Innocent Lives In The Clutches Of Child Labour

Innocent Lives In The Clutches Of Child Labour

Child labour has been the burning issue of the Pakistan since ever, but the mistreatment and exploitation of children makes it more worst, who are urged to work to put food on the table for their family. The State is obliged to ensure the basic fundamental rights of its citizens, has failed in ensuring their due rights given by the constitution. Rulers who make tall claims of ending human rights violations could not put an end to the cases where children are being trapped and exploited by the people which hired them for work.

Pakistan's Constitution Article 11(3) states that, "No child below the age of 14 years shall be engaged in any factory or mine or any other hazardous employment." Recently, a girl aged 14 years, who is forced to work as a domestic help in Islamabad's civil judge home, subjected to severe torture by judge's wife. The judge is trying to escape from the case by considering the girl for all the mess. The parents who sent their daughter for work are now involved in blaming games.

Assurances after assurances, promises after promises, commissions after commissions, state & governments despite having several laws that declare child labour illegal, have failed to curtail the incidents of child exploitation and give them protection.

Article 25 (A) of the Constitution states that "The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as determined by law". Despite having laws that prohibited hiring children for work by depriving them of their basic rights, authorities have failed to take serious action against those who hired children aged less than 14. Governments have failed in curtailing  the menace of child labour and that demonstrates the callousness of state.

Children have been made hostage by the state's ineptness and are stuck in the vicious cycle of child labour. Child labour takes away the childhood from the children, but state waits every time for incidents to happens to take actions. If child labour is prohibited in constitution and governments by the time have been passing laws then why tens of thousands of children are so vulnerable to being trapped in child labour. It seems that the government has been defecting from the constitution by not enforcing what was mentioned in it. Why does the government not take action against those who hire children, aged less than 14?

Not only is the state answerable for not enforcing law and protecting children, but the people who hire them and parents of those abused children are equally involved in violating child labour laws. Parents take away their childrens' lives when they go to the places where they work as a house help at the age when they should be at school.

In our society people try to justify the crime of parents who sent their children to work and left them at the mercy of people like Judge Asim's wife, by saying that the poverty triggers the parents to send their child to earn to make both ends meet.

If the parents are not able to afford children, then why are their children made to pay for them? Instead they are punished for not being born in privileged households causing them to be deprived of a good lifestyle, quality education and  basic fundamental rights. Why are children forced to work in the scorching heat to be able to fulfil their parents' needs? If  parents who do not have enough resources to meet their own needs need to understand the risks of bringing a child into the world.

This is where states who are not capable of owning their citizens and ensuring their basic rights, need to come in and ensure that family planning is implemented to ensure that couples educate the couples to not make someone's life difficult by bringing them into the world if they don't have enough resources to give their offspring a healthy lifestyle.