POST TIME: 14 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Child labour

Child labour

Child labour is an issue that is as old as it is endemic, and while there are laws banning the practice, they have proved difficult to fully enforce. The International Day Against Child Labour was observed in Bangladesh just a couple of days back on June 12. As usual most of the action was limited to speakers uttering inane platitudes in their speeches in various seminars and meetings. Child labour is a severe form of social injustice, which our younger citizens have to suffer. We can see children of all ages begging on the streets, sweeping roads, cleaning cars at traffic signals, etc.

The question of child labour in the country has been debated again and again. But there is really no debate about it; children should be at school and other means need to be found to help families who depend on their earnings to survive to manage. We simply cannot justify the fact that millions of children in the country are even now out of school and even more unfortunately most of them are part of the labour force. And as is well known, a child employed is a life destroyed.

We need to ensure that the lives of so many children in our country are not destroyed. Too many children are denied opportunity because they must go out to work. Domestic’s child labour is also a very serious issue that is hidden away and not regulated by the government. There have also been findings that the poor state of public sector schools and the refusal of children to attend them results in parents instead sending them out to work in the hope that they will learn a trade. This cycle of evil needs to be addressed collectively and everything possible done to protect children, a large number of whom are employed in hazardous professions in spite of the fact that Bangladesh is a signatory to international conventions against such practices.

There is a need to eradicate the confusion that exists over child labour. Perhaps, speaking of the immediate, the unwelcome phenomenon is inevitable. But at the very least we can adopt measures to protect children in their workplaces.

Child labour is a complex problem, which demands a range of solutions. There is no better way to prevent it than to make education compulsory. We have to respect their rights by looking after their welfare and supporting them to make their lives better, so they can turn into prosperous and responsible individuals for our country.