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Karachi – 12 June 2021: The society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized a consultation to create awareness on World Day Against Child Labour at a local hotel on Saturday. The participants, which also included especially child laborers, urged the provincial government to take meaningful steps to abolish any form of child labor in Sindh, classifying child labor as a form of modern-day slavery.
Chief Guest, Ms. Shamim Mumtaz, Chairperson of, Sindh Child Protection Authority said Child Labour is one of the major issues related to child protection not only in Pakistan but every under developing countries. She added Pakistan is a signatory of various UN and ILO conventions in regards to eliminating child labor, forced labor, slavery, and external trafficking in documents although a lot of administrative measures are still required to completely eradicate this evil practice. Sindh Child Protection Authority is extending its role to eliminate child labor not only in Urban but from ruler areas, the Child Protection helpline is active so if any case comes across related to child labor complaints may register there and it will be responded to accordingly.
Mr. Kashif Bajeer, Coordinator Child Rights Movement Sindh, CRM is the Network of above 40 child rights-based organizations in Sindh and 300 at a national level. In Sindh, the network is managed by SPARC with the support of Save the Children.
Mr. Abdul Rasheed Solangi Secretary Labour Department told that in coordination with sectoral experts, the department is developing sustainable policy to eradicate child labor. Mr. Bux Ali Meher, Director General at Labour department also stated that we are in the processing of compiling data and other statistics in regards to Child Labour, we also encourage civil societies organization for their support for providing technical assistance
Mr. Karamat Ali, Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), said despite legislation, child labor has increased in the province due to the weak and conflicting nature of the available laws and policies. He mentioned without a uniform age for ‘definition of the child’ in all the laws, child labor can’t be ended.
Members of Sindh Assembly, Ms. Sidra Imran from opposition mentioned that after the 18th amendment the province of Sindh has enacted the Sindh Prohibition of Employment of Children Bill, 2017 that’s was collectively supported by all members, as this a beyond any political scouring Ms. Mangala Sharma another experience legislator representing MQM Pakistan in the session said that immediate action is required by the government to increase the age of adulthood and employment to 18 years in all legislations and outlaw the child domestic labor as a modern form of slavery.
Ms. Shumaila Muzammil Project Manager and other Child rights experts present at the occasion mentioned that Pakistan already has the second largest population of out-of-school children in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of thousands of others to drop out and join the workforce. According to experts, the financial implications of COVID-19 will also include child marriages and trafficking for commercial and sexual exploitation.
Mr. Muhammad Kashif Mirza, Manager Advocacy Manager said that there is no concrete data available in the country on Child Labour but it is estimated to be around 12 million. Ministry of Human Rights in collaboration with UNICEF has initiated a National level survey in 2019 but the results are long-awaited. Covid-19 increased unemployment that will also increase child labor