaged group. They are forced to do work that harms their mental and physical health. According to Article 11 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, labor performed by children under the age of 14 is considered child labor. The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child labor as work that impacts a child’s educational, intellectual, psychological, and emotional development. This means that child labor deprives a child of their childhood and innocence, as well as opportunities provided by the state. It is alarming that, according to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), one in ten children globally are trapped in child labor. In Pakistan, many children work in industries, hospitals, shops, and restaurants.
Poverty and unemployment are major causes of child labor in Pakistan. In many families, there is only one breadwinner supporting a household of more than ten people. Child trafficking is also a major cause of child labor, where traffickers exploit children’s organs and force them to work. Illiteracy also leads to child labor, as parents who are illiterate may not be aware of child rights and may force their children to work at a young age.
To address this issue, the government must take effective steps such as providing employment opportunities for adults and raising social awareness about child rights. Only then can we hope to overcome this grave issue.