Alarming rise in child labour

13 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Child labour is a violation of fundamental human rights. But, ironically, a large number of children in Bangladesh are engaged in the worst forms of child labour. Household poverty and child labour are inextricably linked. People living in poverty stop sending their children to school so that they can work to contribute to their family income. It leaves them without literacy and numeracy skills that are crucial to develop fully as individuals. Not only schooling, child labour deprives them of their childhood, their potential and dignity which are harmful to their physical and mental development.

As per study of an independent think-tank named the South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM), extreme poverty has almost doubled countrywide as a large number of the less impoverished became 'new poor' following the economic downturn brought about by the coronavirus outbreak. However, the government is committed to eradicate poverty and working to achieve the goal. But, it will take time for alleviation of poverty from the country. It is not known as to how long it would take to bring down the poverty rate to a certain level to facilitate elimination of child labour. But, poor children cannot afford to wait for an indefinite period.

So, it is the duty and responsibility of the government to bring them under the fold of schooling by taking special measures. Financial support should be provided to them so that they can attend schools instead of doing hazardous work. Initiatives should be taken to enlist the children who are engaged in child labour. Another thing we should never forget is that a large number of children who used to attend schools during the pre-corona period dropped out due to the long closure of educational institutions. Immediate steps should be taken to bring them back to schools.

Education has a significant role in the fight for children’s rights. By adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the government is committed to end child labour by 2025. To achieve the SDG target, the government, business, the financial sector and civil society must take strong action to uproot the social ill by finding out the causes and determinants of the human rights violation.